LED Glowies

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Simple, cheap and fun way to introduce your Scout Group to basic electrics using batteries and LEDs from the Scouting Magazine


What you'll need:- 1 roll of electrical tape

- 10mm 3v LED lights

- CR2032 3v lithium button cell batteries

Optional materials for medium and advanced glowies:

- Small ceramic disc magnets

- Card

- Scissors

- Ruler



Beginner level basic glowies:

1 Check that your LED is working by sliding it onto the button cell battery with the long prong (the anode) touching the positive terminal of the battery and the shorter prong (the cathode), touching the negative terminal. You can tell Beavers and Cubs to slide the prongs onto the two flat sides of the battery, and if the light doesn't work, to turn the LED around. But make sure that the shorter prong of the LED doesn't touch the positive terminal or the sides of the battery.

2 If your LED lights up, success! If not, try another LED or battery until you find two that work.

3 Fix your LED in place with a piece of tape. Wrap this tightly around the battery to hold the prongs of the LED onto the two sides of the battery.

Medium level magnetic glowies:

4 Continuing from step 3, place a small magnet on the positive side of the battery and again, tape it in place. Now you have an LED light that will stick to metal surfaces.

Advanced level on/off-switch glowie:

3 Follow steps 1 and 2 of the basic instructions before carefully cutting out two small rectangular pieces of cardboard. One piece should measure 4cm x 1cm and the other should measure 3cm x 1cm.

4 Place the longer piece of card between the wire prong and the battery. This will break the circuit between the LED and the battery, turning the LED light off.

5 Take a short length of sticky tape and place the second piece of card about 2cm-3cm in from the end of the tape.

6 Place this second piece of card over the wire prong so that it covers both the prong and the first piece of card.

7 Place your magnet on the positive side of the battery and again tape it securely in place. By removing the piece of card and slotting it between the prong and the battery terminal you will be able to turn your glowie on and off.

Games and activities:

Glowies can be used in some great games.

- If you made the basic glowies, turn the lights out and throw them at a target on the floor. Award points for the player that throws closest to the centre.

- Magnetic glowies will stick to any metal surface from radiators to fridge doors. Arrange them to form patterns and create cool lightscapes and even messages.

- You can also use glowies in creative activities. Why not create an LED garden? Tape lots of different colours together to make flowers, or attach them to pieces of wire and twist into tree shapes.

- Best of all, glowies are ideal for light-painting activities. A range of stunning effects are possible and remember, the more glowies you have, the more impressive the results.


- Always dispose of batteries safely.

- If used as advised, LEDs should not overheat. They may still get warm, however, so be careful.

- LED glowies use small components that can easily be swallowed by very young children.


  • battery
  • circuit
  • LED
  • lights

Badge Links

  • Electronics - Circuit
  • Experiment - Experiment
  • Scientist - Switch