Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Project: Conductive Playdough Pumpkin for Halloween

Conductive playdough pumpkin project halloween

We had lots of fun making a Halloween pumpkin with light-up eyes using our own homemade conductive playdough. With some basic knowledge of electrical circuits this is a fun and accessible activity with the kids for Halloween. As with any project using electricity, we recommend close adult supervision. However the kids will have plenty of hands on fun making their creations with the playdough. You'll need conductive and insulating dough to make your project work.  Read on to find out how we made our Halloween Pumpkin.

What you'll need?

1 x Power - Battery pack
2 x LED lights - for the eyes
1 big ball of orange conductive playdough - find a recipe here
1 small ball of black clay - for insulation and decoration

resources pumpkin project conductive playdough

How we made it

The conductive playdough is made using ingredients in your kitchen: flour, water, oil, lemon juice and salt. Some recipes include cream of tartar, however we didn't add it to our dough. Using our conductive orange playdough and insulating black clay we created a pumpkin with a face and stalk on top. We used two orange LEDs for our eyes.

conductive playdough pumpkin halloween

When you make the pumpkin you need an insulator (our black clay) between your conductors (orange playdough) to ensure the LEDs light up. Make sure the playdough on either side of the clay is not touching, otherwise your LEDs won't light up.

conductive playdough pumpkin insulating clay

Now add your LEDs. One prong on either side of the insulating clay. This ensures that the electricity travels through the LED and makes the eyes light up.  It is a bit of trail and error to figure out which way round you need to place the LEDs into the playdough. Make sure you push them in nicely and the prongs don't touch each other.

conductive playdough project

Add the battery, one wire into each side of the playdough. And there you have it your circle circuit is complete. A fun, quick and easy activity for Halloween.

If you don't have all the bits readily available at home, you can purchase a ready made kit. There are two different sets available in the USA and UK. Squishy Circuit Kit founded by students from St. Thomas University is available in the USA and the Electro Dough Kit by Technology Will Save Us is available in the UK. Please note, with both these kits you'll still need to make your own dough. Each kit provides a recipe card to make the dough at home.  If you keep your dough in a sealed container it will last for weeks.

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