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Squishy Circuits Deluxe Kit Review by Kelly BurgessSquishy Circuits
The Squishy Circuits Deluxe Kit is the most complete kit you can purchase from Squishy Circuits. It is available for $75. It includes a deluxe battery holder with a minimum/maximum control for dimming and adjusting speed, a piezoelectric buzzer, a motor with a fan blade attachment, a mechanical buzzer, a switch, a total of forty LED lights in an assortment of eight colors (including a color-changing set), a set of dough sculpting tools, a rolling pin, a seven-ounce container of white insulating dough, and seven seven-ounce canisters of conductive dough in various colors. It also comes with a quick start guide and 5 project cards in the box. Four AA batteries are required but not included. All the tools and components are stored in a zippered storage bag, while there is a large box that contains the tubs of dough. The kit is intended for adults and children of all ages, but supervision is recommended for children under eight years of age. The kit meets all child safety regulations. The high-quality components should last for years, but the dough and LED’s are considered consumables that may need replacing after hours of use.
After unboxing, we began with the quick start guide where we learned the basics of how to create a circuit using the deluxe battery holder, two balls of conductive clay, and an LED light. We touched the clay balls together and observed how this weakened the circuit and made the light dim. Then we inserted a piece of insulating dough between the two conductive dough balls and saw how brightly the light was illuminated. We also learned that the red wire from the battery pack should always be connected to the dough where the long wire of the LED is inserted, and the black wire should always be connected to the dough where the short wire of the LED is inserted. This gave us a basic understanding of the setup so we could easily troubleshoot issues with any of our creations going forward, ensuring that these basic concepts were being applied.
Next, we moved on to the included project cards. We were able to choose from making a snail with light-up eyes, a chick with light-up eyes, a rocket with 3 lights at the base, an airplane with a motorized propeller, or a submarine with both a motorized propeller and a buzzer on top. We started with the projects that created light. We initially were unsuccessful, but after troubleshooting based on the knowledge we gained in our quick-start circuit project, we realized the problem was that our conductive colors of dough were touching. We needed to add a bit more insulating dough, and then it worked! And the best part for me was that my twelve-year-old son was the one who spotted the issue. That is when I realized he was already learning something. Then we tried the motorized propeller projects. They were so much fun! We even took a little video of our airplane project and sent it to my husband at work, showing how we could start and stop the propeller. I love how every part of the kit serves a purpose. For the airplane, even the rubber caps on the tube that holds the dough tools were used as part of the landing gear. And the tube itself serves as a rolling pin to roll out the dough. That is thinking outside of the box!
In addition to the project cards, we were also able to go on the Squishy Circuits website and explore twenty-three additional project ideas. Most of them used the assorted colors of LED lights, but there was a tugboat project that used a buzzer that beeped and a funny face project that had a beeping nose. There was also an adorable “buzzing” bee that only beeped when we touched him to the little flower, which completed the circuit. There was a rainbow that used multi-colored dough coupled with matching multi-colored LED lights at the end of the rainbow. These were highly creative ideas! Each project idea on the website includes a video tutorial on assembling the project, so they are quite easy to follow, or they can also be downloaded. There is also an app we can install to take our fun project ideas on the go, and we can share pictures of our creations inside the app!
The very generous folks at Squishy Circuits also provide recipes on their website to make our own conductive and insulating doughs at home! If our dough dries out over time, we can replace it and use food coloring to create our own custom colors.
I noticed the conductive doughs were incredibly soft and pliable, easy to work with for any age. The white insulating dough has different ingredients, so its texture is much tougher. I initially had a challenging time even getting a chunk of it off the block in the canister. It seemed almost dry. Customer service suggested warming it in the microwave for a few seconds or simply working it in our hands to make it more pliable, but if it occasionally arrives dried out, their customer service is happy to replace it.
We are incredibly pleased with this creative kit. We are limited only by our imagination, and we have had a wonderful time with it. The tubs of dough are full-size canisters, which include plenty of dough for making lots of projects. It is a great boredom buster in our house!
-Product review by Kelly Burgess, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2020