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on December 12, 2015
If you're wondering what to buy your child this year that is not another toy or video game, consider Snap Circuits. Elementary schools in my area have introduced them as part of their STEM curriculum and they have been a hit with the students as they are able to create all sorts of projects, including alarms, fans, lamps, AM radio, doorbells, special sound and light effects, etc. I will compare it to Little Bits and Lego Mindstorm below.

There are materials and training out there to build more elaborate toys that could potentially get your child a Science Fair prize, but if you're looking for something affordable that doesn't require an advance degree, allows kids to have fun on their own and spend hours tinkering with, you'll soon find that the Snap Circuits 750 sets is the best investment. It is the one my child's school picked in the end for ease of use and because - let's face it - kids love it. A Top 10 Educational Toy award and a 5-star overall review speaks for itself.

Don't let the nondescript look and fancy name fool you - this is a high quality, five-star rated toy, voted one of the best of the year. You can buy smaller Snap Circuit sets with the individual manuals, but the price overall will be higher when you buy all five separately. Get the whole set instead - the SC-750 set is a bargain for the hours of fun this will bring your child and your family for years to come. This set includes the 5 easy-to-follow manuals of the smaller sets and all the parts needed to build 750 projects in all, in a sturdy carrying case to hold it all. It's for kids 8-15 but grown-ups love to help as well

This SC-750 set grows with your child. As a learning tool, the projects are meant to be done in some sequence, with each one explaining a part and what happens if you move this or that - at least in the beginning. We started working on the Jr (100) set which is the pink manual (1-101) when my son was five and he was able to do it with our help. Every step is explained, once you learn one project you move to the next and see what happens to a siren when you add a resistor, for example. The descriptions are kept short and to the point - for example, that the resistor lowers the volume.

One reviewer wished each part of each project was explained in detail each time. As one project builds on the knowledge from a previous project, it's impossible to explain what happens with each part in any one project. This would fill the page with tons of text. Rather, it's a gradual learning process and it's assumed that earlier projects have been done.

Four years later my son still loves it but is able to do it on his own, and is doing projects from other manuals. He can skip ahead too as the diagrams clearly show how to put all the parts together - though he might miss some explanations about the "why" of using each circuit part in a particular project if he doesn't do them in sequence. Not a big issue at this age where assembly-type toys with lots of parts are the norm.

My now nine-year old considers the R-750 set to be - in his words - awesome. Seeing how each varies intrigues him to no end. He's still fascinated with the set, more so now that he's also using them in school.

I've also had the opportunity to see other STEM toys in action. A month ago, Barnes and Noble hosted Mini Makers fairs in stores nationwide and one that was featured was Little Bits. It is probably more along the lines of more traditional circuits, where small components are put together to create alarm clocks and moving parts in legos. It is also exorbitantly expensive. Fortunately some libraries are investing thousands of dollars in buying these so you may soon be able to find them free of charge near you. It too ends up creating gizmos and gadgets, but for a lot of $$.

Today I covered another STEM event at a library, this time with Lego Mindstorm. A teacher helped students for two hours to build a Lego robot, starting with the base Mindstorm unit, programming it on a computer, setting up parameters for instructions to make the robot spin, turn lights on and off, etc. This class was free but if you decide to buy it on amazon, a Lego Mindstorm Kit is very expensive and only lets you do a handful of projects. Now the big "BUT" kids have a hard time doing these on their own which is why schools are bringing teachers to train them and companies - not schools, at least in my area - are doing after-school classes and summer camps just to learn how to use this Lego Mindstorm. If the teacher leaves, the kids are left with a bunch of technology they don't know how to use because it can be so complex.

In all, either as an introduction to circuits or simply as an assembly toy, it's a winner.
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on July 19, 2016
I originally gave this three stars because one of the switches broke; but after emailing their customer service department, they were awesome!!! They replaced the part for free and we're back in business. This kit and company are great, wish more businesses were like them!

