How Things Work: 111 Everyday Things That Kids (& Every Adult) Should Understand & Know How They Work

All kids SHOULD have a basic understanding about how the world around them works! (As should adults) If they understand how these things work they will feel empowered, more inclined to think scientifically, more in control, & more comfortable in their surroundings. People who understand how things work are also more likely to troubleshoot problems with such items much more effectively – maybe saving themselves some frustrations & money in the process!

As they say – knowledge is power! I challenge you to work your way through this list. Before you watch something on TV – come back to this list and pick an item to learn something about. Not only will you be helping to make your kids more inquisitive – but you may also be helping them to identify an area of interest – or maybe even a career path!

Here I have complied a list of everyday items I want my kids to understand how they work. I’ve broken them down into 5 broad categories:

I’ve chosen to highlight some specific videos – but also supplied a YouTube search link – so that you can choose another or additional videos to watch. Since it is a search – it will also catch any newer videos that might not have been published at the time I compiled this list.


  1. Internal Combustion Engine (YouTube Search)

  1. Pulley (YouTube Search)

  1. Airplane Wing (YouTube Search)

  1. Elevator (YouTube Search)

  1. Escalator (YouTube Search)

  1. Drawbridge (YouTube Search)

  1. Dam (YouTube Search)

  1. Telescope (YouTube Search)

  1. Binoculars (YouTube Search)

  1. Microscope (YouTube Search) (Here is an Amazon Link to a great little hand-held microscope we like!)

  1. Toilet (YouTube Search)

  1. Prism (YouTube Search)

  1. Lock (YouTube Search)

  1. Mechanical Scale (YouTube Search)


  1. Electric Motor (YouTube Search)

  1. Microwave (YouTube Search)

  1. Internet (YouTube Search)

  1. VPN (Virtual Private Network) (YouTube Search)

  1. Inductive Charging (YouTube Search)

  1. Induction Stove Top (YouTube Search)

We’ve had an induction stove top for more than 10 years and really love it. Think of it as electric 2.0. Very responsive and a lot safer – especially with a whole bunch of kids around!

  1. Battery (YouTube Search)

  1. Refrigerator (YouTube Search)

  1. Air Conditioner (YouTube Search)

  1. Solar Panel (YouTube Search)

  1. Speaker (YouTube Search)

  1. Television (TV) (YouTube Search)

  1. Telephone (YouTube Search)

  1. Microphone (YouTube Search)

  1. Satellites (YouTube Search)

  1. GPS (Global Positioning System) (YouTube Search)

  1. Encryption (YouTube Search)

  1. Blockchain (YouTube Search)

  1. Bitcoin (YouTube Search)

  1. Artificial Intelligence (A.I) (YouTube Search)

  1. NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) (YouTube Search)

  1. Quantum Computer (YouTube Search)

Laser (YouTube Search)

Short – but he goes a little fast:

A Longer more complete explanation:

  1. Laser Printer (YouTube Search)

  1. 3D Printer (YouTube Search)

You can also check out our website!

  1. Radar (YouTube Search)

  1. Cat Scan (CT Scan) (YouTube Search)

  1. MRI Scan (YouTube Search)

  1. Computer (YouTube Search)

In more detail….


  1. Weather (YouTube Search)

  1. Rain (YouTube Search)

  1. Tornado (YouTube Search)

  1. Lightning (YouTube Search)

  1. Tsunami (YouTube Search)

  1. Hurricane (YouTube Search)

  1. Hail (YouTube Search)

  1. Jetstream (YouTube Search)

  1. Coriolis Effect (YouTube Search)

Physiological / Biological

  1. Respiration (YouTube Search)

  1. Photosynthesis (YouTube Search)

  1. Digestion (YouTube Search)

  1. Virus (YouTube Search)

  1. Gene Splicing (YouTube Search)

Other / Miscellaneous

  1. Money (YouTube Search)

  1. Stock Exchange (Market) (YouTube Search)

  1. Mutual Fund (YouTube Search)

  1. ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) (YouTube Search)

  1. Catalytic Converter (YouTube Search)

If you are looking for additional information –here are some books that we like that also like that use beautiful illustrations to explain how things work. Just click on the image (affiliate link) to be taken to the Amazon page for each book.

YouTube Channels that Focus on How Things Work:

I hope you found this list helpful. Any constructive input is welcome!


Default image

Blessed father of 4 wonderful children & trophy husband to 1 lovely wife. Part-time blogger, full-time nerd & aspiring Renaissance man!

Articles: 186

One comment

All constructive comments are welcome!

  1. Wow, what an extensive list! I love that you have categorized everything and linked to the best instructional videos on each topic that are easy to understand. 🙂

%d bloggers like this: