This is the latest version of our popular through-hole Simon Says Kit. We’ve made some changes to the board that should make it easier than ever for the beginner to build! All components are through-hole, making this kit a great place to start when you’re learning to solder. When building this kit, you’ll have a chance to solder a 28-pin microprocessor, LEDs, battery clips and more.
After you have successfully assembled the kit, you will have a greater knowledge of through-hole soldering and the tools, techniques, and terminology required to populate your own PCB prototype. You will have a development platform with 5 outputs (LEDs and buzzer), 5 inputs (buttons), and serial for debugging. And, of course, you’ll have your very own Simon game!
Checkout the assembly instructions - we’re pretty proud of them. The kit even includes batteries! Assembly time varies, but for a true beginner with no soldering experience, the kit can take 20-40 minutes to assemble. A soldering iron and wire cutters are the bare minimum tools required. We scoured the earth and found a really fantastic beginner’s soldering iron for $10, solder for $2, and wire cutters for $2. We also have a Learn to Solder version of the kit which includes all the tools you’ll need!
This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.
Skill Level: Rookie - The number of pins increases, and you will have to determine polarity of components and some of the components might be a bit trickier or close together. You might need solder wick or flux.
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Whether it's for assembling a kit, hacking an enclosure, or creating your own parts; the DIY skill is all about knowing how to use tools and the techniques associated with them.
Skill Level: Noob - Basic assembly is required. You may need to provide your own basic tools like a screwdriver, hammer or scissors. Power tools or custom parts are not required. Instructions will be included and easy to follow. Sewing may be required, but only with included patterns.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Based on 35 ratings:
3 of 3 found this helpful:
She’s 8, and put this together with zero debug time. Very satisfying for her. I meant to give this 5 stars, but this web interface disagrees with me.
I think it was most helpful that we we had a slender soldering pencil (Weller, 12-V), which puts out enough heat to get the job done (and no more) and which fits perfectly in a child’s hand. My other irons are too hot for the job and too fat for a kid’s hands. An “extra hands” is also helpful, but not 100% necessary.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
I bought this kit for my son. He had a great time building it and kept saying how much fun electronics were. The kit and the instructions are both high quality. The instructions are very clear and have nice pictures.
After he built the kit and put the batteries in, nothing happened. That was because the batteries were not making good contact with the battery holder ends. Just make sure the batteries make contact with the ends. If not, just bend the battery holders ends slightly with gentle pressure for a snug fit.
This is a great kit and a fun game to play.
3 of 3 found this helpful:
I used this kit in a soldering work shop a few weeks ago. A few people there had some soldering experience and just wanted to brush up on and hone their skills. The majority, however, had no experience what so ever. This little kit was perfect for both groups.
Soldering the first few components in gives people a chance to practice and really learn what soldering is all about. Then, my favorite part, is the ATmega. All the pins allow for the development of technique. You don’t have to put the iron down and get the part all set, you can just focus on going through the motions over and over and over. It was interesting to look at the ATmega joints with the students afterwards to see how much their joints improved as they worked through the part. It also gives the confidence to solder the harder parts like the battery clips.
Speaking of battery clips, that was the #1 troubleshooting issue we found, they need to be flexed in just a bit to get a good contact. The instructions are also very clear and engaging.
In short: GREAT KIT! Lots of joints to practice on and the final product looks and feels greats. Real confidence booster!
2 of 2 found this helpful:
I supervised two builds of these (girls ages 8 and 9) and all went smoothly. The kids absolutely loved putting it together and playing with the pre-programmed game afterward.
The board is easy re-programmable with the Arduino tools and minimal extra hardware, plus additional IOs are available on the side, making this a great tool for getting started with Arduino programming. Think of it like an Uno/Redboard with buttons, LEDs, and buzzer already provided!
Note, If you want to go back to the Simon firmware (or hack on it), it’s available on SparkFun’s page on GitHub.
We used this for a group of 50 people - so having 1 or 2 fail seems pretty good for this big of a group. The number of sequences you can play is limited, but it was fun to solder and everyone went around showing off what they had made (in a cubicle farm of software engineers, so this is high praise!).
Our students had fun building and learning about electronics components.
