The original Circuit Bugs a circuit craft and activity

Circuit Bugs – The original creator of Circuit Bugs!

Want a new craft that really brings the wow factor with some super easy circuit work for kids? Check out these adorable Circuit Bugs!

THE ORIGINAL CIRCUIT BUGS

Circuit Bugs – A super cute circuit craft for kidsDisclaimer: This post includes affiliate links

Jackson is really into circuits but after many years of using his Snap Circuits he was ready to move onto something different. I’ve been trying to find a way to get the boys more interested in crafts and after some research and inspiration from some fellow tinkers, I came up with this super cool little activity that got a resounding “WOW” from the boys!

These cute bugs incorporate great fine motor and creative crafting skills, but also circuit work that will keep your older kids enthralled and challenged.


Thank you for visiting STEAM Powered Family. We are the original creators of this Circuit Bug activity and we love that people all over the world are doing this activity with their children, however, we do ask that if you are sharing your projects or programs on the internet that you link back to this article. We also ask that you DO NOT copy this article and repost it on your site, please link to this original, copyrighted, article. Thank you for helping us as we innovate and create new projects that encourage kids to embrace STEAM.

Circuit Bugs are a fantastic circuits activity with cute results.
This is not an activity for little kids. Working with the circuits and batteries is something that should only be done under adult supervision and only by older children that can understand not to put anything in their mouth! It is also quite complicated, so I would say this activity is for 8 and up with lots of parent supervision and guidance.

To make your own Circuit Bug you will need:

2 LED Lights
Insulated Copper Magnet Wire
Batteries – CR2032 3V
Electrical Tape
Clothespins
Pipecleaners
Popsicle Sticks (Optional depending on your design)

CHANZON H&PC-59042 100pcs (10 colors x 10pcs) 5mm Light Emitting Diode LED Lamp Assorted Kit for Arduino Warm White Red Yellow Green Blue Orange UV Pink LightsRemington Industries 28SNSP.25 28 AWG Magnet Wire, Enameled Copper Wire, 4 oz, 0.0135Energizer 2032 Battery CR2032 Lithium 3v (1 Pack of 5)3M Scotch #35 Electrical Tape Value Pack (10457NA)Creativity Street Chenille Stems/Pipe Cleaners 12 Inch x 6mm 100-Piece, Assorted Colors

Start by setting out your LED lights. You will notice one leg is longer than the other. The longer one is the positive pin. Before going any further test your LEDs by inserting the battery between the legs. If it doesn’t work, try turning the battery around. If it still doesn’t work try a different LED or battery. You want to make sure you have working parts right from the beginning because the chance of circuits being interrupted is quite high as you work through this project.

Circuit Bugs - A super cute circuit craft for kidsCut your wire. I recommend cutting it a bit long and trimming it later to the final length. We started by measuring the length of the clothespin twice (or in the case of our dragonfly we went really long and doubled his length which included a clothespin plus popsicle sticks). Strip both ends of your wire, about 2-3 cm in length. You want enough for a good connection but not too much that you raise your risk of circuit interruption. My wire was quite thin so I did this with a pair of scissors by scraping the wire along the scissors. If you have a thicker wire you can use wire strippers if you have them.

Circuit Bugs - A super cute circuit craft for kidsNow wrap the wire around the positive pin of each LED, then take the loose ends and twist them together. Repeat the process with the negative pin on both LEDs.

Take your two sets of twisted wires and test them on the battery. Throughout the construction I recommend you keep testing the circuits. It is very easy to interrupt the circuit. At times I even secured the wires to the battery with a clothespin so I could ensure the work I was doing wasn’t interrupting the circuit.

This project will require some patience and trial and error.


After building your Circuit Bugs, up the challenge by building a potato battery!
Build a potato battery that powers a light bulb. A fantastic STEM activity and science fair project exploring circuits and energy production.


The next step can be done a few ways. You want to attach the LED’s to the legs of the clothespin or onto popsicle sticks by having each leg on either side of the wood. This will help prevent the wires touching and causing a short. You can simply set the LED’s there and snug them on but if you want them more secure I recommend wrapping the pins onto the wood with electrical tape. If you are going to get shorts in your circuit this is where they are most likely going to happen.

Circuit Bugs - A super cute circuit craft for kidsYou may also want to tape the wires against the body, or if you have lots of extra you can wrap it around the clothespin. Make sure to leave the extra dangling from the end so you can attach the battery.

Start building your bug! You can do this however you wish. We simply wrapped the pipecleaners around the clothespin to create the look we wanted. By bending and twisting the pipecleaners we were able to secure them and make quite a stable design. We went with a Dragonfly, Beetle Bug and Bumblebee.

Circuit Bugs - A super cute circuit craft for kids
As you build keep testing that circuit! I intentionally left the leads really long on the dragonfly to show the wires, make the wiring a bit easier on that one, and it worked with the look of that bug. I can always go back and trim those up, but for the purposes of our project I wanted variety and a chance to show off the wiring to my six year old in a very obvious way. He found it much easier to insert the battery into the dragonfly design. In the beetlebug and bumblebee inserting the battery is quite snug and was hard for his little fingers to do.

Circuit Bugs - A super cute circuit craft for kids
On most of the bug designs you will probably want to trim the wires to get a more compact look. Trimming also gives you a more stable connection so you can play with your creation more.

When you are completely finished building your bug it is time to trim the excess wire. I recommend you do both the negative leads first: trim then strip, then twist them back together. Then do the same on the positive leads. I didn’t do this one time and it was a pain trying to figure out which were my positives and negatives again!

Wrap the negative leads around one side of the clothespin end (the tight part that clamps shut), then wrap the other side with the positive leads. Make sure the stripped portion is on the inside. Then simply insert your battery to create life in your circuit bug!

If it doesn’t work, turn the battery around. If it still doesn’t work you will need to disassemble your bug to find the point where your circuit is being interrupted. Testing throughout the construction helps with trouble shooting.

They don’t have an on/off switch, so to turn off your bug simply remove the battery.

We had so much fun with these little critters. I hope you enjoy your circuit bugs!

Want to really dive into learning circuits and programming? Check out Creation Crate

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Try our newest circuit activity – Circuit Flowers!

With the popularity of our Circuit Bugs STEM Activity it was time to come up with something new, something with a little extra art. Introducing Circuit Flowers! Explore chromatography, diffusion, engineering and circuit building with this hands on STEAM activity. Great for mothers' day, spring, girls in STEM, and more!


Looking for more STEAM project ideas? Check out STEAM Kids, it’s packed full of over 50 STEAM activities.

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