Activities

Celebrate National Play-Doh Day with 2 STEM Challenges

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September 16th is National Play-Doh Day! What better reason to take out the Play-Doh today and have a little fun in honor of the day.

Play-Doh has been providing children a creative tool for 60 years. What started out as a product to remove coal residue from wallpaper was re-worked into an educational item sold to schools in the mid-1950’s, and over the last six decades has become a childhood staple. The soft, squishy modeling compound is the perfect medium to let a child’s imagination run wild. While many may think it is an art product, Play-Doh can also be used when exploring different STEM concepts.

Two of the most popular STEM Play-Doh projects can be done with a few simple items that can be found around most homes. Below are the supplies and steps needed to create a STEM Play-Doh challenge or two for your child.

Engineer a Play-Doh and Straw Structure

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This challenge is simple to set-up and allows children the freedom to construct a basic structure or one that is a little more creative. Key is to keep it standing.

Supplies:
  • One or more containers of Play-Doh
  • Drink Straws cut into similar lengths.
Steps:
  • Roll Play-Doh into several round balls of similar size.
  • Use the straws to connect the Play-doh balls and form the frame of the structure.

Play-Doh Electrical Circuits

Creating an electrical circuit may seem a little out there for a child that typically uses Play-Doh to make creatures or pretend food, but it can be done and is a favorite challenge with teachers. This challenge requires a few more items to get started.

Supplies:
  • One or more containers of Play-Doh
  • 9 Volt battery and wires OR a battery pack with wires
  • LEDs
  • Small piece of cardboard
Circuit Challenge #1 Steps:

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  • Roll 2 Play-Doh balls of similar size.
  • Stack the Play-Doh balls on top of each other with a piece of cardboard placed in between them.
  • Insert 1 LED wire into the bottom ball and the other wire into the top ball.
  • Connect lead wires to the 9 Volt battery.
  • Finally to complete the circuit, place 1 wire in the bottom ball and place the other wire into the top ball.

 

Circuit Challenge #2 Steps:

play-doh-circuit-idea2

  • Roll 2 Play-Doh ovals of similar size, 1 large oval, and 1 ball.
  • Place the 2 small Play-Doh ovals along side the large oval, but leave space between all the Play-Doh shapes.
  • Insert 1 LED wire into one end of the large oval and the other wire into the end of the small oval next to it as shown in the picture.
  • Connect lead wires to the 9 Volt battery.
  • Place 1 wire in the other end of the large oval and place the other wire into the end of the small oval at the other end as shown in the picture.
  • Finally, complete the circuit by placing the small Play-Doh ball between the 2 small oval pieces.

 

 

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