This was a lot of fun to put together, instructions were very clear and easy to follow. Simon works great has bright LED’s and sound is good and loud. I used it for soldering practice for an upcoming box mod project. I wish there were more reasonably priced project kits like this.
A co-worker showed me the website after a conversation about home projects I was looking into. I trolled around the sparkfun webpage and found a beginner project that was a great way for me to break into soldering. I got (2) of the Simon says game and had a blast putting it together. I keep one at my desk at work and all the engineers play a game or two when ever they walk by. I also gave the second game to my daughter. It’s a little advanced right now but she has a blast figuring it out. Next step is to do some coding with the program.
My 10 yr old was able to put this together with little help from me. He does have some soldering experience. The instructions are well written, easy to follow. The kids love playing with it.
My 7 year old son and I built this. He loved it, it was his first time soldering. Great project.
Bought a set of these to work on the Electronics Merit Badge with a group of Boy Scouts. All of the boys were able to learn their soldering skills and come out with a working game. I really appreciated the extra traces on the circuit board that allowed for the reversing the polarity of the LEDs, as this enabled us to fix one young man’s board where he installed one LED backwards. Great job SparkFun!
Bought this to help teach the kids how to solder and get into electronics. Not only was it fun for us to put together, it has been fun to play with as well.
Easy to assemble –a very beginner could do it without any problem. Nice and fun little toy, working perfectly, as advertised. No con’s, only pro’s !
I bought this to teach my daughters (ages 12 to 18) to solder. The kit is very well done, the instructions and markings were clear. We could focus on assembly and not trying to puzzle out the proper component positioning.
The battery clips had to be bent in a bit in order to make contact. This is not really a fault in the kit, just a note that the clips will have to be bent in slightly. This was a great opportunity for them to learn a little about tracing issues, without having to desolder components. Out of 4 assemblies we only had one LED that didn’t work. Our initial assumption was that the polarity was reversed and we reviewed the instructions to cut the traces instead of desoldering (a nice feature). Upon closer inspection we found a trace of solder had shorted the connection, so she got to learn to use desoldering braid to clean it up.
All of them were very happy when their games first lit up and gave great reviews to the experience.
My 9 year old built this with some help from me. It was a thrill for both of us.
I was a little apprehensive as we got to the long DIP, but he did the soldering just fine, with almost no help. Two things struck me about the DIP package. a) cutting off pin 15 and leaving out the via hole was an inspired bit of human engineering – that’s a sign that y'all are really thinking through the process – three cheers! b) y'all prebent the DIP pins so they fit in the holes. Brilliant!
I hope the team at Sparkfun knows how good a job they did on this. I do.
Fun to build fun to play. Worked perfect!
In fact, I’m a 10yr old and I just finished making the kit with my dad.
The lights work and the game plays fine, but for some reason we don’t get any sound.
We checked that the buzzer is soldered in the correct direction and the slide switch is set right. Did any one else have trouble with sound?
UPDATE: Yep, just as promised they sent us a new mini-speaker. We plunked it in and now our Simon plays sound! Great kit. Great company.
Sorry to hear that you’re having buzzer issues. Our amazing Tech Support Team is working on your issue, and will be in touch with you directly.
I had no issues assembling this kit. The instructions were clear and very good. The only question I have is how to distinguish which color led goes in which position. The tones played are associated with a specific color in the original game, but there is no indication on the leds as to their color and which position they should be soldered in. Just a minor point that does really affect how the game plays. My grand kids loved playing with it.
We gave this as a gift to our 11 year old to do with grandpa. He had a great afternoon making it with grandpa and now loves playing with it all the time. The only thing to make this better for the parents would be to have a volume control (louder to softer) instead of on and off. I will give one to my niece (also 11) for Christmas to do with grandpa too.
Instructions are super, simple enough to get started. Battery clamps needed some tweaking though.
Used these for a Maker Space event. Had the kids solder a few components on scrap boards first to get the hang off it then do their kits. No problems getting them assembled and working. Used lead free solder from Sparkfun. The lead free solder worked well with the 50W Weller soldering irons I had but I wouldn’t recommend using it with low end irons. Tried that as home first and had a hard time getting the irons hot enough to work well with the lead free solder.
