STEM Toy Reviews

I was never really exceptionally great at science as a kid—but I really, really loved logic puzzles. I’m convinced had Thinkfun’s Circuit Maze game existed two decades ago, I would probably be an electrical engineer right now.

This game challenges players ages 8 and up to complete circuits to light up beacons. Players take a challenge card, place the different tokens on the board as depicted on the card, and then try to complete the circuit, using only the pieces called out on the challenge card.

If you’re thinking, “Well, that sounds easy enough,” you’re wrong. There are four different levels of challenge cards and not every challenge has the same end goal. While some of them ask players to light up all the beacons on the grid, others will have players using the switch token to only light up certain beacons, then flip the switch to light up a different combination.

Even the beginner levels were sometimes challenging for me, but it was great to start out with them because I got a brief refresher course on how circuits work (brief apology to my 7th grade science teacher for not fully retaining that knowledge into adulthood). Then, from there, it became a logic puzzle. If this is sending positive energy in this direction, how do I get it to the green one, and then use the bridge token and switch to only light up the yellow? As I worked through the different levels of cards, I found myself tracing lines, testing out different methods, and eventually, solving the circuit puzzles.

As someone who is not scientifically inclined, circuitry is sort of a daunting concept for me. But as I played this game, I realized that it’s not as scary as I thought it was. This game makes this STEM concept easier to understand and—dare I say it—fun. It is, of course, designed for kids much younger than I am, so that kids can learn this basic STEM foundations early on, but is still challenging enough to keep adults like myself busy for hours.

This single-player game is great for sneaking those educational aspects into playtime. Circuit Maze is a science and engineering lesson dressed up as a fun and challenging logic puzzle.

About the author

Ali Mierzejewski

Ali Mierzejewski

Ali Mierzejewski is the editor-in-chief at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider. With more than a decade of industry experience, Ali is a trusted source for parents, gift-givers, manufacturers, retailers, and more on the latest trends and hottest products. Whether you’re shopping for the best toys for kids — or looking for the latest in geek culture and entertainment for yourself — Ali’s expertise has you covered. When she’s not building LEGO sets or unwinding with a puzzle, Ali is obsessing over the latest season of The Bachelor, scrolling through Gritty’s Twitter, or rewatching The West Wing (for the 100th time). She is also a self-proclaimed expert on the history and lore of the entire Bachelor franchise. Ali has been featured on TODAY, The Wendy Williams Show, Yahoo Finance, Fox & Friends, HLN, The Weather Channel, ABC World News Now, and more. You can follow her on Instagram @hashtagtrendy.