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

Electricity: Master Lab

Electricity: Master Lab

Spring 2015 Toys
Ages: 10 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $199.95

Electricity: Master Lab is an expansive 88-piece kit that includes: a battery compartment, switches, push buttons, three colored light bulbs, diodes, a speaker, resistors, capacitors, a meter, a transformer, relays, a cup, a divider, coils, an electric motor, a compass, a potentiometer, and magnets. With these components and two AA batteries (not included) children can conduct 119 experiments in electricity and magnetism. Specifically, while many kits on the market focus on direct current (DC), this kit also allows children to explore and learn about alternating current (AC), which is used by many common items (e.g., televisions, desk lamps, and even smartphone transformers).

The experiments are listed and described in such a way that children ages 10+ can progress at their own speed from simple to more complex experiments. Users will learn the basics of electric current by building simple circuits with batteries, switches, and lights; and, they can build series and parallel circuits as well as more complex circuits including an alarm system. The pieces are sturdy and plug together easily, facilitating exploration and experimentation. Our testers' senses of accomplishment were, pardon the pun, electrified by the projects they completed; for example, they can create a speaker from a cup or build a Morse Code transmitter, and the well-written 128-page color manual contains detailed directions, photographs and explanations. In addition to the planned experiments and projects, children can use the manual to experiment freely with magnetism and learn about electrochemistry by creating a lemon battery.

Additionally, should parts become broken or lost, parents can easily replace them, because part numbers, photos, and descriptions of each component are included in the manual.

Sharon Heuscher   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Sharon holds B.A.s in English Literature and Ancient Studies as well as a B.S. in Psychology. She is currently a masters-level trainee in Clinical Psychology specializing in neurodegenerative diseases. For the past thirteen years, Sharon has focused primarily on raising, educating, and nurturing her five children who range in age from three to thirteen.

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