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on January 1, 2009
This kit is rather overpriced, in my opinion. The accompanying book is extremely skimpy. The components are cheap. The LED doesn't work and the buzzer doesn't work. (Yes, we tried connecting in both directions. And I've done this before with other kits, and have gotten LEDs and buzzers to work, so this isn't a lack of knowledge on my part.)

Age-wise, this is at best suitable for a 5 or 6 year old. It doesn't offer enough for my 7 year old.

I'd recommend getting an electricity kit from Snap Circuit instead. They come in a wide price range. Even the simplest is a bit more expensive than this kit, but they're far superior in terms of fun, durability, and educational value.
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on January 12, 2009
My 6 yr old received this as a gift, and it was possibly one of his favorite gifts. The book was very elementary so he could read it. We had to help him ensure good connections to the battery, but then he could do most everything else himself. Some of the connectors were a little too short to actually hook the alligator clips to, but he understood he only had to touch the connectors to make the components work, they didn't have to be attached. Agreed with others: the LED does not work with one D cell - ours required lining up 2 D cells to produce a noticeable light. All the other components worked for us.

{Additional note: Our son later received the "Snap Circuits" SC-300 set. It completely blows away this "beginner set". I'd highly recommend taking a look at that one if you're looking for a set that's going to keep a child's interest longer.}
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on November 7, 2007
We got this for my 5-year-old son for his birthday, and he absolutely loved it. He wanted to linger on each activity for hours before moving on to the next one. The book isn't a complete textbook on electricity; it's meant for young kids, but that was exactly what we wanted. When he's a little older we'll get him something more complex and he'll understand it much better having started with this kit.
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on December 16, 2006
I bought this for my friend's 6 year-old daughter, and she was intense on wanting to get through everything in one night. It took about 2 hours each night for 4 nights to get through the whole set of experiments. Although the book was not engrossing, it was interesting and provided enough guidance that the daughter's parents and I were able to show her how to do the basic assembly of the different battery-powered experiments, and then she was able to complete them herself. It continues to be brought out and re-experimented with...
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on March 2, 2012
I purchased this toy, along with the Physics kit, for my 8-year-old nephew for Christmas. He loves anything to do with Science and this was one of his picks. My son was so disappointed when he didn't get one, so now I have one added to my list for him for his birthday.

It was educational and fun. A perfect gift for any curious child interested in how things work.
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on October 15, 2012
Very inexpensive -- but my daughter loved it. Got this to reinforce the electricity unit she was doing for school in science class. The materials are flimsy -- but you get what you pay for. Instructions were good enough for my 4th grader to follow.
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on March 25, 2012
My son received this kit last year for his 6th birthday. Initially we worked through all of the experiments with him in order -- he loved every one and was so thrilled when each one worked as it should. Since then he has repeatedly pulled this out to play with different parts of it; he can manage the experiments on his own quite well. We've been really pleased with it, and he just asked for more kits in the series for his 7th birthday!
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on September 20, 2007
My son got this kit when he was 5 years old and now he is 6. We come back to the kit every so often to try it out again. Its great to see what he can do and what he understands as time goes on. And he *loves* it. The book is simple, but its all you need. The fun is in the hands-on approach to science. I totally recommend this kit because it's not only fun, but reusable, unlike alot of kits that have a one-time lifespan.
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on June 11, 2014
Maybe I'm stupid, but it seems really difficult to find anything significant about these ScienceWiz kits online before buying them. Unlike Elenco, Norman & Globus don't make their manuals freely available and even complete parts lists are hard to come by. To add to that, while there are many reviews, most of these say something to the effect of "I bought this for my *-year-old and he/she likes it." Well that's good for your child, but it doesn't help the rest of us since children are wildly different even at the same age.

With those things in mind, here I want to a) list exactly what's included, b) list the included experiments/activities, and c) give some suggestions you can do to improve the kit. With this information you should be able to determine for yourself whether this is an appropriate product to buy for a child in your life.

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Recommended age: 5-10

8-10 may be pushing it as the activities are fairly basic. Children of this age may get more out of a Snap Circuits set or spring-contact learning lab. This seems to be more appropriate for children from 5-7. In fact, I bought it for my 6-year-old niece.

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Parts included:

Popsicle stick
Aluminum foil
2 paperclips (one for conductivity testing, the other to make a switch)
Small rubber band (for conductivity testing)
Large rubber band (for holding clips to battery terminals)
4 pairs of alligator clips (red, white, green, yellow)
Plastic base with glass incandescent bulb (the bulb is shielded by plastic to make it safe for children)
1.5 V motor
Shiny foil pinwheel
Paper cutout wheels (for coloring and using in place of the pinwheel)
Cardboard (for switch base)
2 brass fasteners (for switch terminals)
Stretchable cloth loop
Piezoelectric buzzer
Red LED

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You supply:

1, 1.5 V "D" battery

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Manual:

The included manual begins by introducing the reader to the concept of a circuit, although this word is never used in the book. Instead, "loops" are dwelled upon. The child is asked to visually trace the flow of electricity through a simple light bulb circuit. Then the child is instructed to actually build the circuit.

Next, the motor is introduced and connected to the battery. The child can attach the pinwheel to the motor and is encouraged to color and attach the included paper wheels. Examples of motors in everyday items are given.

The battery is introduced and a page warns the reader never to short both terminals. Loads and open/closed circuits are demonstrated.

A switch is constructed from a paperclip and brass fasteners and this is used with the buzzer to send Morse code messages.

The reader is encouraged to test both the included items and those found around the house to determine whether they're conductors or insulators.

Series and parallel circuits are introduced by encouraging the reader to hook up loads both ways.

Word search, word scramble, and crossword puzzles are given at the end, using the electrical terminology encountered throughout the book.

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Suggestions:

A few reviewers have noted receiving non-working LEDs. While this may be the case, it's possible that the LEDs were so dim as to seem dead. 1.5 V is generally not enough to run an LED, even when connected directly to the battery. To fix this, I've altered the set to use two 1.5 V "AA" batteries (via a holder) and included a 220 Ohm resistor. I've also included a few more colors of LED besides the included red one. This not only provides a more exciting light show, but also invites an explanation of electrical resistance, an important concept that I'm surprised was left out of the kit.

As noted by other reviewers, the motor contacts are very tiny and can easily snapped off by alligator clips. I soldered two stranded wires a few inches long to the contacts to avoid damage.

While I didn't build the included paperclip switch, and thus can't rate its fragility, I included a spare SPDT switch I had lying around. Then after the experimenter learns about how the switch works, she can swap in a sturdier and, admittedly, much cooler-looking switch for controlling each of the included loads. This is a good way to show how switches on everyday devices work on a basic level.

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My niece and I have already used the ScienceWiz Chemistry kit and had quite a bit of fun with it. I hope the same will be true of the Electricity kit and Physics kit (which I'll be reviewing shortly). While this kit could be priced lower for what it includes, I feel it's one of the best items available for introducing the 5-7 crowd to electrical concepts. It should provide a great foundation for moving onto the aforementioned Snap Circuits or spring-contact learning labs for the 8-10 learner.
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on April 26, 2012
I don't know if the product I received was someone's else's reject and the company who sold it just didn't care or the product is made so cheaply that several of the items did not work and the others stopped functioning shortly thereafter. It's my opinion that this kit is a good idea for young children to learn about electricity because the manual is well written and has very descriptive diagrams. However, the parts are cheap junk and you are better off going to Radio Shack (which is what I had to do)and purchase parts that are well made and that function. Otherwise you will be spending $25 for a well written manual. I'd like a kit that works or my money returned. Two thumbs down for this loser of a product.
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