Helpful Guide to Simple Machines for Kids (2023)

Simple Machines for Kids


Learning about simple machines can be an exciting and educational experience for kids. Such machines are used in everyday life and can be found in most households. Simple machines can help kids gain a better understanding of how the world works, and how even small everyday objects can be used to create powerful mechanisms.

By exploring simple machines, kids can engage their analytical and creative skills and become better acquainted with the world around them. Let’s look at this article on simple machines for kids.

Benefits of simple machines

The purpose of simple machines is to make work easier. Simple machines are tools that use mechanical advantage to multiply force. They help us lift heavier objects, move objects quickly or easily, and increase the distance an object can be moved or an amount of work done.

Simple machines can be divided into two categories – the lever family and the inclined plane family. Together these simple machines form the basis of many complex machines found in our world today; including cars, planes, computers, and even our mobile phones.

Levers are used to move heavy horse carriages and also to shape metal to make knives and forks. Wheels applied with axles turn grain for milling food into flour as well as helping us move vehicles with less energy. Inclined planes lower batteries from high shelves in supermarkets so that customers may take them from low shelves placed at ground level instead of at a height where customers may not reach easily.

Simple machines employ leverage by providing a mechanical advantage – allowing persons to lift more than what is normally possible without them; apply greater force; increase motion speed; change motion direction; cut material with more efficiency (ease), or do multiple task simultaneously. When combined together simple machines has enabled humans over many centuries to perform complicated tasks with ease such as building houses or bridges over a river flowing against it pull- right through its banks!

This helps people to work efficiently on major projects every day around the world!

Six types of simple machines

Simple machines are devices that help us to do any type of mechanical work with greater force or lesser effort. They are made up of movable parts and use a specific kind of energy to work. The six basic types of simple machines are levers, inclined planes, pulleys, wedges, screws, and wheels and axles.

  1. Levers are used for lifting and moving heavy objects. They consist of a rigid bar supported at some point called the fulcrum when it moves heavy loads from one point to another making it easier for us to lift them without much effort.
  2. Inclined Planes are slanted surfaces which allow us to reduce the amount of force needed while pushing an object up at an angle or changing its direction when going down the slanted surface. This makes it easier for us to move or carry huge objects like stones along a long distance.
  3. Pulleys help divert the power needed by changing the direction in which force is applied and make it simpler to lift heavy objects with very little effort. It uses rope or cables combined with grooved wheels that enable users to raise or lower loads even on steep inclines.
  4. Wedges change an object’s shape when they apply pressure on it such as splitting logs into smaller pieces with an axe. Screws can be used for putting two objects together firmly by creating friction between them that helps bond one object over another without coming apart easily.
  5. Lastly, Wheels and Axles work together by means of two parts: a grooved wheel with teeth on its outer edge connected through an axle which is a small rod running through the centre; this allows us to drive large loads using only very little energy making our jobs much easier than before!


Let’s dive into how levers work and how they can be used to benefit kids in the classroom.

How a lever works

A lever is a simple machine that uses a rigid bar to turn around or move a point called the fulcrum. This allows you to move heavy or big objects using minimal effort. Levers work by applying forces at different points: the input force, the effort applied to start movement, is applied on one side of the fulcrum; on the other side, you have the output force, which is used to cause movement of an object.

The type of lever depends on where you use it. There are three types of levers: first class levers, second-class levers and third-class levers. First class levers use the fulcrum between the input and output forces; second-class levers use resistance between two points; and third-class levers use effort between two points.

With a lever, you can use mechanical advantage – that’s when you can multiply force over distance to do work more efficiently than using only your body strength alone. You can also balance forces so that heavy loads seem much lighter than they actually are! Levers are incredibly useful machines able not only to help us lift heavier loads with ease but also to provide us insight into how forces interact with each other in ways we wouldn’t expect!

Examples of levers

Levers are among the simplest forms of machines and play a huge role in how we use technology. They are made up of a beam or arm, which is rigid and pivots around a fixed point called a fulcrum. As you exert force on one end, the other end moves. There are three classes of levers — where the fulcrum is placed affects the resulting force.

  • Class I lever: The fulcrum is located between the force and the resistance; examples include an old-fashioned seesaw, tweezers, and scissors.
  • Class II lever: The resistance is between the force and the fulcrum; examples of this type include wheelbarrows, nut crackers, bottle openers, and tongs.
  • Class III lever: Here, the force is situated between the resistance and the fulcrum; common items in this category include fishing rods, hockey sticks, baseball bats, broom handles or shovels.


This section is to learn more about how pulleys work and the different types of pulleys.

How a pulley works

A pulley is a simple machine that uses grooved wheels and a rope to raise, lower or move a load. Pulleys are one of the six basic simple machines and are relatively easy for children to understand and use.

