Marjorie Frank presents several quick and easy ways kids can explore both potential and kinetic energy through rubber bands and a few other household items.
Kids can explore potential and kinetic energy with a ruler, a piece of chalk, and rubber bands.
Following that, kids can work with rubber bands and heat (preferably a very thick rubber band). [This is perfectly safe, except for maybe a broken rubber band or two.] Heat is created simply by stretching the rubber band, no other heat source is involved.
These experiences with energy are followed up by a couple of other science-related experiments. The first uses rubber bands, water, and soap. The second uses a rolled up fat rubber band and a straightened paper clip.
Ms. Frank has also included links to explanations of how and why the experiments come out the way they do.
Enjoy the article, try the activities with your kids, and have a great summer!