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Squishy Circuits uses play dough to teach electrical circuits
Squishy Circuits uses play dough to teach electrical circuits
592 backers pledged $41,975 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$41,975

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What are People Saying About Squishy Circuits?

"I used it at home with my kids and then at an elementary school science event where it was the favorite activity of the evening. Seriously, I couldn't get kids to leave so that others could experience Squishy Circuits." – LeAnne from California

"As a librarian, I'm always looking for new and innovative programs to do with kids. Squishy Circuits really knocked it out of the park." – Mollie from Texas

"I use Squishy Circuits during summer Maker Camp; in my Makerspace and share them with our STEM lab teacher. The students loved them!" – Judy from Florida

Play, Invent, and Learn with Squishy Circuits™!

Squishy Circuits uses conductive and insulating play dough to teach the basics of electrical circuits in a fun, hands-on way. Let your creations come to life as you light them up with LEDs, make noises with buzzers, and spin with the motor.

Who is Squishy Circuits for?

Everyone! Squishy Circuits has been used in classrooms, homes, libraries, and museums in all 50 states and over 20 countries. The stories and experiences we have heard are incredible, ranging from science fair exhibits to nursing home activities. Squishy Circuits has even been invited to the White House! 

Squishy Circuits is truly for all ages - we have led events with 3 year old students who easily grasp the basics with just a little individual attention and workshops with adults. 

How does it Work?

Squishy Circuits is very simple and is based on two play doughs - one that is conductive (electricity flows through it) and one that is insulative (does not allow electricity to flow through it). We are excited to have pre-made dough that you can purchase directly from our store, or you can make your own doughs with the provided recipes.

Power is supplied by a 4AA battery pack and travels through the conductive dough to provide power to LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes), buzzers, or motors. 

Squishy Circuits are easy to make! View our Quick Start Guide or check out this video which walks through the most basic Squishy Circuit.

What are Squishy Circuits Kits?

Lite Kit – The lite kit is the most basic kit and includes everything that you need to make your first Squishy Circuits light up quickly and easily. It is ideal for classrooms, parties, or events where every participant needs their own battery pack and wants to get started building right away.

Standard Kit – The standard kit includes most of the components to be used with Squishy Circuits for more design creativity. It does not include dough, but the dough is easily made with the included recipes and common kitchen ingredients.

Deluxe Kit – The deluxe kit is our most complete Squishy Circuits kit. It comes with more items than the standard kit and comes with pre-made doughs so you can start circuit building right away! This kit also includes a deluxe battery holder which has a knob that allows your lights to blink and buzzers to beep at different speeds.

How are these kits different than the older versions?

Currently we offer one Squishy Circuits Kit that is very similar to the new standard kit (view it on our current website and on Amazon), however we have made significant improvements and will be discontinuing the older style. 

The newest generation of kits have a brand new design that is easier to manufacture, are more durable, and are safer.

What do I get for Supporting this Kickstarter?

Why is your help needed?

Development and sourcing for the new Squishy Circuits Kits started in early 2015 and we have created strong relationships with our vendors. Now, we need the upfront capital to start production and meet our vendor's minimum order quantities. This is only possible with your support. 

Furthermore, we need your help to grow Squishy Circuits and bring hands-on STEM education to more people around the globe. Your support will allow us to expand the Squishy Circuits brand and develop additional projects.

We have an aggressive timeline and we are committed to delivering the new kits before the start of the new school year. 

Who is Behind Squishy Circuits Store?

My name is Matthew Schmidtbauer and my Squishy Circuits journey began in early 2011 when I was an electrical engineering student at the University of St. Thomas and had just started working with AnnMarie Thomas (the creator of Squishy Circuits) on the Squishy Circuits project. From the very beginning, I thought that Squishy Circuits was a fantastic idea – and I was very excited to be working on it. After attending several events, I realized that many people were looking for a single source for all of the components required for Squishy Circuits. As my mom stated, “I wouldn’t have bought this for you growing up. I wouldn’t know what to call these things, let alone where to buy them.” 

Although developing a business plan, sourcing parts, and building a website were not necessarily things I thought I would be working on during my free time that spring, I started learning more about the process and finalized the Squishy Circuits Store idea. By June I had gained permission from AnnMarie, Sam (Squishy Circuits’ previous student researcher and recipe developer), and St. Thomas to continue forward. On June 15, 2011, I filed the paperwork for Squishy Circuits Store LLC. 

