Latest STEM learning kits for kids combine technology and play dough
Electro Dough Kit review: Hands-on STEM toy teaches kids about circuitry and coding
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Tech Will Save Us
- Using Electro Dough, kids can learn the basics of how electricity works and how to control and channel it by using an already familiar material: play dough.
- The kits encourage self-directed exploration but also work with an ever-expanding series of project ideas posted online.
- Making your own conductive dough at home is safe and easy, so families can always replenish and/or expand their supply of dough.
Like many kids out there, my son loved playing with play dough when he was a toddler. (Including, of course, brand name Play-Doh.) Now just shy of age five, he still enjoys the stuff from time to time, but his interests and abilities have greatly expanded.
These days, he's more interested in tooling around with circuitry or trying to build a working vehicle in his Maker's Space play area my wife set up for him over the summer. (Currently, he's set on building an RV using a refrigerator box as the frame — we have no idea where this idea originated.)
If you, too, have a child who is a competent play dough manipulator but has rather outgrown playing with dough, instead showing more interest in science- and tech-related toys, I've got something to share: Electro Dough Kits from the London based company Tech Will Save Us.
Tech Will Save Us
Their Electro Dough Kits were designed first and foremost for fun, but in the process of playing with colorful doughs, flashing LEDs, and beeping buzzers, a child will learn about the basic properties of electricity and circuitry. Using the kits can teach a child about polarity, conduction, types of circuits, and to practice designing, testing, and refining basic working electrical devices.
As it turns out, dough can make a pretty good conductor of electricity. Which means someone playing with dough can make, say, a face with eyes that light up, a dinosaur that beeps and roars, or a spaceship that does both.
Thanks to the endless possibilities that come with pliant, easily malleable dough, kids have the chance for open-ended play as they craft any creature, vehicle, or shapes using their electro dough. Then they can wire up their creation and see how making connections using the dough can close circuits and activate the light and sound hardware, bringing a new level of challenge and excitement to modeling dough.
Tech Will Save Us
Tech Will Save Us offers several Electro Dough toys, including the Bright Creatures Kit, that comes with plenty of colorful dough, dough cutters frames, and several light boards, and the original Electro Dough Kit, which includes instructions for making your own conductive dough at home. Which turns out to be quite easy to do, really (all you need is water, flour, salt, lemon juice, and vegetable oil), so you can always give your kid more conductive dough for larger projects or replace any that has dried out.
Video: DIY Electro Dough STEM Science Kit for Kids
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