(original review) Great kit and my son loves it, until one of the primary switches broke (S1). The snap came out of the back and now it won't work anymore. There is another switch, but its a push to turn on (and hold to keep it on) which isn't as much fun for him.
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on July 23, 2012
I don't write many reviews myself, but rely a lot on Amazon reviews for my purchase decisions. So here comes one of the very few reviews that I will write now or in future...

I was looking for some fun summer science projects for my daughter (8) and my son (6). Did plenty of research and asked around others to see if they had any recommendations. One suggestion was to introduce them to the concepts of electricity and electronics - now quest was for "how?" because I didn't want them to be soldering circuits and what not; I consider it to be too risky for young ones. Someone suggested the name "Snap Circuits" and told me that they spent $150 for this SC-750R kit. After a little bit of sticker shock, I was skeptical that I would spend that kind of money for a toy but needed a second opinion, so I went to a local RadioShack. They had one of the smaller kits in stock. The sales person on the floor was nice enough to give me good education and had lot of praises for these kits! I wanted to buy a kit from them even at a slightly higher price, but unfortunately they had only one entry level model available (price was comparable to Amazon), and couldn't tell me estimated cost or availability date for the higher end version. According to the sales guy... they didn't stock these because even when recommended, almost all parents pass this kit in favor of a car or some other junk toy that they end up buying for their kids!

Well, after reading reviews and looking at options on Amazon, I couldn't resist but to go for the best kit available thinking that this will be good for next 3 to 5 years as my kids go through the elementary school, so pulled the trigger and purchased this kit, along with Elenco Snap Circuits Battery Eliminator. Kit is made very well, and is very sturdy!

Now lets talk about how are my kids loving this kit... well, they each have already built some 8 or 10 projects in last 3 weeks including AM and FM radio. My 6 year old built an AM radio and after spinning the tuner wheel to tune to different radio stations and a little explanation by me of how it worked, he called it channel switcher and told me that he knows how television channels are switched... "it is filtering out some frequencies to tune to a different channel!!!" And yes, these are the exact words that came from a 6 year old after we spent 30 minutes together building an AM radio! My 8 year old builds projects whenever we have guests and shows these projects off to them (most projects are taking her 10 to 15 minutes at most)! I have told my kids that if they build one project per day every day, they have next two years worth of projects on hand!

This particular kit came with a Student Handbook among other things that explains concepts but we have not spent a whole lot of time reading it yet. I don't know what else can I expect from a toy or if I can even call this a toy! I am happy that I went for the best kit available - I might have to buy one of smaller kits now so that I have two base boards (plastic boards on which circuits are built) so that both my kids can do projects on their own instead of them having to take turns. That's a good problem to have, isn't it? :-).

Finally, at first glance the cost seemed very steep, but then I thought, a one week of summer camp costs $200 to $250 per child so, why not spend $150 on this kit and optimize on the cost of summer camps for one week and decision became very easy!
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on December 30, 2014
Really good buy. I saw all the single kits and decided on this one. This one is lots of those single kits all in one case. Cheaper that way. I really like the hard case it comes in. Keeps all the pieces safe and I don't end up with smashed or broken boxes from kid use. This set DOES NOT come with an AC adapter. I highly recommend purchasing the AC adapter so you don't have to go through a bunch of batteries. The ac adapter is a steal compared to how much batteries are. There is even an empty space in the case (on the bottom part of the case) just for the AC adapter. My 7 year old loves playing with these. We have a blast doing experiments together. Directions are easy to follow.

Whats included inside the case:

