Snap Circuits Review
If you’re in the market for a toy for a child who likes to build things, tinker, or is curious about how things work, Snap Circuits SC-300 tops my list. We’ve had this toy for a year and I just bought a BUNCH of them for friends because I like it so much. This is not a sponsored post — i’m just a happy customer who wants to spread the word. (Note: This post does contain affiliate links)
With Snap Circuits, those of us with no electronics background or understanding can easily build a light switch that works or a doorbell that rings. With a clever system of snaps that safely connect electronic components together, children will learn the basics of electricity and how to build all kinds of circuits.
The instruction manual is easy to understand, and I noticed that after we were halfway through our first project together, my five-year old figured out how to finish the assembly on her own. While it’s designed for children ages eight and up, my three and five year olds enjoy using it with adult collaboration, and I know it’s a toy that they’ll grow with.
What kind of toys should I buy?
When it comes to buying toys for my children, there are three questions that I like to ask:
- Is it a learning tool? With Snap Circuits, children will learn about electronics and how to build a variety of circuits.
- Is it engaging and fun? If children are curious about making things and how things work, the process and rewards will be fun and motivating.
- Is it open-ended? While many of the projects have a specific outcome in mind, many of them have multiple end-points. The example I’ll share today is an example of this.
In case you’re wondering, here are some curiosity and creativity-building toys that we’re also crazy about:
And now, on to the project…
Build a DIY Spin Art Machine with Snap Circuits
Making their own spin art machine captured my kids imaginations, and we assembled it in about ten minutes. The toy comes with a grid that’s fitted with little prongs. The electronic pieces then snap right onto those prongs, which hold them in place. Putting these together will remind you of playing with Legos. In fact, if your child enjoys Legos, these might be a natural extension for you.
Snap Circuits doesn’t come with batteries, so if you buy this as a gift it’s something to keep in mind. If you don’t want to mess with replacing batteries over time, there’s a battery eliminator that people seem to be very satisfied with.
One of the components in this circuit is a small motor, and we were instructed to attach a stiff, circular paper base to the motor with some tape. Next, with a piece of double-stick tape we added a second circle of paper on top of the first one.
There a small on/off button on one side, so while one of us pushed the button, someone else got to use markers to add color to the spin art.
We struggled a bit with centering our circle, but no one seemed to mind our off-center designs. My 3-year old is obsessed with rainbows at the moment, and she enjoyed documenting her rainbow colors in just the right order.
I think they came out beautifully!
After we played with it for a full hour, I was ready to disassemble it and store it away. But my kids saw this as a new toy, and wanted to keep it out. I complied, of course, and we made spin art for days! After two weeks we just broke it apart, and we’re now ready for another electronics challenge.
What’s your favorite toy for inspiring creativity and curiosity?
5 easy steps to set up a TinkerLab at home.