A pulley consists of two main parts—the wheel (or sheave) and the axle. The wheel has inner grooves along its circumference which allow it to hold onto the rope or cable that runs over it. The axle is like a rod that holds the wheel securely in place on either side.

When you pull on the rope attached to one end, the sheave turns around an axle which makes it lift up the other side of the rope. This allows you to lift a relatively heavy weight with only a small effort, as long as you don’t drop your end of the rope!

In addition to raising weights, pulleys can also change directions and slow things down – called mechanical advantage – making them useful in many different ways such as elevators, flagpoles, and crane systems. By using multiple pulleys together in combination with other basic machines such as inclined planes and gears, more complex devices can be created.

Examples of pulleys

There are two types of pulleys: fixed and movable. Examples of fixed pulleys include block and tackle systems — where one or more wheels lift objects with several ropes or cables — and flagpoles use a single-pulley system to raise flags. In addition, construction cranes use several block and tackle systems in unison to raise massive amounts of material over long distances.

Movable pulleys can either function as load-bearing devices for objects such as a boat’s sail, be used as levers for transformation (such as when moving furniture), or be incorporated into exercise equipment like weight training machines, beach chairs, lawn mowers, and other items featuring gradual resistance during activity.

Wheel and Axle

A Wheel and Axle is used to reduce the effort needed to move an object by providing a mechanical advantage. It is a great teaching tool for children to help them understand the basics of science and engineering.

Let’s explore the Wheel and Axle further!

How a wheel and axle works

A wheel and axle is a simple machine made up of two circular objects (the wheel and the axle) that are connected in order to move or lift something. Usually, the wheel is larger than the axle, but not always.

When a force is applied to the wheel (like push or pull force), it will cause the axle to turn as well – because it is attached to the wheel. This can cause an object that’s connected to one end of the axle to move and rotate in a different direction from that of the force applied at one end of the other circular object.

For example, if someone was pushing on the top end of a wheel and there was an axle attached at its center – connected to something like an object on wheels – then this force would cause both parts, i.e.,wheel and object with wheels, to turn in opposite directions; while still benefiting from an increased speed or torque depending on size ratio between them.

This relationship between these two circular objects also means that it takes less effort or force required to move heavy objects by using this type of system as compared with pushing such an object straight up over a horizontal distance since there is less friction experienced when one end can move along with its counterpart in opposite direction.

Examples of wheel and axle

Common examples of wheel and axle systems can be found in everyday items such as toys, skates, bicycles, cars, buses, elevators and even clocks.

Wheel and axes are also known as ‘couplings’ or ‘joints’ which join two objects together by connecting them via an axis so they rotate together in a pre-determined manner when a force is exerted onto it. A car steering wheel acts as an example of this type of joint where turning it goes on to rotate all four tires attached to it through its axel thereby allowing for direction change without any physical effort from outside apart from rotation motion given by hand.

Inclined Plane

An inclined plane is a simple machine consisting of a sloped surface that can be used to lift heavy loads up to a predefined height. It works by applying a smaller force over a greater distance to move an object.

Inclined planes are often used in everyday life, from ramps in wheelchairs to wheelbarrows and zip lines.

How an inclined plane works

An inclined plane is a flat working surface set at an angle to allow energy to move objects with minimum effort. The inclined plane has been used since ancient times as a smaller, gentler alternative to the ramp or staircase. It is one of the six basic machines, also known as simple machines, that were identified by Renaissance scientists who studied how mechanical energy could be changed or transferred.

In its simplest form, an inclined plane is simply a flat surface set at an angle with one end at a lower height than the other. As objects are placed on the higher end and allowed to slide down toward the low end, their kinetic energy is converted into potential energy. This means more effort — for example, in the form of pushing a heavy object up — is needed on one side than on the other and thus makes it easier to move items from ground level to greater heights.

Inclined planes can take many forms, from sloped driveways or boardwalks connecting two heights at once, ramps for wheelchairs or strollers allowing access to buildings that may otherwise be difficult for those with mobility challenges and mechanisms like levers and wedges which use inclined planes in conjunction with other machines in order to make it easier to lift heavy weights or perform intricate tasks.

Examples of inclined planes

There are many common examples of inclined planes around us. Some of them include: ramps used in stores for loading and unloading items from trucks; wheelchair ramps; slide boards at playgrounds; stairs which make use of gravity to help us climb up or down floors; paper airplane templates that utilize the physics of lifting wings, and dental floss cutting guides used by dentists for tight spaces. Other examples include zip lines, escalators, waterslides, ski-lifts, carpenter’s levels, bike carriers on cars and truck tailgates.

All these examples involve using gravity and spread out forces more than we could do alone without machines.


A wedge is a simple machine made of two inclined planes that are placed back-to-back. The inclined planes provide the motion and force needed to perform simple tasks. Wedges can be used to cut and separate objects, and are especially useful when dealing with hard materials or large objects.

