Electricity is safe and fun to play with if you have the right tools. If you want your kid to learn about electronic circuits and electricity, then you are on the right page.
This is the circuit maze by ThinkFun, a single player and logic puzzle game that teaches your kids about electric circuits while they play.
- 1 ThinkFun circuit maze game technical specifications
- 2 Advantages versus other electric game boards
- 3 Other ThinkFun Board games
- 4 How to play with the ThinkFun Circuit Maze
- 5 This is what you need to know before buying the ThinkFun Circuit Maze
- 6 What are the concepts behind electronic circuits this logic game teaches?
- 7 Will my kid learn about everything you just described?
- 8 Last comments about the ThinkFun Circuit Maze
ThinkFun circuit maze game technical specifications
- Number of players: 1
- Product dimensions: 11 x 9.5 x 2.5 inches
- Age grade: 8+
- 60+ Beginner to expert challenges
Trusted by Families Worldwide
ThinkFun is the leading company in the world in sales of brain games and challenging puzzles. They have over 50 million units sold, among all their products.
Also, I always recommend looking for reviews and comments from current owners to see what they have to say. In the case of ThinkFun, they certainly have the numbers and these tell a great story.
Like I’ve said in the past: a bad product will never have hundreds of reviews. But if you look at the page on Amazon for the electric Circuit Maze, this set has more than 1000 reviews from people, which makes it very popular.
Helps Develop critical thinking skills
Being able to articulate and ask critical thinking questions is one of the most important skills professionals (and humans) need to develop.
A thinking person will plan his or her day according to priorities, making room for the important stuff and adapting plans to make things happen and get results. A critical thinking person will first challenge priorities. This is what comes closer to a critical thinking definition.
Critiquing is not a bad thing. Some people think critics’ job is “too easy”, but reality is that before critiquing something, one needs knowledge, experience, and intelligence.
Critical thinkers are not the ones challenging the status quo. Critical thinkers challenge and propose a new standard, and provide evidence or at least arguments to support their claims.
These days we have too many influencers. Some of these people continuously challenge current standards, but are unable to provide a new paradigm.
This is not someone thinking critically, but complaining.
Today’s world is in such a need of people with a structured and logic thinking process. And the most effective critical thinker is not the one who challenges and proposes with violent or harsh ways.
A true critical thinker knows that the goal is not to be right, but to make sense. Right or wrong are not the measurement units of critical thinkers, but humanity’s evolution.
While this can be very profound, the truth is this simple circuit game board puzzle for kids can place the foundation of such consciousness.
You get a World-Class learning tool for kids
The one thing you want to remember is this is a learning tool disguised as a toy. The knowledge and skills your kid can develop with such a simple set, are the foundation of a very lucrative career.
Also, this set teaches the most elemental concepts related to the theory of circuits. All in a very simplistic and engaging way.
We’ll talk more in detail about these concepts later in this post, but for now, know that your children can learn in a very intuitive and entertaining way, most of the circuits theory that engineering students see until college.
And this is not a small thing. In the past I’ve already said that electricity is not an intuitive thing, and circuits are not different. This is why I think if you can help your kid learn about these things at a young age, this will make a huge difference in the future.
The set comes with clear instructions anybody can follow
Another big hit from this set, and something current owners praise openly, is the clarity and easiness of the instruction manual.
I’ve seen other gadgets that are the result of pure genius. Brilliant ideas with huge potential. But, like Einstein used to say, if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it yourself.
The same is true for these board games and educational toys. If they can’t be understood or explained simply, then nothing else matters.
Simplicity is a complex concept. This circuit maze set is the perfect example of something complex explained in simple ways.
The whole goal of this circuitry game is to connect components in such a way that light bulbs are tuned on.
In essence, that is a circuit, but how you get there is what matters. And here is where the ability of the designers to put such complex topics (circuits theory) on a simple and enjoyable game, sets this full effort appart.
This, combined with the clear instructions anybody can use, make a winning product that people love.
Multi-level challenges to test and increase knowledge and skills
Like I previously said, the main objective of the game is to light up bulbs. These are connected using different configurations that help understand the theory of circuits.
Concepts such as parallel or series circuits, its pros and cons, and how they work, become self-evident with this board game.
This is not all, but this board game comes with multi-level challenges that are perfect to help your kid develop skills with circuits.
These skills will help him or her understand how circuits work in a better way, and once he or she starts to study these in college, the whole thing will be easier and a good childhood memory as well.
