Energy is everywhere, all around us and inside of us! It moves cars, grows plants, cooks food, makes our bodies grow, and helps our minds think.
There are many forms of energy, like light, heat, sound and motion. People have learned how to change energy from one form to another to use in our every day lives the way we want to, to make our lives more comfortable.
Energy can be stored and then get taken out of storage. When it's stored up, it's called "potential energy" and when it's making something move, it's called "kinetic energy." Energy can never actually be created or destroyed, but it does transform, or change, when it either comes out of storage or goes into storage.
Different kinds of fuel store energy that can be changed into movement energy. For example, gasoline can be burned to make a car go, and when you eat food it gives you energy to run and jump! We use fuel of many types to make energy that we use in our lives every day - to turn on a light, to drive a car, to heat our homes and ride our bicycles.
When so many people are using certain common types of fuel, it is harmful to the environment and to our health. For example, burning coal or gasoline leaves lots of dirt in the air that doesn't belong there, and can make people, plants, and animals sick.
People everywhere are looking for cleaner ways to make energy and fuel, like from the wind, the sun, water, and the heat inside the earth. Each of these has some good and some not so good things about them. Finding clean, inexpensive, and safe sources of energy is one of the greatest challenges of our time.
Visit our interactive activities, "You Can't Fuel Me" to explore some of the fuel we use in our lives, and "Snack Attack!" to explore food as fuel that provides energy for our own bodies. See our related topic on Nutrition for more information on food as fuel.
For more information about energy, see the Energy Kid's Page at http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/science/formsofenergy.html