50 Dangerous Things: Lick a 9-Volt Battery


Lick a 9-volt battery to see what electricity tastes and feels like.


9-volt battery

Aluminum Foil (for extra credit)

Possible Hazards:

Shock (duh)

How It All Went Down:

First of all, I would like to thank Eli’s latest ear infection for prompting me to pull out our new Exergen Temporal Scanner.  Our fancy new thermometer just happened to come with a 9-volt battery.  We had kids, we had a battery, we were ready to get this 50 Dangerous Things show on the road.

Elena was eager and ready to try licking the battery.  Eli?  Not so much.  Knowing that his reaction would most likely be priceless, I did what any reasonable parent would do.  By the time our bargaining was over, Eli managed to walk away with a pack of M&Ms and the promise of a new LEGO Ninjago mini-fig.  I got to stick a battery on his tongue and capture the best battery face ever.  Win-win.

Have you ever tried this?  I remember doing this as a kid. Not because my parents read a book about it (my mom owned one parenting book – Dr. Spock), but because someone dared us.  Our parents were off doing what parents did back then: mind their own business and get stuff done.  Unlike my house today, batteries weren’t stored in a clear, well-labeled container out of reach of children.  They were probably stored next to the chain-saw in the garage.  I bet we had to dig through the ones dripping with battery acid to get to the good ones.   Try it at least once.  It’s not painful.  Elena gave it a 2.5 on the pain scale.  It does taste weird, though.  It’s not something you can pin-point (Eli suggests poop, of course), since the electrical current stimulates random nerves on your tongue not associated with a specific taste.

Elena and I also tried chewing on a wad of aluminum foil, which conducts a weak electric current when mixed with the acid in your saliva.  I forgot the cardinal rule of chewing foil: KEEP IT AWAY FROM ANY FILLINGS.  Yowza.  Thank goodness we didn’t get that on video.  These ones are much better.

What are you waiting for?  Go ahead and lick a battery.  We dare ya.

Want more?  Read about the rest of our experiences with 50 Dangerous Things. Inspired by Gever Tulley’s book 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do).



  1. Love this new blog! So excited to see how you and Mike grow it! I’m adding it to my reader because I need to be more of a risky parent. I’ll admit, little things like Madeline around the playground fireman’s pole make my palms sweat so… I need more of this. 🙂

  2. Wonderful! I’m so happy to see Elena and Eli being brave, trying something new, and then having great rational conversations with their parents about it. Enjoy the book, and keep posting your stories!

  3. Ha! Love this blog! I love following along already!