Homemade Play Dough Circuits

If you haven't tried making play dough circuits, you're in for a treat!

Homemade Play Dough Circuits
We love this activity!


Well the boys love it because it's so much fun.

I love it because there's so much learning involved! But more on that in a moment.

Materials Needed For Homemade Play Dough Circuits

Equipment needed to make homemade play dough circuits
The equipment for this activity is fairly simple although you'll have to gather a few items which you may not have at home. This is what you'll need:

  • Two types of homemade play dough. One is made with salt which will conduct electricity. The other is made with sugar which doesn't conduct electricity.
  • LED - light emitting diodes
  • A power source such as a battery pack. (We didn't have a battery pack but did have a transformer which did the same trick).

Recipes for Conductive and Non-Conductive Play Doughs

The conductive play dough is a cooked dough which is really easy to make.

The non-conductive play dough is uncooked.

You can print the recipes in a format ready to be displayed for children from here.

For instructions and explanations on how and why the play dough circuits work, have a look at The Surfing Scientist

Now back to the learning involved in this activity which includes:
Reading the Recipe

  • reading recipes
  • Cooking two different types of play dough

  • cooking - measuring, stirring, observing changes when heat is applied, feeling different textures
  • Experimenting with simple circuits

  • experimenting - what will happen if ...?
  • Creating a short circuit using a coin

  • creating short circuits using a coin ... and talking about what happens and why
  • Cooperating and taking turns

  • cooperating and taking turns
  • Promblem solving

  • problem-solving ... why isn't this working? The beauty of this activity is that if the circuit hasn't been formed correctly, the LED won't light up. It requires children to think about the circuit and why it might not be working. For example, is the LED facing in the correct direction? Are the two conductive pieces of dough touching? Once the problem has been solved and corrected, the LED lights up giving positive reinforcement.
  • Experience the joy of success

  • experiencing the joy of success when something works
  • Create different play dough circuit configurations
    Create different play dough circuit configurations
    Create different play dough circuit configurations

  • creating different types of models and configurations.
  • If you make some play dough circuits, we'd love to hear about your experiences or see some photos of your creations.

    Please feel free to post them on our facebook page or leave a comment here.

    We love comments ... hint, hint! :o Have fun!


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    Return to the Articles List for other children's learning activities or children's book reviews.

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