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Circuit Bending with Play-Doh

Source Institutions

    Science Museum of Minnesota

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Circuit Bending with Play-Doh

Break open that used musical toy and squish some Play-Doh over the circuit boards, and you will hear some weird and distorted sounds the manufacturer never intended! In this activity learners experiment with the strange conductive properties of Play-Doh in order to safely short-circuit a musical toy. This is an entertaining activity about basic circuitry, sounds, and short circuiting or "circuit bending" battery powered musical toys. Note: often it is difficult to unscrew the musical toys open, and the insides are delicate. So consider this when turning this into a group activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per student)

  • Used musical toy
  • Screw drivers
  • Play-doh


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Touch
      • Hearing
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Circuits
    • Energy
      • Energy and Power
    • Chemistry
      • Acids and Bases
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Sound

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Electronics
  • Music
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • hear
  • 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


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