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VINE VOICEon August 22, 2003
Anyone with even the slightest electronic background will appreciate the value of this toy. As a kid I remember the long frustrating hours of deciphering components from circuit diagrams and soldering them to create projects that were way too much effort. The limited success with these projects, I believe, is the reason I gave up my hobby.

As a parent of a six-year old, I have been trying to introduce him to all facets of science and this is a wonderful tool. He immediately created a circuit - a combination light/fan circuit - in parallel and in serial - and he understood the difference between them. It was just amazing. He always appreciates what we get him, but he fell in love with this toy instantly. He was engrossed for the next hour experimenting with the various components.

There are about 60 components which create a total of 300 projects. Count on there being about 125-150 basic projects (I have not conducted a detail count!) with the remaining coming from tweaks in these 125-150 basic projects. However, I do not want to discount the value of these tweaks...they are designed to teach the value of electronic components and instigate independent thinking. This is definitely a "Learning" Toy. With the limited emphasis on science in our schools, the approx. [item price] is worth the investment.

For people who cannot envision how these snap into place (I couldn't!), the "snap" is from "snap-button". The component is soldered onto a large piece of plastic which have snap-buttons on it. These snap-buttons snap onto a large plastic grid or onto other components. Simple concept - Snap-On and Snap-Off!!

All the components have their respective symbols stamped on them which aids in early familiarization. The pieces are also individually numbered so that there is no confusion in identifying the right component. The Manual is all-color and very easy to follow, however, some might prefer more detailed explanations.

The model I purchased was "Snap Circuit 300 with Computer Interface" an upgrade to the one available here. The interface package includes software and a cable which connects to the "line-in" jack of your PC. The other end of the cable has two alligator-clips which can connect to any two points in your circuit. The software turns your PC into an "oscilloscope" so that you can "see" the electrical activity between any two points in your circuit. I have yet to fully learn and appreciate the value of the oscilloscope.

For teenagers, there is a Snap Circuit 500. I believe it features more components and more complex circuits for about [item price].

WARNING: PLEASE READ UP ON BASIC ELECTRICITY AND EXPLAIN THE PRINCIPLES TO YOUR CHILD. MY SON CONNECTED THE POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE POLES OF THE POWER SUPPLY FOR ONLY 5-7 SECONDS - THE BATTERY HEATED UP AND POPPED INTO HIS HAND. DID NOT BURN, BUT TAUGHT A VALUABLE LESSON - TO ME!! I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THE TIME TO EXPLAIN BASIC ELECTRICITY TO HIM. THOSE 2 AA BATTERIES REALLY HEATED UP!!

IF YOU ARE GOING TO BUY ONLY ONE TOY THIS YEAR - YOU JUST FOUND IT!
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on February 6, 2004
My 5 year old son has an interest in how things work and likes to "experiment." We go this as a first step toward learning about electricity, and it has not disappointed.
The projects range from fast simple ones (can get a light bulb and a switch going in a minute or so) to more elaborate more interesting ones (we actually built a working AM radio).
There are endless projects in the book with easy to follow directions on how to put them together.
The "snap" mechanism for connecting components is extremely clever -- it eliminates the challenges of bad connections on wiring boards I grew up with. The snaps are a little hard for a 5 year old to push close, so I find myself helping on them -- although the kit is aimed for somewhat older kids anyway.
Only "complaint" I have is that they could have put a couple educational points about how the circuit is working in the book near each circuit -- to spell out the "learnings" of each project.
Overall though, this is definitely one of the best science kits of any type that I've seen, and absolutely worth the investment.
0Comment|226 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
What parent today doesn't lament that they just don't make toys like they used to? Toys break prematurely, they underdeliver on their promise of fun, and they simply don't engage kids like the stuff we grew up with.

Not Snap Circuits!

I ordered this for my six-year-old son and we've loved every second of playing with this educational toy.

What makes it stand out?

1. Exceptionally good building instruction manuals. With clear directions in full-color, the two large manuals included with the SC-300 kit are perhaps the best manuals I've seen for anything I've ever purchased. They lay out all the projects possible with the kit and also the principles that govern how the projects work.

2. Rugged construction pieces. The electronics of the kit come attached to thick slabs of plastic which have spring-loaded button-snap connectors (as found on clothing) on the backside. Each piece is clearly marked, especially so for those electronics that attach in one specific current direction. The kit should last for a long time.

3. Clever construction system. The button-snap connectors are pure genius. Most of us parents know the electronic kits with spring terminals, but the snap system here outshines the kind we grew up with.

4. Three hundred projects in the SC-300 kit. Plenty of projects to keep the kids occupied on rainy summer days. I wish I'd had a kit this nice as a kid!

