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Snap Circuits Jr.

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Forget the soldering iron – Snap Circuits Jr. by Elenco is a colorful, completely tools-free circuit kit designed to safely teach your budding engineer about electricity and its amazing uses. Snap Cicuits Jr. uses low-voltage, low-amperage ‘AA’ batteries, and so it is completely safe – and more importantly, fun!

This kit boasts over 750 projects using a full range of electronic components: resistors, capacitors, wires, LEDS, and motors. The manual is color-coded (as are the 30 rugged plastic parts) and even though it’s written for kids, nothing is dumbed-down. This is a fun toy, but it’s also an intelligent teaching aid that uses proper terminology (ohms, voltage, and gate, or gate, etc) in the context of fun projects, like “laser sounds” and “space battle.”

The pieces are big enough to be easily handled by kids, and they snap soundly into the durable plastic board. Again, no tools are required, though you will need two ‘AA’ batteries, which are not included. Though hardly as small as their real-world counterparts, the various pieces could pose a choking hazard for children under three years old. For kids in the recommended age range (“8 to 108,” according to the box), this is a fun, safe introduction to applied electronics.

Check out this video of how a circuit board is manufactured.

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