Squishy Circuits projects are one of the easiest ways to introduce children to the technology of electricity, electrical engineering, and circuits.
One of our favorite Squishy Circuits projects was making this mermaid with a light-up flower. The kids had a blast making the play doh mermaid, and they learned a lot about circuitry at the same time.
Mermaids are definitely “in” right now, and they offer a fun bridge to get kids interested in subjects that they may otherwise find boring.
Let kids use their imagination to make other Squishy Circuit projects with a fun summer theme. A Squishy Circuit mermaid is a fun way to learn about electrical circuits.
What is a STEM Activity?
A STEM activity is an activity that includes elements of science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM activities help children learn how different subjects in school work together, and STEM challenges work well as part of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) using multiple scientific elements and concepts at once.
Squishy Circuits are a wonderful tool for teaching children the basics of electrical engineering, circuits, and electricity in a relatively safe way.
As Squishy Circuits do include an electrical current, even though mild, it is best for children in third grade or higher.
Children must be able to realize that they can’t touch the wires or put the pieces in their mouths before doing this activity
Don’t miss: 31 Creative STEM Activities
What is a Technology Activity?
A technology-focused STEM activity includes multiple elements of technology and encourages children to use technology to solve problems.
In this particular Squishy Circuit project, the children must learn how to complete the circuit in a creative way, still following the rules of electrical currents, but they can also be creative in their project designs.
You may also like: How to Use Squishy Circuits
Why Do Circuit Projects for Kids?
A circuit is the completed path that an electrical current can travel. When a circuit is completed, it can power something like a toy, light, or buzzer.
The Squishy Circuit battery has a positive and negative charge. When the circuit is completed by the conductive dough, a small light can turn on.
This electricity activity for kids can be used as an introduction to circuits and electricity for kids, and turning the light on an doff will keep kids entertained the whole time!
You’ll also want to check out: Squishy Circuit Unicorn
Stem Circuit Projects Extensions
Squishy Circuit projects include a lot of STEM elements. Kids can learn:
- Circuit vocabulary
- How circuits work
- The basics of electricity
- How electricity is made
- Types of circuits
- The mathematical formula for electrical circuits
- How to design different types of circuits
Making a circuit mermaid is one of of the best complete STEM activities you can do with kids!
How to Make Squishy Circuits
The Mason Jar Scientist: 30 Jarring STEAM-Based ProjectsSquishy Circuits Standard KitPlay-Doh Modeling Compound 10-Pack Case of Colors (Amazon Exclusive), Non-Toxic, Assorted Colors, 2-Ounce CansALEX Toys Artist Studio 16 Modeling Clay
How to Make a Playdoh Mermaid that Lights Up
Squishy Circuits work by passing a current between two separate conductive pieces of dough. Play dough is conductive, and modeling clay has insulating properties.
Kids will need to use both types of dough to make their mermaids (or merlads, if they prefer).
Before setting up the mermaid, explore how the circuits work. Kids will quickly be able to see what they need to do to get the circuits to complete.
The short metal piece on the light must connect with the red paddle, and the long metal piece must connect with the black paddle.
If the paddles actually touch the wires, the light will pop and burn out. So it’s extremely important to communicate to the kids that they can’t touch metal to metal.
Next, the kids should design the mermaid body and tail. Use a straw to keep the body and head together.
After designing the body, the hard part begins. The inside of the head must be modeling clay, to keep the two conductive pieces of dough apart from one another. It may take some time to adjust the mermaid’s hair, flower, and head to complete the circuit.
If the light isn’t positioned perfectly, the light can’t turn on.
Once the light turns on, the squishy circuit project circuit is complete!
Spend some time discussing the parts of a circuit, what makes electricity, and why electricity needs a completed circuit to work. Ask the kids what it means to short circuit, and what sort of damage that can do.
After making your mermaid Squishy Circuit project, try making other fun summer shapes, like whales, starfish, umbrellas, beach balls, and sand pails.
There are a lot of fun ways you can play with Squishy Circuits, you can even try making an animal with light-up eyes!