Squishy Circuits uses conductive and insulating play dough to teach the basics of electrical circuits, a perfect blend of play and learning! Our play dough kits, projects, and recipes teach problem solving and engineering concepts and inspire creativity and independent thinking. Learn more here
1. Put four AA batteries in the battery pack. The back of the battery pack slides off easily.
2. Make 2 different shapes out of the playdough. I made a full moon and a crescent moon because of the Ninja Club book.
3. Put the metal part of the red wire into one piece of playdough and the metal part of the black wire into the other piece of the playdough.
4. Add the LED lights between the two pieces of clay. The slightly longer wire must be put in the playdough where the red wire is attatched.
This is just a simple example that shows something you can do with squishy circuits…its a pretty simple affordable product, playdough, does work, but then you need wires, batteries, stripping tools, and the led lights. if I were a parent, I would buy it in a box for my class I would make it all there and the kids would cut and strip the wires, etc and we would make our own playdough. Check out video below for further examples
Hexbug is a brand of toy automatons, a leader in the toy industry giving children a positive experience with robotics and STEM at an early age. To learn more about Hexbug and their products, check out there website.
(First of all, they’re not really robots, they just vibrate, they’re not programmed, but who cares, they’re hysterical!)
- Party Cups (Dollar Store.)
- Black Crepe Paper (Dollar Store)
- Hexbug NanoNitro 5 Pack (Hexbug or Target $19.99—You can also buy a one pack and spend less.)
- Velcro Fastener Dots (Dollar Store)
- Multicultural Crayola Markers (Amazon)
1. Color the white cups. I chose the multicultural skin colors that best represented the ethnicity of the characters from the book. But any color cup could be a robot. Coloring the cup wouldn’t be necessary.
The white cups had a wax coating and Willa’s skin color didn’t work well, fortunately; I had bought a pretty bronze cup as a backup. Add BRAVE NINJA eyes using a Sharpie. Don’t buy dollar store Sharpies, that is my advice.
2. Measure a piece of crepe paper that will surround the top of the cup and tape the crepe paper on top to make their ninja hats. I actually used the Scotch mini squares because they are so much simpler than using tape.
3. Trim the extra crepe paper using scissors or the robot won’t move at all.
4. Add extra tape to secure the first layer of tapes, that is if there are loose ends. Then cut a longer piece of crepe paper, fold it in half and arrange it in the back so that it is slightly higher than the base of the cup. Attach it there. Bring one side to the front and attach it with tape or a Scotch mini square. Wrap the other piece around to the front doing the same thing.
Now for the fun part:
Attaching the NanoNitro Hexbugs which is a bit tricky!
I found this activity on a home-schooling video in the UK. They used a molding clay to attach the Hexbugs, but their robots didn’t move very well. I could not find that molding clay at Michaels.
I watched another video where they used tape, but the cup didn’t move at all. That’s no fun. I was determined to make these robots move. I first tried the Scotch mini squares to attach the Hexbugs, but no matter how many I added to make the flat surface of the Hexbug connect to the curved surface of the cup, the robot would only work for a while then the Scotch mini squares would fall off. Then I saw the Velcro Fastener Dots at the Dollar store and thought, NASA invented Velcro, NASA knows stuff, why not try that. I just loaded the cup side up with the fastener dots and the Hexbug side with the fastener dots and got the best results. They moved like crazy, and the fastener dots only cost a dollar. Major success! Yay!
Another fun adaptation I saw done with this activity yellow cups to make minion robots. These robots are super fun to make and are affordable. I think a cup could be turned into almost any kind of robot, and there are many other fun uses for the Hexbug NitroNano bots that can be found on YouTube.
Here’s a video of the final Ninja Hexbug Powered Robots
Here’s a video of different types of HEXBUG’s toys with a techy twist.