Advantages versus other electric game boards
The first thing to say is this is among the best circuit board kits for beginners I have seen. And the reason is very simple, you make circuits without knowing you are building them.
At the same time, your kid will learn all the basic principles that apply for circuits, and circuits theory. This is the magic side of this set.
Another advantage of this set is that you build electronic games circuits that are functional. With every single challenge you overcome.
This ThinkFun circuit maze light-up logic game is perfect for children and parents. This game comes with several challenges that will entertain everyone.
The logic behind this set is to build a circuit game that fulfills the requirements you get on the challenge card. The question is if you can make it or not.
This is an individual game. This means it is designed to pull a card and have a single player building the circuit alone. Yet nobody said you can’t randomize the cards and have several players challenging each other.
Then each player gets points depending on the difficulty level of the circuit he or she built and the one with more points at the end wins the game.
These electricity interactive games for kids are perfect to have fun while learning. The reason why I lean toward this one is because you have to create a circuit game and this always develops skills that will be useful in the long run.
These cool circuits will give you a blast of fun, but more than that, will keep you interested and learning about building circuit games and circuits in general.
This kit is even better than some circuits games online because you have physical parts and thus can experience how electricity and circuits work.
Some circuit apps simulate the inner workings of conductors and electronic components, but these sometimes have glitches and not all simulations are 100% accurate.
The downside of building electric circuits is that components may be expensive and can always burn or get damaged.
But this is not the case with the ThinkFun circuit maze electric current logic game, since it is both affordable and comes with the right components to get started with electronic circuits and have fun while learning.
Other ThinkFun Board games
This circuit maze game review is focused on explaining the details of this set, yet inside the ThinkFun family are others that people like a lot as well.
Here are some of them for you to check.
ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run
ThinkFun Laser Maze Brain Game
How to play with the ThinkFun Circuit Maze
With this set you can follow the instructions on each card or make your own circuit game. You can find yourself making a simple circuit or building something advanced and complex.
This is a circuit board game project that is perfect for both Summer or Christmas vacations. It will help you spend some great quality time with the family and it will be a learning experience as well.
Here is an explainer video of how to create a circuit game and have fun with the ThinkFun maze. As you can see, you can build cool circuits with this set.
With this set you can build electricity interactive games for kids in no time and learn while having fun.
Build your own circuit game and dare to solve all the challenges on the cards from the most basic to the super advanced.
This is what you need to know before buying the ThinkFun Circuit Maze
More than a board game, this is an interactive circuit builder for kids that will teach everyone the basics of electric circuits in a fun and engaging way.
People think this is a fascinating electric maze game thanks to the simple way it presents a complex topic like electronic circuitry and its inner workings.
Another important thing to say is you won’t need replacement parts for this smart game, since all the parts are super simple and won’t get damaged.
On the other hand, if you lose the pieces, then you may have a hard time finding replacement sets for these.
This is why it is strongly suggested to take care of the pieces when playing the board game and once the fun is over, make sure everything goes back to the box.
What are the concepts behind electronic circuits this logic game teaches?
There are entire books that talk about circuits and the way they work. While the whole theory starts with simple concepts, circuits become complex to analyze when they grow big.
This section of this post will touch on the basic ideas and concepts of circuits, but for sure a deeper analysis can be made later.
What is an electric circuit?
In simple words, a circuit is just a closed loop of metallic wires connected to each other.
To be considered an electric circuit, electricity must flow through the wires or metallic components, and be able to loop over and over.
The typical basic electric circuit is made up of a battery connected by each side to a light bulb. These sides are called terminals, and one is positive and the other is negative.
Current flows in the negative to positive direction, and if at some point, current can’t make it to the starting point of the circuit, then the whole circuit is open and current won’t flow through any of the components, regardless of where the circuit is open.
Voltage is what keeps the current moving inside the circuit. The voltage is generated by the battery.
Imagine a rectangular track where a marble moves in a loop continuously. Now, the energy to move this marble must come from somewhere.
In order to produce this energy you place a box, anywhere on the circuit, that when the marble reaches it and gets in, somehow this box pushes the marble as it leaves it.
The box is the battery, and the voltage is inside the box and is that which produces the thrust for the marble.
I’m simplifying things here, but this is how it works.
Going back to our marble and the track example, the marble moves continuously, looping over and over.
Now imagine you have marbles all around the circuit very close to each other.
In electricity, each marble could be considered as a charge, and we call current to the movement of charges.
