Light-Up Rudolph Card- Free Printable!

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!)

  1. Save the printable below this tutorial by right clicking and pressing “save image”. Print out the card and the circuit guide.
  2. Follow the instructions on the circuit guide to set up your circuit:
    1. 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)
    2. 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.
    3. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

xoxo

Cara

Make your own painting Art-Robot: Inspired by “Ada Lace Sees Red”

One of the best ways to bring a new activity into your kid’s life is to be inspired by a special book. After reading Ada Lace Sees Red, (SPOILER ALERT) which features a robot that can paint (and an intelligent heroine), my daughter couldn’t get enough, so I thought I’d expand her love of the book by helping her make her own art-bot.

This project uses a vibrating motor to wiggle a cup attached to paint brushes. Other variations of vibrobots include bots that vibrate a scrub brush (bristlebots) and bots with markers for coloring!

Anna really likes taping things.

Materials

Note: Instead of using a motor with a nut, you can alternately just buy a vibrating motor. I prefer making it from a normal motor because we can also use the motor for other things that don’t involve vibration, whereas vibrating motors can only be used for vibrating things.

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Procedure

  1. Securely tape the bolt nut to one side of the motor shaft. As the motor spins, the nut will cause it to be unbalanced, making the whole thing vibrate.
  2. Hook up your circuit (including a switch if you would like). Be sure to follow the directions on the motor you purchase, as incorrect wiring can cause things to get hot or spark.
  3. Add the battery and test your motor, making sure the nut is securely affixed so it doesn’t fly off.
  4. Flip the cup upside-down and tape 3-4 paintbrushes around it so it can stand up on the brush ends (see picture above with markers as an example).
  5. Tape the battery terminal and motor to the cup, ensuring the nut has room to move around.
  6. Test out your bot to make sure everything is affixed securely.
  7. Dip the brushes into paint, put it on paper, then turn it on!

This can also be done with markers, which are less messy than paint, or crayons, which are even less messy than markers. After you’re done making art, try attaching your eccentric motor to something else, like a scrub brush or dry mop!

Book Inspiration- Ada Lace: Sees Red

From the publisher:

From Emily Calandrelli—host of Xploration Outer Space, correspondent on Bill Nye Saves the World, and graduate of MIT—comes the second novel in a brand-new chapter book series about an eight-year-old girl with a knack for science, math, and solving mysteries with technology.

Ada Lace is building a new robot! She’s determined to beat Milton in the upcoming robotics competition. But she’s distracted—Ada finds her dad’s art class impossible, while Nina is the star of the class, basking in the glory of being Mr. Lace’s star pupil.

When Mr. Lace suggests that Nina put on an art show, Ada becomes jealous and loses her temper. Now Ada isn’t speaking to her dad, she’s falling behind in art class, and she still doesn’t know how to fix her robot. As the competition looms closer, Ada starts to wonder if there might be a way to use both science and art to solve her problems.

Will Ada make up with her father in time to test her hypothesis? Or will her hurt feelings leave her seeing red and without a medal at the end of the day?


Ada Lace Adventures is a series about a girl who uses science to help solve problems and mysteries. It is intended for readers ages 8+, but I read them a chapter at a time to my young daughter. The books are not in-your-face nerdy at all, as Ada is just an ordinary girl who likes science. I like that these books counter the stereotypical dorky science character that we frequently see. They are well written, fun to read, and a great addition to your chapter book library.

Magnetic-Tile Circuits

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This project is for ages 3+ as it uses small parts which are 
dangerous when swallowed. Supervise young children.

Ready to make an already awesome toy even more awesome? All you need is less than $20 in special supplies (copper tape, LEDs, and button batteries), tape, scissors, and some magnetic tiles to start to snap together basic circuits.

If you don’t have magnetic tiles, you can also use these same supplies to make paper circuits.

Continue reading “Magnetic-Tile Circuits”