Unique hands-on concept
Strong educational value
Small and easy to store
Includes small pieces
Batteries are required
May be too complex for some kids
The Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Exploration Kit has received more than a few Toy of the Year nods recently, so we wanted to see for ourselves what all the hype was about. We gave this STEM toy (which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to our kids to see if the hands-on projects were easy to follow, engaging, and educational.
Design: Neat and tidy
Despite having over 100 experiments, Snap Circuits Jr. actually takes up minimal space. The main circuit board is only slightly larger than a piece of loose leaf paper, and nearly all of the included components are about the size of a matchbox car. We especially like that the neatly designed packaging allows everything to be easily stowed away.
The pieces are well made, including the surprisingly sturdy plastic base, which seemed resilient enough to withstand some abuse. One downside is that the kit requires two AA batteries, which aren’t included. If you’re giving this as a gift, make sure you buy those before you start wrapping.
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Educational Value: Strong and smart
While the setup is simple, nothing about this kit is dumbed down. With words like “conductors” and “diodes” woven into the instructions, our kids picked up on the technical terms right from the start—though they did need some initial guidance to introduce them to the concept of circuits. We found that following the instructions was particularly important for them to understand the kit fully.
While the setup is simple, nothing about this kit is dumbed down.
By following the simple, color-coded maps in the manual and snapping the pieces on the plastic pegboard, our kids got a real-life lesson in how electric currents work. The experiments, if done correctly, turn on a light with a switch, power a mini propeller, and more.
Entertainment Value: Excellent
Our kids tinkered away for an hour straight after we opened the box, then later requested even more playtime—and there was plenty to do! Because kids can create their own designs after they’ve gone through all of the experiments, there’s more to do beyond the pages of the manual, which adds a lot of value to this kit.
Age Range: Eight years and up is best
With a cheeky recommendation of “ages 8-108,” the Electronics Exploration Kit implies that it will indeed entertain a wide age range. However, younger kids, like our 8-year-old daughter, may need more hand-holding while following the instructions. Meanwhile, our 10-year-old son flew through all the experiments in the packet before freestyling with his own electronic designs.
Though the idea of playing with electricity puts most parents on edge, rest assured that your kids will be able to safely and easily explore how electricity moves in a circuit with this kit. The Snap Circuits line of toys uses a patented method—something it calls Fuse Technology—to minimize risk and keep kids safe when working with circuits.
Learn more about choosing age-appropriate toys for kids.
Ease of Cleaning: It’s a snap
Despite the vast number of projects that this one kit includes, there weren’t a lot of little pieces that risked turning our house into a mess. Plus, we liked how the molded plastic liner inside the box gave us a place for every part.
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With a super-reasonable price point of around $35, you truly get a bang for your buck considering the kit’s enduring entertainment and educational value. Other circuit kits for kids run the gamut between cheap and expensive, so this set hits the sweet spot.
Snap Circuits Jr. Electronics Exploration Kit vs. SmartLab Toys Smart Circuits Games & Gadgets Electronics Lab
The Smart Circuits Games & Gadgets Electronics Lab offers more bells and whistles than the Electronics Exploration Kit—kids can complete circuits to power an electronic drum kit and a “Magic Message Wand,” among other gadgets.
But the former has just 50 circuit builds versus Snap Circuit Jr.’s 100 (plus, you can purchase upgrade kits that work with Snap Circuit Jr.’s original components for extra fun). So, when it comes to keeping kids occupied, there’s likely more longevity with the simpler Snap Circuits Jr. set.
- Product Name Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Exploration Kit
- Product Brand Elenco
- Price $34.99
- Weight 2 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 10 x 2 x 15 in.
- UPC 756619002415
- Required battery 2 AA batteries, not included
- Warranty 2 years for both parts and labor
- Manufacturer Recommended Age Range 8+
- What's Included 30 components