PicoCricket Themes

Here are some examples of themes that have worked well for PicoCricket classes and workshops.

park scene

A Day in the Park
Collaborate to make a model park scene. Create trees that move, animals that make noises, playground equipment that spins, and other interactive creations.
• To learn more, visit the PIE Network Day in the Park workshop page

motor with curly pipe cleaner sculpture Kinetic Sculpture
Design a sculpture that spins and makes music.

• See the Kinetic Sculpture placemat PDF

wearable art

Create future fashions. Make a necklace or other jewelry that lights up. Transform old hats, gloves, and boots into interactive wearable art.
• See examples in the New Pathways to Robotics paper PDF (p. 7)
• Read how elementary school students invented Smart Clothes

people cheering project

Create projects that celebrate a cultural or national holiday. Or celebrate a birthday, sporting event, or other festive occasion.
• Watch an example in action - cheering at soccer video

• See the Happy Birthday placemat PDF
• Read more in the New Pathways to Robotics paper PDF (pp. 18-20)

insect Insects
Create an insect using craft materials, then use the PicoCricket to make your insect move and make sounds.
• See Shuchi Grover's blog for photos of a cricket-controlled insect her son created during an insect theme-based workshop


Smart House
Make a model house with automatic doors, lights that change colors when you clap, and other household devices that respond to sensor input.

• See the Dream House placemat PDF
• Read more on the PIE Network Smart House workshop page

sound machines

Sound Machines
Make contraptions that shake, rattle, and roll. Start with beads, cups, and other materials that make interesting noises. Then build a mechanism that will move the materials to create your own sound-making machines.
• Build simple motion mech
anisms using LEGO parts
• Find out about the Exploratorium's Sound Automata workshop
• Read about how a group of elementary school students created sound makers

music code

Make a Musical Instrument
Invent a new kind of musical instrument. Program the PicoCricket to change its tune based on the level of light, the loudness of your voice, --or even how you squeeze a lump of playdough.

• See the Musical Playdough placemat PDF

painting car Painting Machines
Design and build a machine that can paint.
• Find out more on the PIE Network's Art Making Machines workshop page
• Build simple motion mechanisms (to move a brush, marker, or piece of paper)

chain reaction

Chain Reactions
Make a series of contraptions, where one triggers the next.
• Learn more from the PIE Network's Chain Reaction workshop page
• Get inspired by the Exploratorium's Chain Reaction event with Arthur Ganson

There are many other possible themes for PicoCricket workshops, including: haunted house, secret garden, candy factory, interactive toys, puppets, everyday inventions, and many more. Have an idea for a workshop theme? Send us an email at ideas@playfulinvention.com.

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