Thursday, 30 March 2017

DIY Joke Box with ElectroMat Voice Recorder


At Tech Age Kids we think craft projects should continue to feature as an activity for kids way past the toddler years. One way to keep the kids interested in making art and craft projects is to add some tech to it!And this is exactly what we did when we made our ElectroMat Voice Recorder Joke Box.

We've made a few other projects with our voice recorder device including a talking Mother's Day card, a Show & Tell Poster for school and adding sounds to an Ozobot world. There's even a cardboard shark teaching you fun facts!

The ElectroMat is a discontinued piece of tech which works with the original Bee-Bot. We like to find other interesting uses for old tech.  So let's see how to make a DIY Joke Box.

If you're in the UK you can still get hold of Electro-Mats which make this project really easy.

If not, then you could make something similar using reed switches or other triggers and hardware such as MaKey MaKey, Arduino or a Raspberry Pi with GPIO. You'd need to be connected to a computer that can play sound (e.g. via Scratch) or have sound support on the micro-controller you use.

What you need

  • Electro-Mat Voice Recorder Device
  • 4 x AA batteries
  • A Cardboard Party Box
  • Magnet
  • Glue and Craft material to decorate

How to Make It


The Voice Recorder has 4 sensors at the end of coloured wires, which plug into a voice recording device. We created a simple template to indicate the different colours and stuck it on the side of our party box.


Now you can use sticky tape to secure the sensors on the inside of the box, corresponding the to template on the outside.


Decorate the party box using pens, craft paper, pre-cut paper shapes, feathers, stickers - just about anything will do. Best to stay clear of craft material that will make the box wet, like painting.


Record your joke. We've got an Amazon Echo at home, which tells the silliest jokes. She helped my son get some ideas. If you have an Alexa, why not try her skill "Alexa, Tell me a Joke".

How to Playback Your Joke

The sensors are in fact reed switches, which trigger the playback on the voice recorder when a magnet is used to close the switch. The ElectroMat kit comes with two magnetic battery doors, which we used to make a robot trigger.

We used a craft stick, sticky tape and a pre-cut robot cardboard template, some googly eyes and decoration to make our comedian magnetic robot.



Put the device in the party box, close it up and ask a friend to use the magnetic robot to hear a joke. Instead of asking Alexa - you can get a joke from your own DIY Joke Box.

What do you think of my 6 year old's joke?



Other Project and Activities with the ElectroMat:



More from Tech Age Kids:

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