-Teacher Guide, 30 page book for models/kits SC-100R, SC-300R, SC-500R & SC-750R.(The SC-100R through SC-500R are kits you can purchase individually. The R does not show up after model/kit number on individual sets)
-Student Guide, 137 page book for models/kits SC-300R, SC-500R AND SC-750R.(The SC-300R through SC-750R are kits you can purchase individually. The R does not show up after model/kit number on individual sets)
-Experiments, 46 page instruction manual for experiments 1-101
-Projects, 74 page instruction manual for projects 102-305
-Projects, 62 page instruction manual for projects 306-511
-Projects, 86 page instruction manual for projects 512-692
-With computer interface, 58 page instruction manual, Model CI-73. Projects PC1-PC73
-With computer interface, software for your computer, Model CI-73. Experiments PC1-PC-73. (Requirements for computer: Windows 95 or later and a working microphone input port.)
-Complete snap circuit parts from kits SC100, SC300, SC500, & SC750.
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on October 11, 2014
This new product came unopened tightly wrapped in plastic. The manuals, software and parts were completely intact all accounted for. The projects are simple however, they afford progressive lessons at each project. The software functioned well though you cannot control the electronics but only sense their activity. I found this to be an excellent purchase for the beginner to advanced capabilities electronic enthusiast which the kit adequately can perform. Be sure to purchase the Elenco 110v adapter battery eliminator which the kit has provisions for storage.
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on September 27, 2017
What a fun way to learn the fundamentals of electricity and circuits.. learn to build many things like an oscilloscope ..
Components are well made and have held up good so far.
The case is nice to keep parts organized and accessable..
A must for young inquisitive minds
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on January 14, 2017
My girlfriend wants to learn electronics so I thought of buying her one of those traditional circuit labs with all the wires and spring clips. A wire and spring clip lab provides many more components in a given area, but the need to jumper wires back and forth can be confusing if you're working from a schematic diagram. A schematic diagram (as opposed to wiring diagram) is best for learning theory because it is easy to follow the current/signal flow through the circuit. When the kit arrived, I was very impressed by the quality of construction. The kit is well organized with little dead space. There is a good assortment of parts and there's even a way to interface the lab with your PC (I believe it's through the audio jack which explains the low frequency range response but it's a clever hack). The only downside I see to this kit is that it's best for leaning theory and you won't pick up much in the way of construction skills such as bread-boarding, wire routing, PCB fab, or soldering.
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on December 27, 2012
You could buy the separate components in smaller kits and have all of the supplies that are included, but then you'd pay a ton more for what is included here. This is a well made, hard shell kit that is well labeled and contains everything you need to explore the world of circuitry. This isn't a go it alone item as the instructional manuals are included and necessary to begin your exploration. Great news, the manuals are well written, easy to follow, and educational.

This set is used by schools in science classrooms to study electrical circuitry, and it's usually a "wow" item in the classroom. For a fairly modest investment ($110 - $120) you can own the set and inspire further work and play with this set.

I think the set is optimal starting in about 4th grade. Younger children can and will enjoy it, but I think the last two years of elementary school are the prime time to start with this set. They seem to have the patience to work through the books and understand why things work they way that they do.... you may see a bit more stick-to-it-iveness at these ages.

Adults will learn and have fun too. This makes for a great school vacation item or rainy/snowy weekend endeavor. The kit includes a vast array of experiments and projects that can be worked through relatively easily. Projects do not have to last longer then 30-45 minutes, but certainly can last far longer, if you want. Cleanup is a breeze becase the storage compartments are well marked. Everything has a place.

It's fun. It's educational. It's worth the investment. No, the hard shell black box isn't likely to achieve the oooohs and aaaaahs that some other gadget might receive on Christmas morning or at a birthday party, but think of it more as a mystery in a box, and over time, your youngerster's enjoyment and appreciation will increase.
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on April 1, 2016
This is a great kit. I bought it for my grandsons. Instructions are easy to follow. The kit keeps it well organized. The reasons for not giving it 5 stars:
- The oscilloscope software was written for Windows XP. Really?
- It claims 750 experiments. That is a bit of a stretch. So many of the experiments are variations on a theme. Make a circuit. Move a jumper to change a function and it is counted as a separate experiment.
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on May 30, 2015
This is the ultimate snap set. It has a spot for everything. It even has a spot to put the snap circut plug (sold separately), which replaces the need for buying batteries. This is a well designed case. It has great manuals (some for teachers and some for students). My 7 year old and 14 year old sons and my husband have enjoyed many hours building and creating with this. My 7 year old son loves that he can hook it up to his laptop. This was purchased formy 7 year old, but the whole family loves to design with it. I recommend this product.
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