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This title of this post was a bit of a play on words. We made some Snapping Circuits, a Light Up Alligator STEAM project. If you have heard of Snap Circuits, you may have thought this post was about those. 😉 We do LOVE Snap Circuits. But today, I will show you how to make some Alligator Circuits with snapping mouths. They are so cute and super fun to make with kids.
We spent a week in Florida in May as a family. I grew up in Southern Florida and I love to go back and visit whenever possible. We took the kids to the Everglades for an airboat ride and got to see alligators. They are such amazing animals and it was so fun letting my kids see them and learn more about them.
So, when I came across the Light Up Crocodiles STEAM project in the Curious Creatable Creatures book by Sam Haynor I had to give it a try. I’m just calling mine alligators! I got this book through the Quarto STEAM Club and it is so much fun! Each month the Quarto STEAM Club has amazing suggestions of STEAM-related books and free activities you can download to use with your kids or students.
How to Make the Alligator Circuits
Clothespins– you will need 2 for each alligator
Green Paint (or get colored clothespins)
Hot Glue Gun or other strong, fast-drying glue
Lithium 3V Coin Cell Batteries
3 or 5 mm LED Lights
1/4″ Copper Tape
Straw (paper or plastic will work)
Start by painting your clothespins. If you purchased colored ones, you can skip this step.
Cut two small pieces of craft foam to make the spiky scales on the alligator’s back.
Once the paint is dry, hot glue two clothespins together down the center. They will not fit exactly together, but line them up the best you can and fill in with glue. Put the spiky scales into the center while the glue is hot.
As soon as possible open and close the clothespins a few times to keep them from gluing shut. They need to be able to open and close for the alligator circuits to work. If it dries before you get to it, you can cut the glue a bit with scissors to open them back up.
Make the straw legs by cutting the straw into 4 small pieces. at one end of the straws, cut a few slits and bend them outward to make feet to help your alligator stand up. Hot glue the feet onto the bottom of your alligator. Try to get them as straight and even as possible.
Now we will start working with the lights on our alligator circuits. LED pin lights have two pins. One is long and one is short. The longer side is the positive side and the shorter is negative. The most important part is to make sure the same lengths are facing the same direction.
Put the lights over the spikes on the back and bend the pins down to reach the clothespin. Use a pipe of copper tape and tape one side over the pins of the lights, then wrapping under the bottom side of the clothespin. On the other side, tape over the pins and bring the piece of tape down to the bottom half of the clothespin. This will allow the battery to touch the tape on the top and the bottom connecting both the positive and negative sides.
Put the battery in squeeze the clothespins open to light up the lights on your alligator circuits! You have to squeeze pretty tight & may need to test the battery both ways before getting it right. Add a small piece of regular tape to secure the battery in place.
See More of My STEM Circuit Projects:
Check out a few other cool circuit STEM projects from some of my blogging friends!