STEAM Camp: How to Make a Modern Art Steady Hand Game

Someone asked me the other day where I get my ideas.  They come from all over the place, but I’m often inspired by all things vintage.  Today’s project is inspired by vintage play like steady hand and Operation games. And by some gorgeously streamlined vintage containers called AMAC boxes.  So in the truest interpretation of all things STEAM, I bring you a Modern Art Steady Hand Game :) This post contains affiliate links.

Make a Modern Art Steady Hand game to explore your artistic side and learn circuits at the same time. It's a great STEAM / STEM learning project for kids.

What is a Steady Hand Game?

Have you played Operation {affiliate} before?  You know that old school game where you have to remove body parts without touching tweezers to the metal sides?  A steady hands game is just like that.  You have to move a wire ring around a wire shape without hitting the sides or a buzzer will sound.  This project helps kids learn about circuits and explore their artistic side by creating their wire shape however they want.

Blue Cloud Steady Hand Game LBCB

Modern Art Steady Hand Game Supplies Needed:

A note about AMAC boxes…  I really love the look of these boxes.  I plan on using these to store all my Maker Space small parts when I get my redecorating act together.  They’re vivid and useful and the transparency is gorgeous.  They’ve even been recognized as classic design pieces by being included in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.  And they make a great house for an electric toy’s parts.  Buut, if you don’t want to invest in the AMAC boxes, you can always use a recycled cardboard box or jar.

Prepare Your Box

  1. You can easily melt holes in an AMAC box with a glue gun, so fire yours up without a glue stick. Once hot, grab the lid to the box and find the middle center spot.  Gently press the glue gun tip to the middle spot on the lid until a small hole appears.  You only want it to be as wide as the very tip of the glue gun, so don’t push it through to far.
  2. Next, melt a small hole in the side of the box top.  This is for the playing wand wire to come out.  You can either make the whole big enough for the alligator clip to fit through or make a small hole and take the clip apart to feed it through.
  3. Finally, if you made a small hole in the side of the lid, take your alligator lead and pull off one clip.  Feed the wire through the hole and reattach your clip.  Don’t feel like redoing the clip inside the lid?  You can always use electrical tape to connect the wires.

Prepare Box LBCB

Create Your Playing Shape

  1. Grab a 2 ft. length of the copper wire and twist the two ends into a tight spiral, about two inches long.  Then shape the rest of the wire into any form you want.  This is where you can get creative!  The more twists and turns, the harder the game is, so you might want to take into account your kiddo’s fine motor skill level.
  2. Create your circuit wand:  Take a 3″ piece and feed one end through the larger shape that you just made.  Twist ends into a spiral and shape the wire into a circle.  This is your playing wand end and should be trapped around the playing shape.

Make the Playing Shape and Wand LBCB

Build Your Circuit

  1. Connect your items in the following order:
    1. Connect battery pack red wire to bottom of wire shape inside the box lid with electrical tape.
    2. Connect battery pack black wire to buzzer black wire with electrical tape.
    3. Connect buzzer red wire to alligator lead clip inside box lid.
    4. Connect alligator lead clip outside box lid to wand base.

Steady Hand Circuit LBCB

Play!  And Buzz :)

  1. Load your batteries into the battery pack and stuff all the wires except for the playing wand lead into the box.  Turn on the battery pack switch and close the box.  Now play away!

Single Green Steady Hand Game LBCB2


My daughter had fun playing with it, but she was a little timid with the buzzer at first.  Then she started playing songs on it.  Repeatedly ;)  The good news is that the box buffers the sound a bit :)Playing the Game LBCB2

We made a few of these with different shapes.  A squiggly heart, a spiral and a blue sky cloud.  All with lots of abstract bendiness to make the game harder.

Red Spiral Steady Hand Game LBCB2

Summer Learning Made Fun

Summer STEAM Camp

Summer doesn’t have to mean that learning takes a vacation.  So I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite bloggers who all love STEAM. Because learning with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math gives kids the power to do almost anything they can dream up. And these projects show that you don’t have to give up summer fun for a little bit of learning.  This week’s topic is all about things you can HEAR.

How to Learn from a Failed Experiment || One Time Through

Twirling Buzzing Noise Maker || What Do We Do All Day

Exploring Viscosity with Pop Rocks Science || Little Bins for Little Hands

Build a Water Xylophone || Pink Stripey Socks

Salt Vibrations: Sound You Can See || Left Brain Craft Brain

DIY Voicepipe || Babble Dabble Do

Did you see how we Feel STEAM with a Travel Geoboard ? Or See STEAM with a Magnetic Field Sensory Bottle?  Or you can Smell STEAM with a fun experiment that explores How What We See Changes What We Smell.

Science, Tech, Engineering, Art, and Math Fun for Kids

Looking for some more STEAM inspiration that use can use right now? Instant gratification style? Check out STEAM Kids: 50+ Hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math Hands-On Projects for Kids ebook! It’s packed full of a year’s worth fun learning activities that will wow the boredom right out of your kids. STEAM Kids hands on science, technology, engineering, art, and math projects for kids
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17 thoughts on “STEAM Camp: How to Make a Modern Art Steady Hand Game”

  1. This is the coolest idea Anne! I wish I was still teaching grade 5 this year (they study electricity and circuits) so we could make these as a class – but I’m going to have to be happy just making a few for me and my son. Or, maybe we could do these for an upcoming “Inventor’s birthday party” which I’m planning…such an awesome idea!

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  5. This is a great project!! Could you use an AA battery pack for these instead of a AAA battery pack?


    1. leftbraincraftbrain

      Yes, just check that the voltage output is the same and that the pack fits in the box. I had to use AAA to make it fit.

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