Armed with a small loan from my parents, I ordered raw materials. Upon their arrival, it became quite clear that “some assembly was required” and my parents and I began producing Squishy Circuits Kits out of their basement and garage. By September I had the first versions of the Squishy Circuits Kits available online and had started selling them. Learning to juggle school, work, kit production, and everything that filled the spaces in-between proved to be challenge, but, looking back, I can only think of it as a positive, learning experience. 

Producing the very first Squishy Circuit Kit in late 2011
Producing the very first Squishy Circuit Kit in late 2011

Fast-forwarding to present day, I am proud to have sold thousands of Squishy Circuits kits in over 20 countries around the world. Although no longer a student researcher for Squishy Circuits, I continue to be a proponent of the program and am a firm believer that learning can be accomplished through playing and self-discovery.

AnnMarie Thomas and Matthew Schmidtbauer accepting a 2015 Eureka Award for Squishy Circuits
AnnMarie Thomas and Matthew Schmidtbauer accepting a 2015 Eureka Award for Squishy Circuits

About Squishy Circuits

Squishy Circuits was developed at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota by AnnMarie Thomas. It began as a summer research project in her Playful Learning Lab with past student Sam Johnson, and quickly grew in popularity. It especially became popular when AnnMarie demonstrated it at TED in 2011. 

Today, the Playful Learning Lab continues to expand upon Squishy Circuits and works on developing new technologies. Squishy Circuits Store is proud to support the Playful Learning Lab by contributing a portion of all sales and developing new Squishy Circuits resources.

Matthew and Playful Learning Lab students at the 2015 National Maker Faire in Washington DC
Matthew and Playful Learning Lab students at the 2015 National Maker Faire in Washington DC

Risks and challenges

Drawing upon our experience of selling thousands of Squishy Circuits Kits, and having spent over a year developing and sourcing components for the new kits, we are confident that they will be a high-quality product. We also believe that we have taken the appropriate actions to ensure a successful campaign and are even optimistic that our timeline will be accelerated and shipping may happen early.

We believe we have two major risks, mainly regarding quality and importing times. Regarding quality, we have done several prototype runs proving that our vendors can provide components built to our requirements. We will be testing many of the production parts and plan on ordering extra in case of defects. This will ensure the final products are high quality.

Our vendors are primarily located overseas which means our products must be imported. In the past, we have had delays (port strikes, customs inspections, etc.) that have increased the importing process by weeks. We have built in some time so that if these unforeseen circumstances occur, we can still deliver on schedule.

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    Squishy Circuits Lite Kit
    (Retails for $10!)

    1 - Battery Holder
    15 - LEDs (5 each of Red, Green, and Blue)
    1 - 5 oz Container of Conductive Dough (colors vary)

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    Squishy Circuits Standard Kit
    (Retails for $30!)

    1 - Battery Holder
    1 - Switch
    1 - Motor
    1 - Piezoelectric Buzzer
    25 - LEDs (5 Each of Red, Green, White, Yellow, and Blue)

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    Squishy Circuits Deluxe Kit
    (Retails for $60!)

    1 - Deluxe Battery Holder
    1 - Piezoelectric Buzzer
    1 - Motor with Fan
    1 - Mechanical Buzzer
    1 - Switch
    45 - LEDs (5 each or Red, Green, White, Yellow, Blue, Purple, Orange, and Color Changing)
    1 - Set of Dough Sculpting Tools
    1 - Rolling Pin
    1 - .9 Pounds Container of White Insulating Dough
    3 - 1 Pound Containers of Conductive Dough (in Red, Blue, and Green)

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    'Double Down' Set
    (Retails for $180!)

    2 - Deluxe Kits
    2 - Standard Kits

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    Makerspace/Classroom Set
    (Retails for $440!)

    3 - Deluxe Kits
    7 - Standard Kits
    10 - Additional Battery Holders

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    2 - Makerspace/Classroom Sets
    1 - Half Hour Skype Class/Talk with AnnMarie Thomas and Matthew Schmidtbauer

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Funding period

- (30 days)