5. Good mix of electronics. A nice range of resistors, capacitors, ICs, and special function electronics, including photo sensors, speakers, sound sensors, motors, microphones, etc.

6. Superb value. Rarely can you buy a children's toy and get the feeling you truly received what you paid for. This kit's worth every dime--and then some.

About the only negative in this kit comes from knowing larger, even more complex Snap Circuit kits exist! You can never buy one large enough.

In short, if you've got a child interested in electronics, consider this a must-have. And even if your child's not showing that interest yet, this kit might be all they need to discover their inner electrical engineer.

My son and I love Snap Circuits. You will, too.
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on December 28, 2002
My 9 year old nephew opened the box and within 5 minutes had completed 2 experiments and learned the meanings of open and closed circuits and the necessity of a complete circuit. The parts snap together. The directions are clear and easily followed. The pieces all fit. So far the favorite is the flying saucer launcher. In the past, the problem with electrical projects was the difficulty of making all the connections good at the same time. This kit eliminates that issue. My nephew was excited. The whole family was impressed. Wow!
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on December 26, 2009
We received this set as a gift for our son. Although it seems to be well built I haven't found anything that teaches the child what it is they are working with. There are numerous components that you assemble on a plastic peg board according to a picture diagram. There is a brief explanation of what you are making but nothing describes how the components are interacting in the circuit. It's kind of like Legos where you look at the picture and your collection of components to mimic what it is you're supposed to be building. If all the componets are working (we had one that wasn't) and you assembled it correctly... what? You haven't really learned anything except how to follow a picture diagram.

We have issues with the peg board and snap components. As you assemble, the tension can be enough to cause some of the snap-on components to pop off. Every so often you have to stop and check all of the connections, snapping them back to the board or each other.

The set is beautiful and well ordered but my son lost interest very quickly. I worked with it for a while and found it had a bad capacitor component, although it looks perfectly OK. When used in any of the circuits it causes odd results, which was frustrating for my son. The slide resistor works but is not smooth, also affecting experiments.

I think any child over 12 will be bored with this model SC-300.
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on June 23, 2009
i brought this kit over 1 month ago. i put them on high shelf. my sons (5 and 7) have been looking at the box for a long time. one day i need to do lots of house work so i took it out and they played it for hours. then i also found out, this kit is not enough for both so i had to get the extreme kit.
i love this because they can experience different kind of connections. this is a good way to stay away from tv.
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on May 29, 2009
Our 9 y.o. made a few projects the first day, and radio the next day he received the kit. He doesn't want to take it apart. He carries it around the house and listens to his radio when he is home. He puts it on the night stand when he goes to bed, he turns it on first thing in the morning. It replaced all his toys, he runs to his radio when he gets back home from school. I was afraid this set would be too difficult for him to get started, but it's not. I wish I bought more challenging set. He made everything by himself without any help. We are ready for the upgrade kit. Buy it, this is probably one of the best toys we ever bought for our son. All projects worked fine. He had problems with some. He was sure he made them correctly but after tweaking around and replacing 1-2 circuits, he made it work. Thank you amazon for offering it and special thank you to everyone for great reviews, they do not lie.
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on September 11, 2007
Our 12 year old son loves to build things, and to learn how things work.

So for his upcoming 13th birthday, I purchased the Snap Circuits SC-300 product to give him an educational toy where he can learn about electricity and electric circuits.

Normally I don't open packages in advance of giving the gift, but since our son is so hands on, I wanted to try out the product myself so that when we sit down together, I know what he's doing.

I tried about a dozen of the 300+ projects finding the directions very easy to follow; and it is fascinating to see (at least on a very elementary level) how electronic circuits are built.

While the projects do include experiments (variations of a project), what I did find lacking was the explanation of why certain parts were done in the order required.

I rated the fun value as a 5 as a number of the projects are not only fun for kids, but I had fun with them as well; but the educational value is lower than what I had hoped, and therefore rated 3 stars.

Thus stated, I still recommend this product as an educational toy with the understanding that some of the education has to come outside of the product itself.
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on January 15, 2007
My 7 yo son received Snap Circuits SC-300 for Christmas and loves it!

The step by step written/picture instructions are very easy to read and easy to comprehend for him. He is able to go off by himself and put together some very clever items! The radio circuit he built has him over the moon! With this circuit he was able to listen to Sports Center on this radio circuit! He is so proud of himself b/c he built everything entirely himself.
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on November 26, 2002
This toy is wonderful. It has alowed my entire family from 10 years to 80 years to have fun together. We have built soo many different projects. The best was building the Radio. It actually worked on the first try.
I love this and now I am trying to build my own projects.
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