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on December 13, 2015
I purchased this as a gift for a clever 6 year old, although I know the box says 8-108. The idea was to show her how it worked to see if she had any interest in electronics. I was concerned it wouldn't maintain her attention, so before gifting it my partner and I decided to try it out so that we could explain it to her. We both have Masters degrees, and his is in engineering, so we figured it would be a piece of cake. He also played with similar, though much more complex kits, beginning at the age of 9 (but he was far more advanced in engineering skills than his peers) and had a blast.

While using the kit, I was trying to look at it from the average kid's perspective.

The first thing we noticed about the kit, especially for me considering I wasn't really exposed to circuits as a child aside from a brief period in junior high, was that for the most part you couldn't just look at the pieces as a newb and understand what they were. They have symbols like "U1, U2, U3, WC, S1, SP, R1...". It would have been extremely helpful if the resistor, for example, was actually labeled "RESISTOR". Page 2 is incredibly useful since it names each piece.

The kit seems to assume you have some basic understanding of circuits before you even get going. For me I like to jump in and try things out; learn as I go. I despise manuals. With this kit however, you really need to take the time to read the manual, especially since a wrong arrangement can actually short out some of the pieces. If you have an inpatient kid or one without great reading skills you'll need to help them with this. I've attached some photos so you can see the complexity of the manual. There is a lot of really good info in there if you are willing to take the time to read it. It's 45 pages in length.

We worked through several configurations together, and then started to feel like there was too much redundancy. A new configuration would often just be the replacement of a particular piece, or it would involve taking two configurations and linking them together. After going through maybe 6-8 different configurations (and believe me, those would be pretty cool for someone who had never worked with circuits before) we stopped, because flipping through the book we found we weren't seeing a whole lot of additional variety.

The plastic base seems well made and although I feared I would crack it as I popped the pieces in place, I didn't. I did find it difficult to pull some of the pieces apart after they were snapped together (literally had to use my teeth on more than one occasion).

All in all, this is a very high quality kit, though somewhat limited it what it can do. I think something like this would have been great when I was just starting to learn circuits in the 7th grade. To get the full value you need to not only follow the circuit configurations to achieve a certain output (fan, dimmed light, siren) but also really read and understand why certain things are happening and how each unique piece contributes to that.

I'd recommend this for your budding 8-year old junior engineer, or purchase it for your ~12-year old when they start learning about this sort of thing in school. It makes for a great hands-on activity to supplement school learning. I wish I had something similar. For the price it's a deal. I doubt it would keep my 6-year old niece's attention, even if we worked through it with her, but we'll hold on to it to see how she progresses over time and will share it with other kids we know as it makes sense to.
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on January 7, 2015
As a kid (more years ago than I care to admit) I played with the Phillips electronics set; it came with multiple values of resistors, capacitors, inductors, a few transistors, switches, and wires, instructions to make about 30 different circuits and a booklet which explained how and why things worked. That set has been off-the-market for ages, so reading that this set allows a child to build 100 circuits made me curious. I bought it for my kids and after opening the box had to realize that it is just advertising hoopla.
Your reaction to this set will depend on what you expect. If you are pleasantly surprised at connecting a few terminals and having something that works, this is the toy for your child. If you hope it will teach at least elementary electronics, you (like me) will be disappointed
I will list first the positives:
1) my 9-years-old child took to it like fire to straw; in the first 24 hours since opening the box (including one full day of school) he has blazed without help through about 2/3 of the projects, and shows no sign of getting bored. The 6 years old one, instead, shows no interest.
2) all components worked
3) the molded-plastic box liner helps keep the pieces neatly organized and identify what might have been dropped on the floor and risks being forgotten at the end of the play session.
And for the negatives:
1) There are maybe 15 basic circuits here, and multiple variations on each one. Example: a circuit will allow you to turn on a light by clapping your hands, and another circuit will allow you to start a siren by clapping your hands. The manufacturer counts those as two different circuits, even though the only (minuscule difference) is using as output the light bulb vs. the speaker component. Do not expect anywhere near the level of fun that "over 100 exciting projects" could provide.
2) Most of the elements provided are (really) just a glorified piece of copper wire of various lengths. There is two IC, a couple switches, an input and output unit each for sound and light, a DC motor, a battery holder; the rest could be replaced with unbent paperclips, and nobody would be the wiser. For over $20 I would have hoped to get more than a couple dollars' worth of components.
3) The instructions are erector-set-like: you are vaguely told what the circuit is supposed to do and given a picture representation of what it should look like. There is no discussion/explanation of why it should work as planned, or what each component does. The one control IC is provided in a sealed opaque box with unlabeled terminals and no description of what other circuitry might be embedded inside the plastic case.
4) The microphone is extremely insensitive. On circuits which are triggered by sound you get better/faster/repeatible response by hitting the IC component that by making noise near the sensor (microphone).

