My son Jimmy has loved working with Snap Circuits building kits for the last two years. Kids who like to tinker and to try to understand how their electronic gadgets work will love Snap Circuits just like he does.
Snap Circuits kits are on sale at a significant discount for the Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2014 sales at Amazon.com, which makes it a great time to pick up a set as a holiday gift.
The Snap Circuits SC-300, which is a set that can be used to build over 300 different electronics projects, is one of the larger sets of Snap Circuits. I'd recommend buying this set rather than a smaller one, if you are certain that your son or daughter will enjoy it.
The way Snap Circuits work is that kids begin with sets of discrete Integrated Circuits (ICs), which can be connected together with switches, buttons, wires, and sound and light sensors to form electronic machines that respond to your activity. For instance, you can build a kit that launches a small plastic spinner whenever you press and release an electronic button switch.
Jimmy first got the smaller Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 kit, which was a great introduction to electronic kits. But the SC-100 only comes with 30 electronic parts, and as a result, can be used to build a smaller range of projects that each incorporate a smaller set of parts.
The SC-300 includes 60 electronic parts and can be used to assemble projects like lamps and fans, two speed fans, doorbells, motion alarms, simple logic circuits such as ANDs and ORs, and water-based alarms.
We probably play with Jimmy's Snap Circuits kits once or twice a week. This is a great amount of use for an assembly kit that cost less than $60.
Snap Circuits have won The National Parenting Center-Seal of Approval, and are members of the Dr. Toy 100 Best Children's Products and Dr Toy Best Educational Products lists.