This Awesome Kit Helped Me Turn Marshmallows Into Working Piano Keys

Here's a science experiment we can all get behind.

Makey Makey is a high-tech invention kit that lets you turn things into keyboard keys for your computer. Obviously, we decided to use it to turn colorful marshmallows into big, squishy piano keys.

Makey Makey keyboard screen

The core aspect of these inventions is the Makey Makey board, which allows your computer to recognize keyboard directional commands, as well as the space bar and clicking, by opening and closing circuits. It may sound a little complicated, but in practice, it's super simple.

Makey Makey board

The kit also comes with seven alligator clips. One of these clips is for connecting yourself to the board (you'll find out why this is important later). The other clips are for connecting the individual commands, like left or right, or space bar, to household objects.

makey makey alligator clip

When your board is fully wired, it might look something like this. One USB cable connects it to the computer. The Earth cable connects to you, and the other cables clip onto the conductive objects you want to use to activate them. The guide recommends objects like modeling clay, coins, foil, skin and bananas. Plastic, fabric and paper aren't so good for conducting electricity.

Makey Makey board with alligator wires

In our case, we decided to use marshmallows. The reason you hold the metal tip on the end of the Earth cable is that you activate the key by completing the circuit. To complete the circuit for the space bar, you must be touching the Earth cable and the space bar marshmallow.

Makey Makey alligator cable plugged into a marshmallow

With the six marshmallows laid out like the six keys, you just need to hold the Earth cable in one hand and bop the marshmallows with the other. It may take a moment to figure out which touches give the best and quickest results, but soon it's second nature.

marshmallows with makey makey alligator wires

And the special Makey Makey keyboard shows you exactly what's happening so you can make any adjustments as necessary along the way.

Makey Makey keyboard on computer

Of course, playing a virtual piano isn't the only thing you can do with Makey Makey. Their guide includes links to a similar bongo setup and a Guitar Hero-style game. If you'd like, you can just use the assigned keys to navigate around on your computer, or even remap the board's keys to support other functions.

Of course, if you're going to follow along with what we did and use marshmallows, be sure to clean up afterward. You don't want to attract ants.


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