Let’s take a closer look at the wedge, how it works and how it can be used.

How a wedge works

A wedge is a type of simple machine that is commonly used to cut and separate objects. It works by using a single force to create two separate planes. This force is applied through the surface of the wedge, which is inclined in relation to the object that it is cutting or splitting into two pieces.

The angle at which the wedge cuts or splits its target depends on its size as well as its construction material. Wedges come in different forms and can be made from metal, plastic, wood, or other materials.

Wedges are commonly used tools such as axes and knives that use compressive force to split items. The technique works by focusing most of the pressure on one spot so that it can penetrate deeper into whatever object it’s splitting. This makes it easy to divide something into equal portions quickly and precisely. In addition, wedges are often used to chips away at things like rock or concrete since they can easily break through hard surfaces with their sharp ramps and channels.

Examples of wedges

Here are some examples of wedges:

  • Knives (for cutting)
  • Axe (for splitting wood)
  • Hatchet (for cutting branches)
  • Screwdrivers (for turning screws and opening/closing boxes and drawers)
  • Chisels (for carving stone and wood)
  • Bulldozer blade (for pushing earth and moving material for construction purposes)
  • Rakes (for loosening soil when planting or removing weeds)


One of the simplest machines is the screw. Screws are used to fasten pieces of material together and are available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and materials.

How a screw works

A screw is an example of a simple machine that is used to push or pull objects, secure things together, and hold items in place. It works by transferring force into a twist or spin that can be used to work materials apart or as an anchor to keep pieces steady.

A screw consists of a head, threaded shaft, and point. The head sits on top of the object and allows the user to twist the screw into place with either their hands or with a tool, like a drill or screwdriver. The threading helps grip the material and pull it along as it rotates. The point also helps keep the material in place for secure fastening.

Halfway down the shaft is an inclined plane where force is applied as pressure from the head is transferred downward. This forces the spiral threads apart from each other causing friction and gripping power on surfaces, allowing items to be locked together tightly with minimal effort from been user-end. Depending on what kind of surface (wood, metal) needs fastening will determine which type of threading should be used for maximum efficiency when using screws.

Examples of screws

Examples of screws include wood screws, sheet metal screws, machine screws, lag bolts/screws and special purpose/security screws. Wood screws usually have an unthreaded shank between the head and the threaded portion of a screw. A sheet metal screw has a self-tapping thread that forms its own cutting edge for drilling into sheet metal.

Machine screws have tapered rather than straight sides; they are commonly used with nuts or screwed directly into different materials depending on their design. Lag bolts/screws also have very coarse threads and often require pre-drilling holes in subsurface materials like wood when used as fasteners due to their large head sizes. Special purpose/security screws are designed to tamper resistance; they often require specialized tools such as pin-in-hex drivers in order to remove them once installed.


In conclusion, simple machines for kids are great for promoting curiosity and problem-solving skills in children. They can also help kids gain a better understanding of how the physical world works and help teach them about the principles of physics.

Simple machines for kids can be fun and educational, and can help children enjoy learning about the science of engineering.

  • Simple machines are tools that use force to make work easier. They include the lever, pulley, inclined plane, wedge, wheel and axle and screw. While simple machines alone may not accomplish anything on their own, when used in combination with each other or with more complicated machines they can help people do many tasks that were difficult or even impossible without them.
  • The purpose of simple machines is to reduce the amount of force necessary for a job as well as to increase the distance over which a force can be spread out. This makes it easier for people to move heavy objects such as boxes or furniture, open doors and cans, or carry out various other types of labor-intensive tasks.
  • The levers allow us to lift heavier objects using less effort than if we tried doing the same thing with our bare hands; pulleys make it possible to move items up and down instead of having to lift them; inclined planes make it easier to slide objects up slopes; wedges help cut through materials; wheels and axles make it convenient for cars and bicycles on roads; screws turn easily in materials like wood so that items can be tightly stored away without slipping back down the hole.

Thanks to simple machines, complex jobs like lifting heavy objects no longer require us to exert a massive amount of strength—simple machines take care of this for us!

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What is a simple machine?

Answer 1: A simple machine is a mechanical device that changes the direction or magnitude of a force. Examples of simple machines include levers, pulleys, inclined planes, wedges, and screws.

Question 2: What are some simple machines for kids?

Answer 2: Some examples of simple machines for kids include levers, pulleys, inclined planes, wedges, and screws. These simple machines can be used to teach children basic principles of mechanics, such as how to move objects with less effort, or how to use mechanical advantage to lift heavier objects.

Question 3: How can kids learn about simple machines?

Answer 3: Kids can learn about simple machines through hands-on activities, such as building simple machines with everyday materials. They can also explore online resources and books to learn more about how simple machines work.

Leave a Reply
Previous Article

Innovation for Kids

Next Article
make maths fun for kids

How to Make Maths Fun for Kids

Related Posts