Learn about simple circuits by making a light-up Rudolph card using our free printable!
Happy holidays, everyone! Ring in the season with this easy project and introduce your kids to simple circuitry while you’re at it. Once you get the hang of how to lay the circuit, challenge your child to create their own light-up card from scratch! Check out the video below for a quick overview and read-on for the full tutorial. This projects enforces the idea that a circuit needs to be complete in order to work. When you close the card, your circuitry will connect and Rudolph’s LED nose will light up. When you open the card, the circuit will be broken and the LED will turn off. Creating these cards also reenforces spacial reasoning, as the child can see how the circuit is formed in 3D space.
Warning: Button cell batteries used in this project are very dangerous when swallowed and can lead to death or serious impairment. Do not use around small children or anyone who puts things in their mouth like a pet. Always store them and the card in a safe place.
Materials (This contains affiliate links. This means if you purchase using this link, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. I’d appreciate your support! Thank you!)
- Save the printable below this tutorial by right clicking and pressing “save image”. Print out the card and the circuit guide.
- Follow the instructions on the circuit guide to set up your circuit:
- Roughly measure copper tape to the lengths shown on the guide. Stick to the back of your card (or directly to the guide if you can print the guide on the back of the paper)
- Splay the legs of the LED so they lay flat. Poke a hole through Rudolph’s nose, insert the LED, and tape the legs from behind, over the copper tape where indicated on the guide (See video). LEDs have a polarity and it must match up with the battery’s polarity or else this won’t work. The long leg of the LED is the positive side and the short leg is the negative side. Be sure to follow the circuit guide to point the legs in the right direction.
- Tape the battery on top of the copper tape where indicated on the circuit guide, paying attention to the polarity again. Ensure the negative side of the battery leads to the negative side of the LED. Use two pieces of tape on wither side of the battery so the copper tape at the top of the card can make contact with the battery when the card is closed (See video).
- Close your card and watch the nose light up! If it doesn’t, make sure the polarity of the LED and battery are correct and check that all connections are snug.
- If you plan on sending this, consider sliding a piece of paper between the battery and connecting copper tape that the recipient will remove to ensure the battery doesn’t run out while in transit.
Here are the free printables below! Just save the image to your computer!
Let me know if you get around to trying this! Be sure to follow and tag me in your projects on Instagram @cara_florance for a chance to be featured in my stories! Happy Holidays!