Just as science, coding, and robotics kits can teach kids valuable lessons, electronics kits can do just the same. Circuitry, magnetism, and electrical engineering can give your kids a different perspective and way of thinking, even if they don’t end up in a STEM field. Understanding electricity and electronics isn’t just for people in the field, after all, a good grasp of the basics can help with everything from troubleshooting problems to safely working on home repair projects.
Learning about electronics can not only spark your child’s interest in math, science, and technology, but it can also help improve their problem solving skills, critical thinking, and even their imagination. All of the kits included in this list will teach your kids the fundamentals of electronics with fun and easy-to-understand instructions that.
Best Circuit Kit for Young Kids: Squishy Circuits ($75)
What a better way to learn about electrical circuits than with hands-on play dough experiments? Not only is it fun to play with dough, this Squishy Circuits kit is easier to work with than small circuits, complicated parts, or solder. The kit comes with two types of dough: conductive (electricity can flow through) and insulative (electricity doesn’t flow through).
Use the electricity to light up 40 different colored LEDs, run a motor (that has an attachable fan blade), sound different buzzers, and even turn these items on and off with a switch. And the parts included in this kit are way larger than your typical circuitry pieces—the LEDs are huge with nice big wire legs—which makes it far easier for smaller kids with less refined motor skills to assemble the pieces.
Get even more imaginative by sculpting the different-colored dough with the sculpting tools and rolling pin. This creative way to learn about circuits is not only different than other kits, it’s great for all ages. There’s even an app that gives you example projects and step-by-step tutorials, along with the option to share your creations online.
Best Circuit Drawing Kit: Circuit Scribe Maker Kit ($85)
Like the Squishy Circuits Kit, the Circuit Scribe Maker Kit offers a creative way to approach learning about circuits by letting your kids doodle their way to conductivity. With no wires required, this kit teaches your children the basics of inputs, outputs, and single processing with more advanced concepts like timed circuits, light sensing, and piezoelectric materials (materials that produce electricity under pressure)—all with clever conductive-ink pens!
In addition to the special pen, the kit includes LEDs, capacitors, and transistors to help your children create so many different projects. Use the Autodesk 123D Circuits program to simulate the Circuit Scribe modules to see how they would work in real life, or print templates so you can create yourself with the kit.
Best Electricity and Magnetism Kit: LERBOR Basic Circuit Learning Kit ($50)
Want your kids to have a more in-depth experience with circuitry? This LERBOR Basic Circuit Learning Kit is perfect for kids 12 years and older because it takes a more instructional high-level approach to the matter. The easy-to-follow, 40-page instruction manual not only helps your child conduct experiments, it also asks important questions before and after the experiments that encourage your child’s critical thinking.
The kit includes 50 components that can be used in a variety of experiments (like demonstrating how fruit is conductive, making a hand crank generator, and designing an electric bell). Some of the components included in this electricity and magnetism kit are an ammeter, voltmeter, light bulb, electrodes, magnets, compass, and motors with all of the experiments explaining how the components function in the complete project.
Best Mix and Match Kit: Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit($22)
Want a circuit kit with ease of use on par with LEGO blocks? Snap Circuits Jr. Kit is a perfect fit. With over 30 color-coded circuitry pieces that snap into place, it’s easy to follow along with the 101 DIY projects that accompany the kit. Snap together snap wires, slide switches, a speaker, alarm circuit, music circuit, and more all onto a plastic grid to create projects like a voice-controlled lamp, police siren, or a musical doorbell.
This kit comes with in-depth illustrations and instructions that will get your kids snapping together simple projects they use every day. Thanks to the solder-free and easy interface, the kit works for a wide age group—even adults can learn a thing or two from Snap Circuits! It’s also pretty sturdy, so it can handle even the most enthusiastic hands without breaking the pieces.
The kit is just one part of a giant collection of Snap Circuit kits you can build on. If your kids love this kit, you can purchase additional expansion kits or even pick up the giant Snap Circuit Extreme Student Kit with over 750 experiments.
Best Electronics Kit for Young Builders: Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Catalyst STEM Kit ($59)
If your child likes building but is also interested in the electrical components of devices, check out the Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Catalyst STEM Kit. Build robots, cars, or machines and then add the electricity and circuits to get them moving in no time. With motors, wires, and simple circuits, your kids will learn how electronics ties into the movement of machines.
The Tinkering Labs kit comes with 10 different challenges to build, so you can build an apparatus, take it apart, and build something else with the reusable parts. There’s even a bit of creativity to the building because your child can solve a challenge by coming up with the design on his or her own. While the base kit offers tons of options, you can even add LEGO robotics or other objects onto your creations to make them bigger and better.