Rudolf the {LED}-Nosed Reindeer: A festive Holiday circuit!

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Christmas is less than two weeks away, so it’s time to get festive!

This simple circuit utilizes just a few simple supplies to make a very easy technology experiment. Simple circuits like this one are great at teaching basic circuitry, electricity, and a fun chance to get creative.

What are you waiting for? Let’s Run, Run, Rudolf over to get started!

How to make the Rudolf the LED-Nosed Reindeer circuit technology experiment

Supplies you will need

For this experiment, you will need the following:

Here’s a book about circuits for kidsOpens in a new tab. that would be great to read alongside this experiment. It starts with basics but also covers more in-depth topics for the bigger kids.

Before you start

Please watch your child around electronics, and especially watch your child around the batteries. These can be very harmful if swallowed.

Instructions

Here is how to do this experiment with your child:

Step 1: Print out the free printable and color

Start out by printing the free printable of Rudolf. I made it an outline (and a thick one, so it’s easier to color in the lines!) so you can have your child put their artistic touch on it.

Feel free to have them color Rudolf with crayons or whatever you have on hand to make him look festive.

Step 2: Locate the positive and negative sides of the LED and battery

Identify the positive and negative sides of your 3V battery. Typically, the positive (+) side will be the portion with the writing etched into the battery.

When we create our circuit, we will make the anode of the LED (see image below) come into contact with the positive side of the 3V battery and the cathode come into contact with the negative side of the battery.

Step 3: Light it up!

First, we want to bend the LED legs so the bulb is perpendicular to the LED legs (see first image below). I started by bending the anode first (the longer leg) at a 90-degree angle, then bent the cathode (shorter leg) at a slight angle down, then straight out.

The goal here is to make the LED legs run perpendicular to the LED bulb, and the LED legs should be close enough together so they hug the 3V battery. That will hold the battery in place.

If the LED legs aren’t close enough together, they may not both make contact with the battery at the same time, resulting in the LED not lighting up.

Bent LED legs running perpendicular to the bulb
Placing the 3V battery in between the LED legs to give the bulb power
Rudolf the LED-nosed reindeer complete!

The technology behind the Rudolf the LED-Nosed Reindeer circuit experiment

This experiment teaches:

  • Basic circuitry
  • Creativity
  • The Holiday season

How it works

This festive Christmas technology experiment utilizes one LED, a 3V battery, and a free printable to make a truly lit-up Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer!

We are creating a very simple circuit where the LED legs come into direct contact with the battery. When we place the anode of the LED on the positive terminal of the battery and the cathode of the LED on the negative side, our LED lights up and gives Rudolf his glow.

Basic circuitry

The experiment introduces the fundamental concepts of circuits, including power sources and components like LEDs.

It also introduces the concept of polarity by identifying the positive and negative terminals of the battery and LED. If we do not connect the positive end of the LED with the positive end of the battery, our LED will not light up.

Creativity

This is a fun experiment to allow your child to get as creative as possible!

They can color the free printable and add as many decorations to it as possible.

The Holiday season

This experiment is also a great opportunity to talk to your child about the Holiday season, the holidays your family and other families may celebrate, and fun Holiday traditions like Rudolf.

More science experiments that exercise creativity to try out with your child

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