This current will flow as long as the circuit is closed. Like I said before, if any part of the circuit breaks, then all the other marbles won’t move and therefore you won’t have current flowing through it.
You must know that what lights up the bulb is not the presence of charges (marbles), but the movement of these (current). If no movement, no light.
So far, our marbles flow freely through the tracks we have installed. Nothing opposes its movement and thus they continuously flow.
But what if we wanted to have a bit more control of how the marbles move? For this, we would have to add what is known as resistance.
Resistance is just that. An obstacle for current. When you add resistance to a circuit, that circuit has less current flowing through it.
The more resistance you add, the less current. And you can get to a point that even when the circuit is perfectly closed, if the resistance is too much, the whole circuit behaves as an open circuit, since there is no current flowing.
Resistance can be perceived as a bad thing, but in reality, is what makes it possible to design circuits to behave the way we want.
What is Ohm’s law?
This is a statement that relates the three concepts we’ve seen so far.
Ohm’s law was stated by Georg Ohm, hence its name. And it states that the current flowing through a conductor is directly proportional to the voltage applied to this conductor, and inversely proportional to the resistance of the conductor.
While these days this equation is quite obvious, it was not when Georg published his work. In fact, he found a lot of resistance in other academics and institutions at that time.
However, through the years Ohm’s law has been proved over and over, and today’s is the starting point and the foundation of any study of circuitry.
While we won’t get into the trouble of solving problems or demonstrating equations here, you must know there is a way to analyse and study circuits using math.
This by the way, is also how circuits work.
And a simple application of this, would be to have a circuit a bit more complex than the one we have been studying.
Imagine you have a battery, but this time, you have two ways for electric current to flow through.
If you had a preference for more current to flow through any of these paths, for whatever reason, it would be a simple matter of adding more resistance to the path you want less current moving through.
But in order to know how much resistance to add, before having a circuit with no current at all, you’d need to do a bit of calculations so that current was not zero.
This is where the analysis of the circuit using the Ohm’s law comes handy.
What types of circuits are there?
At this point you may be wondering how circuits can be connected.
The way circuits are connected is what defines the type of circuit we have in front of us.
There are two types of circuits, parallel and series. And each one behaves differently and serves for different purposes.
One is not better than the other. Instead, this is a matter of what works best depending on what you want to accomplish.
The difference between these is how voltage and current behave.
In series circuits, the voltage across each component is different, but the current is the same. In parallel circuits, the voltage across each component is the same, and the current is different.
What is a series circuit?
As its name describes it, a series circuit occurs when you have two or more components connected one after the other.
In our case, resistors connected one after the other until they closed the loop.
As described before, in a series circuit, each resistor will have different voltage, but the current flowing through all resistors will be the same.
Also, something else that happens with series circuits, is that the sum of the individual voltages of each resistor, will be equal to the total voltage the battery supplies.
What is a parallel circuit?
Again, the name is very descriptive of what happens here.
A parallel circuit happens when you have several resistors connected to a single point on both ends. Thus, each resistor is in parallel to each other.
As stated before, voltage across each resistor will be the same, but the current will be different. In the same way, the voltage across the parallel circuit must be equal to the voltage the battery supplies.
What else there is to know about circuits?
Much, much more. We can start by the fact that there are other components besides resistors that can be part of a circuit.
There are also some ways to simplify circuits to make a simpler analysis. But all of this is not part of the scope of this post.
For now, just look at everything we just explored and acknowledge all the information. While simple in nature, once you are told this can determine your future, it can be very hard to process it.
Yet this set by ThinkFun is all you need to start introducing these concepts and its theory to your children.
Will my kid learn about everything you just described?
While the study of this won’t include the math and equations, the logic behind the concepts will be there.
The parallel and series circuits are for sure part of the multi-level challenges available with this set and your kid will explore the behavior of such types of circuit.
Electric current, resistance, and voltage are also part of the experience of the whole set, as you can’t experiment without touching on those.
Last comments about the ThinkFun Circuit Maze
After all we’ve explored here, there is not much to say about this board game. I think it is a fantastic investment and at the time of this writing, the kit is less than $50 USD.
I can remember my days as an engineering student and one of the topics that gave me a hard time was electricity and circuits. I just couldn’t relate very well to the concepts and had to study harder.
This kit along with the tracks and marbles example would have made it easier for me. I remember back in school I used pipes and water as an analogy. It also helped me to understand the concept better.
Anyways, I hope you found this review helpful as well as the brief explanation of electric circuits.
We’ll catch up on the next one!