Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Electricity & Magnetism

Electricity & Magnetism

Fall 2012 Toys
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $44.95

Electricity and Magnetism is an excellent science learning and experiment kit designed to teach some difficult concepts. The kit includes 64 connectors, switches, lights, wires, magnets and other components necessary to conduct 62 activities described in the 64-page experiment manual. Readily available household items (scissors, ruler, tape, etc.) are necessary to conduct some experiments.

The experiments and activities go from electrical circuitry to magnetism and right into electromagnetism. The activities are fun (Who doesn't like to play with magnets?) and even the most complex experiments are not intimidating. Lots of good science is obviously taught in the activities, but some stuff is learned much more subtly. Kids learn circuit diagram symbols because they are printed on the circuit components, not because they are a specific activity, and we would wager that a child who fully uses this kit could learn to build an electric motor.

The colorful experiment manual is outstanding. Each activity is clearly stated, nicely illustrated, and thoroughly explained. Taped, paper clipped, and thumb tacked notes throughout the manual give cautions, tips, special symbols, and even environmental protection information. "CHECK IT OUT" sections give some history, make people connections, and give real-life applications of concepts (though kids might not know what a record player, used as an example, is). Photographs of children engaged in activities are used on pages with chapter headings.

For parents wishing to develop their child's interest in science and engineering, this kit is a superior learning toy.

Ellie and Don Homce   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Don and Ellie Homce are the parents of two sons. Ellie is a former chemistry and physical science teacher and trainer in the hazardous materials field. Currently a professional volunteer at local schools and a thrift shop, Ellie continues to pursue her interests in art. Don is a health and safety and environmental science professional who enjoys building and fixing things. He has been a Boy Scout Leader for the past ten years.

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