I can not say enough good things about the Elenco Snap Circuit set that we own. I bought it as a birthday gift for my oldest son when he was eleven and it fast became one of his favorite toys. He could play with it for hours. It has now been passed on to the younger kids and they can’t get enough of it either. Everyone enjoys the set, but Ben (age 7) is the one that really loves it.
What’s in the Box?
Elenco has several different Snap Circuit sets and each one has different parts. There are a few basics that are in every box. There is a base plate to build on, circuit pieces of varying lengths and sizes, and special pieces that do different things such as light up or make noise. Right now we have the SC-300 Discovery Kit. It has over 60 parts and an instruction booklet containing over 300 projects that can be built. So far both Ben’s and Corey’s favorite thing to build was the radio.
Why are Snap Circuits so Awesome?
The best part of the Snap Circuits toy is the snapping mechanism. The snaps work just like the ones found on clothing and are easy for even the smallest kids to assemble without any pinched fingers. The circuits are contained within the plastic pieces that snap together with the metal snaps allowing them to conduct electricity. The set can then be run on battery power or plugged in with the optional Snap Circuits Battery Eliminator. Each set has hundreds of different configurations that can be built from the instructions, and kids can also create their own once they understand the principles. Another great thing about Snap Circuits as that they are very sturdy. Officially only kids who are able to read are allowed to play with them in our house. Of course this hasn’t stopped the littler ones from snatching pieces or touching when older kids are using them. After 4 years of use and having been packed up and moved 3 times we have never had a single piece break.
Are there any downsides?
Of course no product is perfect and just like everything else Snap Circuits do have a few disadvantages. First off only one project can be built at a time. Many of the projects require you to use most of the parts in the box so it is pretty much impossible to build more than one circuit at time. Plus each kit has only one power source, so even if you could build two circuits you wouldn’t be able to power both of them. Second if your child can not read the instructions then it takes quite a bit of hands on help form a parent or older sibling. This isn’t’ as big of a deal for most families, but in a large family like ours I really like to have things that kids can work on independently when needed. This isn’t an issue with the older kids of course, hence our rule that you have to be able to read to get out the Snap Circuits.
The Snap Circuit Kits
As I said above we have the Snap Circuit SC-300 Discovery Kit. They also have two smaller kits (SC-100 and beginner) as well as two that are larger (SC-500 and SC-750). In addition to the basic discovery kits Elenco has come out with several new specialized kits since we purchased the basic kit four years ago. Here are the ones that are at the top of my wish list for expanding our collection.
Should You Invest in Snap Circuits?
Of course every child and family is different, but if you’re asking me my answer is a resounding YES! If you have a child that is even slightly interested in the science of electricity they will love Snap Circuits. If you’re lucky you’ll get 6 hours straight of independent play from this toy like I have!
Do you have any of the Snap Circuit sets on my wish list? I’d love to hear your opinion of them to help me choose which ones to buy first! Do you have any other similar toys such as circuit scribe or littleBits? I would love to hear your reviews on those as well!