Over Christmas, my kids received a set of Squishy Circuits. I knew it would be perfect for some awesome winter science experiments. Squishy Circuits are basic electrical equipment that are designed to be used with play dough instead of with breadboards. It’s the perfect way for younger (8+ is what I would recommend) kids to explore real circuits and electrical engineering! For our first challenge, my daughter wanted to make a light up Squishy Circuits snowflake.
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Since this was our first time using squishy circuits, we kept things simple, but if you are more familiar with electrical engineering, you could make your snowflakes as complicated as you like!
Squishy Circuits Snowflakes: Winter STEM Challenge
What you’ll need to set up the squishy circuit snowflake 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)
We decided to make a parallel circuit for our snowflake because we wanted all of the lights to shine as brightly as possible.
We started with a ball of modeling clay as our insulating dough. We found out that for our snowflake, the lights wouldn’t light up unless the dough was flattened, so we flattened the circle into a pancake shape.
Next, my daughter added the snowflake pieces made out of conductive dough.
The secret to the circuit is that the long end of the light wires must be on the side powered by the red battery wire. The short side must be powered by the black wire.
We stuck the wires into the conductive dough over the insulating dough.
My daughter plugged in the battery wires, and we carefully stood back while she flipped the switch. It immediately made us remember the squishy lego clock we once made!
The lights turned on!
What Kids Learn Making Squishy Circuit Snowflakes
My daughter learned a lot about how circuits work, how to build a circuit, and why insulation is important. She accidentally touched the battery to one of the lights, and blew the light out with a loud pop. The makers of squishy circuits expressly state that touching the power directly to the light can cause issues like this, or even damage the battery. Safety is extremely important when doing this activity because the circuit may be small, but it is real electricity that the kids are working with.
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