Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My hands smell like play-doh...

There are some things you can count on as a parent: stepping on legos (and trying not to curse in front of your children when you do so), getting covered in someone else's bodily fluids at one point or another (I've been peed on, puked on, spit up on...), sweet kisses, and that weird salty smell of play-doh on your hands.

That was me today as my older two kids and I made our own dough - conductive dough and insulating dough so we could play with a Squishy Circuits kit I ordered over a year ago. As part of my attempt to be a more hands on mommy, balancing my kids' sports lives with play, learning, and family time, we finally pulled the kit out of the cupboard in our maker space and got to work!

First we raided my mom's house for cream of tartar. I *definitely* do not cook enough to have this on hand - weird ingredient that makes me think of fish, but apparently you use it in biscuits? When we realized that we had everything we needed, and with a sweet smile from my oldest, we just ended up doing our whole experiment at her house.

After we got our dough made, it was time to get out the kit. The conductive dough was cooked on the stove, that was easy enough, but the insulating dough took two attempts. In his blog, A called me out on not reading the directions before I threw the ingredients together! Let me tell you, the amount I know about circuits is not even enough to write a blog post about. LUCKILY, I only needed to know enough to explain the basics to my kids. The University of St. Thomas gives some excellent project ideas and lesson plans. And of course, there's always Pinterest! Thank you Pinterest gods for having tons of pictures of projects that I could show my kids to inspire their creativity!

 I thought both R and A did a great job in their blogs of explaining what we did and how some of the parts worked. Of course we'll keep learning more with time, but it was a great first time out, and a fun way to spend the 2nd half of the Cowboys/Packers game while we waited for the Colts to play! My hands still smell, even after several washings, but the actual circuitry combined with the recap and one-on-one time while we blogged about it later were well worth it! I started to wonder how long it would be before we got the kit back out again, but now that the dough is made the kids don't really need me again until it dries out. They are perfectly capable of experimenting and building with the dough and LEDs. Can't wait to see what they'll create next!

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