Circuit Bugs – STEM Activity

Another craft idea that was shared at the recent YAACS makerspace workshop was brought to us by Jen Lee, a children’s librarian with the Vancouver Public Library. Circuit bugs are a simple and fun way to introduce children to electricity and circuitry, and tie in well with a STEM-based curriculum.

Although the circuit bugs are simple to make, this craft is probably better suited for older kids, as the fiddly bits require some fine motor skills, and you’ll be working with electricity and circuits. Safety first, kids!

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You can find full instructions on building circuit bugs here, and here

Supplies:

  • 2 LED Lights
  • Insulated Copper Magnet Wire
  • Batteries – CR2032 3V
  • Electrical Tape
  • Clothespins
  • Pipecleaners
  • Popsicle Sticks (Optional depending on your design)

Jen left us with some valuable tips:

  • Connecting the circuits can be fiddly, so it’s a good idea to keep your group size on the smaller side, and have extra teens/adults on hand to help out. Also, make sure to schedule plenty of time for this activity, so kids don’t feel rushed.
  • Affordable supplies can be found in the unlikeliest of places – Jen got a great deal on batteries at IKEA, and LED lights can be bought in bulk online. We’re all working with limited budgets these days, so it pays to do your research and shop around.
  • Make sure to order extra supplies in case some of the batteries or LED lights are duds, and have all the kids test their supplies before they start constructing their bugs.
  • There’s no on/off button, so if the kids leave their circuits connected the batteries will run out.

Sounds like a fun activity for teachers to share with science classes, too!

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