The next adventure for our after-school Maker Club will be circuits. I’ve already mentioned Little Bits, a great product for creating all kinds of circuits using interchangeable magnetic parts. Those will be at one of our stations. Another station will include “Squishy Circuits.”
Squishy Circuits are made using conductive dough. You can find the recipe for the dough, as well as for insulating dough here. A Squishy Circuits kit, which includes the recipes and “hardware” is available for $25 here. You can probably find the items somewhere else, but I felt like this was a pretty good price that saved me the time of hunting for individual parts.
If you scroll to the bottom of the Squishy Circuits purchasing page, you can see two videos that show this product in action. As you will learn, this is a great way to introduce electrical circuits to young students.
I did a practice run this weekend with my daughter and some family friends. One of the things that is really fun to watch is the natural curiosity that arises once you show them an LED lighting up. Suddenly, “What if” questions begin to flow, and “I wonder what would happen” becomes the beginning of every other sentence.
I did learn a few things from this Squishy Circuits rehearsal:
- If you don’t have food coloring in the house, egg dye can work in a pinch – but it’s going to make your dough smell like vinegar.
- There is a reason the recipe calls for distilled or deionized water for the insulating dough. We didn’t have either, so we used spring water. Our sugar dough – though less conductive – still had some power. This turned into a great lesson, though. (“Why” became the next favorite sentence starter.)
- The buzzer sounds are extremely irritating to adult ears, but highly giggle-provoking to youth.
I found a few other resources for those of you interested in using Squishy Circuits.
- Building Squishy Circuits
- Squishy Circuit Buzzer Beater (video)
- Sylvia’s Mini Maker Show Squishy Circuits Video
- Squishy Circuits Lesson Plan from UCLA
- Squishy Circuit Board Game
- Squishy Circuits Operation Game
- Squishy Circuits Rescue Me Game
As you can see, there are lots of ways to use Squishy Circuits. If you have any other suggestions, please fill free to add a comment to this post. And, if you want to see some other Maker Space Essentials, check out my “Make” Pinterest Board.