Summary: out-of-the box this seems a construction set (think Lego City) with electricity. If left alone with the toy a child will learn how to connect the pieces and follow instructions, and little more. A child left with the toy will not understand electricity and electronic any better than a child without the toy unless he/she has also access to a DMM or (preferably) an oscilloscope and a relative showing what happens to the voltages and waveforms when different terminals are connected on the ICs .

I would definitely recommend this toy before a playstation, but want to believe there are better products out there.
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on November 11, 2017
I bought this for my 5 and 6 year old granddaughters. They just loved it! It was the perfect starter kit, not too big to be overwhelming with too many parts and projects, but big enough to be engaging. They learned how to put things together on the grid board and to put the pieces away in the proper space. A couple of months later I bought a bigger kit. Without having started with the smaller kit, the big one would have been too frustrating. So, start with the little one unless your child is the recommended 8+. The junior kit easily and quickly gets younger children ready to use the bigger ones. Another great aspect of these kits is the replacement policy. This I didn't know until I was looking for another kit last week. The girls must have broken the connection to the lights on the fan blade in the junior kit- they liked stopping it when it was moving. The fan worked, just not the lights. When I read a review last week, someone mentioned the great replacement policy. Took a minute to fill out form, new part arrived 4 days later!
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on May 15, 2016
These Snap Circuit sets have been recommended to me by other involved parents since my son entered preschool. At first I was resistant to buying one of these circuit sets for him for the reasons below but eventually I decided to order one and then let my son experiment without saying anything just to observe his interest and learning curve. Over the past few months or so, my son has worked through perhaps 50 of the circuits (although, most children could build all the circuits in the manual in a few weeks if they so desired) and enjoys seeing what the next project will entail. As I have watched him put together the circuits and experiment, I have formed two different opinions about the Snap Circuit sets, with one centered on using the Snap Circuits set to introduce circuits to small children and the other detailing the actual learning of basic circuit principles.

With regards to getting children interested in circuits and making simple circuits, I give the Snap Circuits sets five stars. The kits are well laid out and properly labeled. The components are nice and bright and appealing to small minds and eyes. The components are made so they easily snap on to each other and many given circuits can be snapped together in under three minutes or so. The instruction manuals are pretty easy to understand and can be followed almost all children. Because of the manner in which the components are built, doing any of the projects is simply a matter of looking at the diagram in the manual and then snapping in the right components to the base plastic background frame (think of it as a child's version of the breadboard). Immediately children can be up and running with simple lighting circuits, fan circuits, speaker circuits, etc.... They receive a very visceral feeling of accomplishment from touching the circuit and seeing what it can do (seeing a fan spin or a speaker make unusual tones). That feeling of being able to put something together and then have it work is magic to little kids and is the strong point of the Snap Circuits sets.

With regards to actually teaching your child about the principles behind electric circuits and why they work in the manner they do, I would give Snap Circuits roughly two stars. That is because real circuits are based on basic electrical principles of voltage, current, resistance, wattage, etc... and require the mathematical tools from simple algebra up to differential equations and complex variables to fully "get it". For example, in the manual, you do get to build a simple charging circuit with a capacitor but the manual only gives a few sentences as to how the capacitor stores and releases charge. They do not explain anything in detail about how a time constant is derived or the importance of differential equations in relation to truly understanding the time constant. Nowhere in my son's manual is the most basic equation of electrical circuits even mentioned (V=IR, voltage equals current times resistance). So the reader is not exposed to the basic fundamental physical and mathematical relations that are critically important to circuit construction. That means that the Snap Circuit sets are essentially LEGOs, that allow children of average ability or above to blindly snap together a circuit without having any idea what a resistor is doing for the circuit or why a capacitor is needed in a particular location. So a child could easily over the course of a month snap together dozens of circuits but then if you ask that child, What is a transistor and how does it work?, you are likely to be met with a blank stare. Another small ding against Snap Circuits is their use of several integrated circuits (ICs) that to children seem like one simple component (for example, the blue Music IC which makes sounds and tones) when in fact ICs are often extremely complex combinations of dozens to thousands of simpler circuit components.

