Squishy Circuits was developed in 2011 in the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Dr. AnnMarie Thomas, the founder and director of the Playful Learning Lab, and undergraduate researchers, including Matthew Schmidtbauer and Sam Johnson, created a method for using homemade conductive and insulating doughs to teach electrical circuits and engineering concepts through play.
While finishing school and working a full-time engineering job, Schmidtbauer developed the business of Squishy Circuits Store, LLC. He found a reliable vendor of safe, quality products and began building the kits in his garage, which he sold to educators and creators worldwide. Eventually the demand for the kits grew enough that Schmidtbauer left his full-time position to focus exclusively on Squishy Circuits.
Squishy Circuits are used in classrooms, libraries, museums, maker spaces, and more in all 50 states and more than 25 countries. While the products and projects fit Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in the US, Squishy Circuits also works well with any science or engineering lesson plans, STEM activities, or home-based learning environments. Squishy Circuits has even been invited to the White House!