Introduction: Interactive Globe Plush and Endangered Animal Book

In my Digital Making and Learning class, the final project tasked me with creating a product using one of the technologies we learned about in class. For this project, however, we had to take the technology further than what we had done with it before. After thinking about what I could do and use, I decided to use a Circuit Playground Express. I wanted to create a project that would turn kid's attention away from iPhones. The project I decided to explore is an interactive kids toy and book, that connect to take a problem that exists because of technology and fix the problem by using technology in a more effective way The book is about endangered animals, and the globe plush toy lights up where these endangered animals live when shaken. This project is to encourage kids to use some problem solving skills and hopefully they will learn something new along the way!

Materials you will need:

1. Circuit Playground Express

2. 6 Sewable LEDs (a. One red b. One yellow c. One green d. One blue e. One pink f. One white)

3. 1/2 Yard Blue Fabric

4. 4 pieces of green felt

5. Conductive thread

6. Hot glue

7. One bag poly-fil

Tools you will need:

1. Hot glue gun

2. Hand Needle

3. Sewing Machine

4. Scissors

5. Markers

Step 1: Print and Cut Out Pattern Pieces

Below are the pattern pieces necessary to making your globe, just print and cut them out. Using the 1/2 yard of blue fabric, cut 2 of the hexagonal pieces as well as six pieces from Pattern Piece 2.

Step 2: Sew the Body of the Globe Together

1. Grab the six curved pieces, cut from pattern 2.


-- When I say "right sides", I mean the side of the fabric that should be showing on the outside of a finished product. On some fabrics this is much easier to see. I used felt, which is not as easy to notice. This also means you could get away with using both sides! --

2. Take two, and put them right sides together. Sew along the curved side on one end, making sure to back-tac at each end.

3. Take another piece, and line it up, right sides together, and sew along the curve again.

4. Do this with all six pieces. Once that is done, put the two open ends together, and stitch along the curve.

You have just created a ball with no top and no bottom, sort of like a hoop.

Step 3: Sew on the Hexagonal Pieces


1. Turn the hoop inside out. (the seams will be facing outwards)

2. This time, line up the right side of the fabric to the right side on each side of the hexagon. Pin to hold together. I like to use clips.

3. On the top piece, sew down all six sides, making sure to back-tac.


1. Start the same process as the top hexagon, pinning the sides down.

2. You could sew each of the five sides, or, I used hot glue to hold the sides together.

3. Do the same process as before, closing each side, right-side to right-side, but leave on side open.

This opening will allow you to fill the globe with poly-fil.

Step 4: Fill the Globe With Poly-fil

Fill it with fluff until your heart is content!

I would suggest stuffing it as much as you can, as this allows the countries to be placed on the globe more easily.

Step 5: Close the Final Side of the Hexagon

Put hot glue on the last side of the hexagon and make sure it seals shut.

If you make a mistake here, that is okay, we will have to make a pocket to hold the battery pack and that will cover up any problems you have run into!

Step 6: Cut the Continents Out of Felt

Below I have attached the world map that I decided to use to cut out my continents. I blew it up, and printed it out. You could use any world map that you so choose! I thought this one would work best because it was as simple as possible, which made it easier to cut out of felt.

I laid out the pieces on the four pieces of green felt, marked along the edges, and cut them out.

Step 7: Pin Down the Continents

1. Refer to a map to place the continents.

2. Using pins, keep the pieces in place.

3. Move them around until you are satisfied with their placement.

Step 8: Hot Glue the Felt Pieces Down

Make sure to hot glue around the edges, and place them down. Make sure they are secure.

I would recommend only putting the hot glue around the edges, as this will make it easier to stitch the LEDs to the middle of the continents.

Step 9: Pin the LEDs and Circuit Playground Onto the Globe

Using the map reference I have added below, place the LEDs where the orange marks are. The white dot on the orange mark indicates which side the positive side of the LED should be on.

Step 10: Sew the LEDs Down

Using the circuit blueprint I have added as a guide, stitch the LEDs to the Circuit Playground using the conductive thread. A technique that I use was surfing under the blue fabric the popping up closer to the LED and surfing back under again as close to that stitch as possible. This way, there are not as many threads showing on the outside of the globe. There will be little puckers, but they are not horribly noticeable.

Tip: make sure to wrap the thread around each Circuit Playground and LED loop at least twice, if not three times. It helps it stay more secure and more conductive!

If you are a fan of embroidery, you could recreate latitudinal and longitudinal lines, and use these lines as a reference as to where to stitch the conductive thread to the LEDs.



Step 11: Code Your Circuit Playground

1. Go to

2. Use the code I have provided above to code the Circuit Playground.

It is a sequence, which means it will go in the same order every time! By using the change (variable) by 1 function, the code adds one to itself every time until it reaches seven, then it will start over.

Step 12: Finishing Touches!

1. Using a pink piece of felt, cut out a heart that will be big enough to cover the Circuit Playground.

Make a Pocket for the Battery Pack:

1. Cut 2 square pieces of fleece (blue).

2. You can topstitch the edges down to clean them up, or you can do what I did, and use hot glue to hold the raw edges down.

3. Take one square and place it facing the right way up. Glue down three sides.

4. Cut a small lit and thread the battery pack line through.

5. Place the other end of the battery on. Glue down the fourth side up to the pack's wire.

6. Take the other piece of fleece, and cover where the battery pack is.

You now have a pocket!

Step 13: Create Your Book!

For this section, I decided to put together my book using a binder and tab organizers that had six different colors.

If you wanted to, you could print out these pages and create a real hardback book, using cardboard. The binder happened to be the most realistic way to accomplish this part of the project.

Print out the pages I have provided and place the pages in this order and make the correct color coordinating tab, either with a pre-made tab organizer, or ones you make out of paper!

1. Macaws -- RED

2. Bengal Tiger -- PINK/PURPLE

3. Bison -- YELLOW

4. Sea Turtle -- GREEN

5. Elephant -- BLUE

6. Polar Bear -- WHITE

Print out the instructions and place them as the first page.


Shake shake shake and learn learn learn! Wahoo!