Ten Classic Electronic Toys and Their Modern Equivalents

By Jason Fitzpatrick on June 4th, 2012

Whether you’re looking to relive the toy exploits of your youth or pass your love of tinkering and electronics onto the younger generation, this list highlights ten great electronic toys of yesteryear and their modern equivalents.

Courtesy of Wired’s Geek Dad, the description for the all-in-one electronics kit seen here:

What is was: Arthur C. Clarke has said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. As a kid in the midst of an increasing technological revolution, electronics were at the heart of that. Learning electronics was made easy through the Science Fair Electronic Project Kits found at Radioshack. Through the project guides, kids could construct various ‘experiments’ by attaching wires to terminal springs that make circuits. The terminal springs would wire in components such as LED segment lights, photo sensors, resistors, diodes, etc. While it was fun getting the projects to work, the manuals lacked in depth explanation as to what was happening in the circuit to produce the project’s result.

Why it was awesome: First, it was a simple buy for parents. Everything you needed to get your child interested in electronics was right in the kit. You didn’t need to breadboard or solder. I remember a distinct feeling of accomplishment making a high-water alarm or a light-sensor game with the realization that the bundles of wires springing up from the kit were actually doing something!

Modern equivalent: You can still pick up variations of the 100-in-1 kits, but their popular replacement seem to be Snap Circuits by Elenco. All of the components are mounted on a plastic base with a contact on either end which interconnect with each other and the plastic base that projects can be mounted to. Each component also has the electrical diagram symbol for that component drawn on it so it can help you read schematics. For that reason alone, I like these better.

For the rest of the list, hit up the link below.

Ten Classic Electronic Toys and Their Modern Equivalents [Wired]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/4/12
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