Therefore, I am a bit torn as to how to rate these Snap Circuit kits. Overall, I feel they do a great job of getting small children immediately involved hands on and giving them a sense of accomplishment. The Snap Circuit kits are also far easier than other hobbyist kits for getting kids into circuits and electricity in general. That said, I think the rightful place of the Snap Circuit sets is as an introductory primer that can set the stage for them to advance to a little bit more adult circuit setup (like the Elenco 300 in 1 Electronic Project Lab). So that a child can use these Snap Circuits from say age 6 to 8 and then transition to real breadboard circuits at age 9 to 12 as their ability to understand the underlying mathematical and physical principles advance. Overall I would give these kits four stars and think they are great for smaller children. However as your child advances and especially if they become interested in why a circuit works as it does, then you will likely find yourself seeking out a more advanced hobbyist set (and some mathematics and physics books as well).
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on February 16, 2017
My 5-year old has worked through the first 30 experiments. I helped him figure it out, and once he got the logic of the diagrams, it was all over. Occasionally I have to troubleshoot a circuit, but for the most part, this is a great tool to support STEM education. Just enough lights/noises/motion to make him laugh, and challenging enough that he keeps coming back to it. I will say that you need to work through the first several diagrams and explain it, esp if your kid can't read at a a minimum 3rd grade level. The instructions are somewhat technical, so take your time to read through it before you start putting pieces together, and then use the different "exercises" to teach the point that the toy-maker imparts for each lesson. I expect we will be playing with this game for a long time... Even redoing the easier exercises and learning things that were hard to grasp the first time. Solid, well built components that can stand up to "enthusiastic" handling.
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on June 23, 2017
This electronics set is THE BOMB! Although the suggested minimum age is eight, my 4-year-old grandson loves it, is pretty good at following the diagrams to help me build each experiment, and has quickly grasped the concept of flow of current. Okay, he's pretty bright for his age. If you have a very bright/curious child under eight consider this. He even hypothesized once what would happen if we tried something different.

At any rate, the experiments are pretty easy to build and the booklet explains the purpose of the experiment and what is happening. I re-explain it in easier terms for the 4-year-old.

This set is build very well, is bright and colorful, and educates while providing fun.

I can't recommend this enough. Buy it! I've given this as a gift to several of my great-nieces and great-nephews and they ALL love it!
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on October 30, 2015
We bought this for my son for his birthday and hid it in the closet until this past weekend for him to open. We tried building circuits using the spinning propeller circuit and the piece is defective and doesn't spin. The item is now past the 30 day return so we are stuck with a set where he cannot fully use the circuits. Very frustrating because it is a cool concept.
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Top Contributor: Cyclingon January 5, 2018
Our seven and a half year old loves this SC-100 kit. It is easy to identify the pieces, and follow the excellent user manual that takes you through each project. The box functions as great storage for the kit when not in use. This has been a very intuitive gift for our daughter, who has no problems following the instructions by herself. She takes great joy in completing each project and checking them off in the manual. We gave the SC-300 kit to hr cousin for Christmas, and I was so impressed with it we're giving it to our kid for her birthday in May.

If you're on the fence about purchasing the SC-100 versus the SC-300, I would say get the 300 if it will be the only gift for the child and it fits within your budget. However, if you're giving multiple gifts to the child, or gifting multiple children then the 100 provides enough variation in projects to keep the kids well entertained.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon April 29, 2017
What I like:
-the wide age group. I've used it with young kids and older adults...who all think it is fine!
-Different colored parts to help with assembly
-wide variety of projects
-ease of "snapping" items together
-bigger instruction manual which outlines what is occurring in the circuits.
-provides many opportunities to learn
-materials appear well-made and fairly durable
-takes 2 AA batteries (some other kits require batteries that I don't have around the house)
-easy to clean up

What I don't like: *note these are super nit-picky and very minor*
-the box does not fold together easily. The opening on the side is awkward and makes it difficult to completely close or open (if its closed all the way). I usually just leave it partially closed, because the parts are tight enough in the box they usually don't fall out (though they have fallen out once or twice) when I went to grab it for the next time.
-there are no step-by-step directions. It does come with a picture which you can use to build the items, but I use this sometimes in therapy and would have appreciated a breakdown of instructions for those who have difficulty assembling things without instructions (however; I have just been typing up my own by using the picture, so it is not a big deal, just something to note).

-very pleased!
-would highly recommend
-fun for adults and for kids!
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on March 31, 2016
This is an ingenious educational and fun toy. I purchased it for my 7 year old son and it is now his "go to" toy. He will focus on this for hours at a time. Not only does he love it, but so does my husband! It is fun to watch them enjoy working on a project alone and together. I've even done a couple! Inside the box are 30 parts and a colorful instruction manual with 100 projects that is very easy to follow. With each project ( or experiment) there is an objective. The components snap together and can easily be taken apart, and there are no dangerous wires. The parts are color-coded, and clearly marked, so they are easy to identify! We can't wait to upgrade our kit for more fun! (Oh yeah, and learning!)
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