Sitting on the floor with a battery, jumper wires with alligator clips, a small light bulb, she traces the circuit in the picture on the book. She'd seen me put the circuit together and now she wanted to do it herself.
It all started with a well intentioned mistake. She cares about making sure her mom and I understand when she's cleaning something up. Getting cooperation in picking up her room, or putting away toys is as big a challenge as it can be for any five year old, but sooner or later things start to click, and it begins to come automatically. In this case, she was very proud of the fact that she was taking the batteries out of their packaging and putting them in a smaller box.
Because I don't want the house to catch fire from a shorted battery, I had to explain why putting batteries in a box like this was a bad idea. A couple of years ago, I got a kit from Radio Shack that introduces kids to electricity, circuits, etc. She knew about this kit, and got it out to ask me how a battery works. For the next hour she discovered how batteries work, how motors work, how a lightbulb comes on, and that some parts only work in a circuit one way, and she even did Morse code with a piezo buzzer.
That brought us to the moment when she could do it all by herself, help the electricity make a loop so the battery could do some work.
She just had to hook the alligator clip to the bulb and...
The electricity in the battery made a loop and the light came on.
She of course couldn't wait to show Momma.