If your child is inquisitive about how electronics around the house work, it might be a good idea to purchase a kit that encourages them to try building their own devices. Many of these do-it-yourself electronics kits teach users about the functionality of individual components, educating them on concepts like electricity, current, and voltage. These are recreational ways to learn about science that also present opportunities for creativity and problem solving. Cultivate the curiosity of a budding engineer with one (or more) of our recommendations below.
1. Snap Circuits Electronics Exploration Kit
This kit inspires kids to learn about basic electronics through creative thinking, featuring more than 300 building projects for experimentation. It focuses on circuitry, with colorful components to make fun items, including an AM radio, a bell to notify you of mail, and a touch lamp. The process is similar to building with Legos, with every part simply snapping together. The instructions are clear and explain how circuits work as well as how to troubleshoot any errors.
2. Elenco Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100
Another child-friendly way to learn about simple circuitry, this kit is nearly as good as our top pick. It includes fewer projects at a lower price point, and the limited number of parts can help avoid overwhelming some young engineers. From a helicopter toy to a motion-activated alarm, each project presents a hands-on experience that is guided by instructions that still leave enough freedom to exercise innovation.
3. Poraxy DIY STEM Kits
This kit contains parts for five different imaginative contraptions, with each process teaching kids the fundamentals of motors. Build different cars (including a wind-powered one), a generator, and a bubble machine using components that either snap together or are tightened through screws. The screws are quite small and will require some adult supervision, but young ones should be able to follow the instructions largely on their own.
4. Thames & Kosmos Kids Coding & Robotics
This kit presents a creative, narrative-driven way to learn coding without relying on any software or smart devices. Users create storylines by choosing code cards with rules, which get read and followed by a large block with a sensor that serves as the main character. The block can move in different directions but also responds by making sounds or blinking. The process to set up all the game play is quite lengthy and involved, but with a 64-page manual of coding exercises to try out, users won’t quickly get bored of this unique introduction to robotics.
5. Playz 328+ Circuit City
This is a more challenging circuit-centric set that is perfect for children who have already expressed an interest in engineering. It includes a booklet that provides an overview of circuitry, and users have to learn how to read a circuit diagram to build the more than 300 possible experiments. These are objects that really engage the senses, ranging from a glow-in-the-dark flying disk to an AM/FM radio. Although the projects can be challenging, the parts are easy to wire, and the instructions are clearly illustrated. Accomplishing each one will feel rewarding.