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written by AnnMarie Thomas
Squishy Circuits was developed to teach elementary school children about circuit electricity by letting them build circuits from a PlayDoh-like substance. There are two simple recipes for making the dough: one is conductive and one is insulating. At the simplest level, kids construct a series circuit consisting of one LED, a battery pack, conductive dough, and insulating dough. Learning progresses through parallel circuit construction, motor circuits, buzzer circuits, advanced RGB-LED circuits, and "squishy" animals. All materials are easily acquired, or a kit can be purchased from the website for about $20.

Editor's Note: The Squishy Circuits project team has created high-quality videos to accompany the activities. They cover set-up & preparation, LED calculations, tips for teaching the concepts to small children, and directions for building the more advanced circuits.

Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Modeling
Electricity & Magnetism
- DC Circuits
- Electromotive Force and Current
= Cells and Batteries
- Resistance
Other Sciences
- Engineering
- Elementary School
- Middle School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Laboratory
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Educators
- Parent/Guardians
- Learners
- General Publics
- application/pdf
- application/flash
- image/jpeg
- text/html
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Safety Warnings
Minimal Danger   No Safety Equipment Necessary  

Access Rights:
Free access and
Available for purchase
Lessons and background information are free; kits are available for purchase at about $20.
© 2007 University of St. Thomas
Play Doh circuits, circuit construction, dough circuits, motor, parallel circuit, series circuit
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created November 25, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
November 26, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

3. The Nature of Technology

3B. Design and Systems
  • 3-5: 3B/E2. Even a good design may fail. Sometimes steps can be taken ahead of time to reduce the likelihood of failure, but it cannot be entirely eliminated.

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 3-5: 4D/E5. Substances may move from place to place, but they never appear out of nowhere and never just disappear.
  • 3-5: 4D/E6. All materials have certain physical properties, such as strength, hardness, flexibility, durability, resistance to water and fire, and ease of conducting heat.
  • 6-8: 4D/M9. Materials vary in how they respond to electric currents, magnetic forces, and visible light or other electromagnetic waves.
4E. Energy Transformations
  • 6-8: 4E/M2. Energy can be transferred from one system to another (or from a system to its environment) in different ways: 1) thermally, when a warmer object is in contact with a cooler one; 2) mechanically, when two objects push or pull on each other over a distance; 3) electrically, when an electrical source such as a battery or generator is connected in a complete circuit to an electrical device; or 4) by electromagnetic waves.
4G. Forces of Nature
  • 6-8: 4G/M4. Electrical circuits require a complete loop through which an electrical current can pass.
  • 6-8: 4G/M5. A charged object can be charged in one of two ways, which we call either positively charged or negatively charged. Two objects that are charged in the same manner exert a force of repulsion on each other, while oppositely charged objects exert a force of attraction on each other.

8. The Designed World

8C. Energy Sources and Use
  • 6-8: 8C/M4. Electrical energy can be generated from a variety of energy resources and can be transformed into almost any other form of energy. Electric circuits are used to distribute energy quickly and conveniently to distant locations.
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Record Link
AIP Format
A. Thomas, (2007), WWW Document, (
A. Thomas, Squishy Circuits, (2007), <>.
APA Format
Thomas, A. (2007). Squishy Circuits. Retrieved December 15, 2018, from
Chicago Format
Thomas, AnnMarie. Squishy Circuits. 2007. (accessed 15 December 2018).
MLA Format
Thomas, AnnMarie. Squishy Circuits. 2007. 15 Dec. 2018 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "AnnMarie Thomas", Title = {Squishy Circuits}, Volume = {2018}, Number = {15 December 2018}, Year = {2007} }
Refer Export Format

%A AnnMarie Thomas
%T Squishy Circuits
%D 2007
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Thomas, AnnMarie
%D 2007
%T Squishy Circuits
%V 2018
%N 15 December 2018
%9 application/pdf

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