Maker Monday: Squishy Circuits

8 Sep

Our last Maker Monday workshop this summer was all about Squishy Circuits.  If you’re not familiar with Squishy Circuits, they were created at the University of St. Thomas as a basic way to teach children about circuitry through (basically) play dough.  Two types of dough are created – one is conductive, while the other is insulating.  Then the rest of the materials you need are a basic 4 AA battery pack, some LEDs, buzzers and motors.  We actually were able to purchase 10 kits from the Squishy Circuits Store website and they worked really well for our group of kids.

I started the program talking to the kids about what makes a circuit work using a light switch as an example.  I also spent just a few minutes teaching the kids how to create a basic circuit using the play dough and the pieces of the kit and then I let them loose on the materials.  The kids spent a solid 45 minutes really working with the kits creating circuits and exploring the materials.  I was really impressed on how focused the kids were and even when something wasn’t working they kept playing around, asked a few questions and continued to work until they figured out the problems they were having.

A few caveats:

  • The buzzers in the Squishy Circuit kits are really loud and abrasive sounding, so after the kids got to try them, we told them to focus on using the LEDs and the motor.
  • You definitely don’t need one recipe of dough per kit. You could probably get away with one recipe of dough for every 2-3 kits.
  • And I didn’t have time to show the kids possible examples of what to create, but the website has some great videos that you could use to show kids what is possible using the Squishy Circuits.

Overall, the kids really enjoyed exploring Squishy Circuits and it’s not a huge expense, especially if you just purchase a few pieces to get started and create smaller groups in a workshop format.

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