Musical Sculpting Machine: Squeeze Play-Doh to Make Music

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Play-Doh is conductive! Use the semiconductive qualities of Play-Doh to make your own squeezable instrument. Pico Cricket is required. This activity is great as a walk-up activity for all ages, and can also be made into an hour long workshop about programming and electrical current, conductivity, and resistance. Note that this activity uses an older version of the Pico Cricket called a MIDI board—substitute and revise as needed. Mini-speaker is not required for newer Pico Crickets. No programming experience is necessary. This activity is for beginners.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Pico Cricket kit
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cardboard
  • Electrical tape or masking tape
  • Wire cutter/stripper
  • Wire, about 2 feet (61cm) of solid non-stranded 22 gauge electrical wire.
  • Play-Doh or other modeling clay like plasticine


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Computing
      • Computer Science
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Circuits

Informal Categories

  • Computers
  • Electronics
  • Music


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • hear
  • use keyboard
  • use mouse
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 0087813