Squishy circuits are a great way for young kids to learn about circuits and electricity in a safe(er) and simple way. We absolutely love our circuits and are on a mission to make as many squishy circuits as we can! For winter, we thought a squishy circuit light-up penguin would be adorable! It’s always fun when your STEM activities can become STEAM activities!
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Squishy circuits are great because we learn something new each time we use them! When we made our light-up New Year’s Ball, we were keeping things really simple, but this time, we got a little more complicated!
Squishy Circuits Light-up Penguin STEM Activity
What you’ll need to set up the squishy circuit penguin experiment:
- Squishy circuits
- Conductive dough (play dough or make your own with this recipe)
- Insulating dough (modeling clay or make your own with this recipe)
For this experiment, the challenge was to make the penguin look penguin-like without disrupting the circuit. We found that as long as the two sides of the penguin’s black “skin” didn’t touch, the circuit would still work. But if the black dough connected, the light would stop working.
The inside of the penguin is white insulating dough. This keeps the two sides of the black conductive dough apart and running the circuit.
The red wand and the long side of the LED light connect to the same side of the penguin (in ours, that was the left side). The short side and the black wand connect to the other half of the conductive dough.
We had to fiddle around a bit with the position of the light to make it look like a beak and still light up. But eventually, our penguin’s beak lit up!
What Kids Learn Making Squishy Circuit Penguins
Circuits are fascinating, because if done right, they will work perfectly every time, but if even a little something goes wrong, the whole project will flop and you won’t see any lights. For this penguin activity, it took my kids a while to figure out that if the connective dough touched too much, the light would not light up. There was a lot of trial and error in making our penguin work, which is excellent for STEM practice! Most experiments don’t work perfectly the first time, and that margin of error is what STEM activities are all about!
Looking for more STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) projects and inspiration?
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Not quite ready to jump in, don’t worry… you can hop over and grab a FREE Preview which includes 2 sample activities, 6 sample challenge cards, and the table of contents of the book!
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