Snap Circuits: What is it?
Snap Circuits is an educational toy made by Elenco that teaches children how electrical circuits work. The Snap Circuit kits contain over one hundred different experiments in the basic kit and over 750 experiments for the most advanced kit. The Snap circuits design makes it extremely easy for children to put the projects together. Each kit comes with a plastic base plate that all the other pieces simply snap to, hence the name Snap Circuits. Unlike other electrical education kits, the Snap Circuits do not use regular wires(although it does come with two), but rather the wires are contained within hard pieces of plastic with snaps on them making it easy to build the project as well as visualize the flow of electricity through the circuit.
Snap Circuits Jr SC-100
The Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 is the most basic kit. We purchased this model for this past Christmas for my son and he has not stopped playing with it. Even though it is an entry level kit, the SC-100 has over one hundred experiments in it and you can also build your own. The Snap Circuits SC-100 contains a speaker module, a motor with propeller blade, three different sound modules, a resistor, a photo resistor, slide switch, button switch, whistler, LED, and a light bulb module in addition to the battery pack and wire snaps that are standard on all the kits. The instructions are very intuitive and the projects are well laid out and explained in detail what the project does.
Here is an example project that I did with my son to explain to him how resistors work in an electrical circuit. Build a basic circuit with the speaker and slide switch. Make sure to use a wire that is 3 snaps long in your design(this piece will be replaced with a resistor). Once you have the circuit built, turn the switch on and make note of how loud the sound is coming from the speaker. Now turn off the circuit and replace the 3 wire with the resistor module. Turn the circuit on and make note of the volume again. This time, the speaker volume is lower. Now your child can clearly see, and hear, how a resistor restricts the flow of electricity in a circuit therefore delivering less power to the speaker module.
Snap Circuits SC-300
The Snap Circuits SC-300 is the next step up from the SC-100. This kit contains over 300 experiments in it. This kit includes everything you get with the SC-100 plus additional pieces such as: resistors, capacitors, ICs, photo sensor, sound sensor, motors, and microphone. The recommended age for the SC-300 is 8 years old and up. As the Snap Circuit kits get larger and more complex, the age goes up as well.
Snap Circuits Pro SC-500
The next model in line is the Snap Circuits Pro SC-500. This kit contains over 500 projects and includes parts such as an FM radio. I also want to point out that each kit contains the same projects as the kits before it meaning the SC-500 does not have 500 new projects, rather it has the same ones as the SC-300 plus 200 more(or 400 more than the SC-100). Other specialty parts included in this kit are: a diode, 7 segment LED, relay, transformer, analog meter, and a recording integrated circuit.
Snap Circuits Extreme SC-750
This is the ultimate in Snap Circuit kits! The Snap Circuits SC-750 Extreme contains over 750 projects and includes new parts such as: a solar cell, vibration switch, two spring socket. The SC-750 also includes a computer interface with software for viewing waveforms and frequencies on your computer screen. How cool is that!
No matter what kit you decide to get, there are also upgrade kits available which saves you from having to buy the same parts over and over. The kits listed above are the main kits but there are others available such as a remote control rover and solar powered kit. The best thing about Snap Circuits is as you acquire more and more kits, you can integrate the parts together for some rather unique projects and creations. The Snap Circuit kits are a great toy as well as educational tool and you nor your child will be disappointed with your purchase.