We just completed our Maker/STEAM Camp ages 9 through 14 were able to assemble the Weevil-eye and a follow up with the Simon Says soldering project without much trouble. We expect and celebrate when a camper goofs-up and is able to desolder with a pump or wick to correct their mistakes. Even with the battery holder issues with continuity having to bend the battery holder clips ads to the experience.
All in all, we love you guys!
Thanks for the support and documentation that you provide for your customers.
Dave Holzwarth Physics/Math Teacher Maker Space Coordinator and Instructor Mercersburg Academy Mercrsburg, PA 17236
Clear directions. Great way to practice soldering.
My son and I enjoyed building, troubleshooting and now playing with this kit. We’ve got three new ones in the hopper, looking forward to more fun!
Great instructions. Good soldering practice. It’d be more useful if it included programming headers. It also doesn’t really explain what you’re building. It’s a stripped down Uno and 99% micro-controller+code with a tiny bid of solid state components but it’s 15 minutes to a working game, so great for getting some fast positive feedback that you’re making progress.
introduces electronic parts, and soldering instructions, and it plays!!
I teach a soldering class at our makerspace, and these kits have been a lot of fun for attendees! I get most of my kits from sparkfun for these classes, and try different ones each month to switch it up and keep it interesting (for both the attendees and me). This one is super easy to put together, but still enough of a challenge that newbies will have to sweat a little to get it done. They’re always intimidated by the microchip with all the closely spaced pins.
Only critical thing I have to say about it is the battery holders need to get pinched in a little before you put the battery in, they don’t seem to make good contact otherwise and it will reset if it gets moved to much. I was also momentarily confused when I noticed one chip was missing a leg because I thought I broke it off, but realized they come like that when I looked at the other ones.
My 10 year old really likes the Tetris and Simon Says electronic puzzles so when he saw that he could solder his own, he was very excited. This was his second solder project and we completed it the day it came. The online video and instructions were great and I was only there to keep the solder from destroying the dinning room table. I can’t wait to get him interested in re-programming it using the provided pin-outs. Awesome touch, thanks!
This kit is a great confidence builder for your young person who enjoys building projects and kits. The instructions are easy to understand and when it is finished, everyone in the house has fun playing with it. Very well done.
I had five children (mostly ten year olds) complete this project in 40 minutes. I was amazed and they were absolutely delighted. They had previously completed Sparkfun’s LED flashlight kit and proto-pic’s lighthouse kit with me and that’s all the electronics experience they’ve ever had. Proof, I think, of the excellent quality of this kit and Sparkfun’s outstanding printed instructions (one of the difficulties I had with the lighthouse kit was that it didn’t include instructions and while the website was good it didn’t print well which is trouble in a group setting).
Minor “gotcha’s”: The battery clips in three of the kits didn’t properly press against the battery. A simple fix (bend the ends in) but without that little wrinkle, those children would have finished a working project completely by themselves. Two of these young engineers placed the LEDs on the wrong face of the PCB. Desoldering is more than we can manage without melting the LEDs so I’ll have to replace those (can anyone tell me what sort of LEDs to use?)
I’m looking forward to customizing these kits in weeks to come.
Some reviewers discuss tools. FWIW, We used cheap ($8) adjustable temperature irons, lead-free rosin core solder and bronze wire type cleaning sponge. Most of the students preferred to use helping hands to hold things still. We also used (Hakko) flush cut wire cutters. Apart from that, everything was in the box - even batteries. Nice.
Flashlight kit: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/14877 Lighthouse kit: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/14635
I can’t say enough good things about this kit!
I had ordered the SMD version of this project by mistake and then found out that there was not enough in stock of the Through-hole-sodering kits due to the holiday sale off to meet my class requirenments. So I had to try and have my class solder the SMD’s instead of the the through-hole soldering project.This was a big mistake as to the having first time students try and solder something so small. Only 65 % of the class were able to finish and have the kit work for them. Parts were not available to help those that made mistakes and lost the small pads on the components . So I had to use the additional kits as spare parts.
Works great. Assembly directions were excellent. I had to tighten the feet for it to start. In fact I thought the battery was dead but it wasn’t. Must require a minimum mechanical pressure on the board.
My 8 year old grandson did not have any trouble putting this together. It was his first time soldering and did not make one mistake.
Our next project will be programming the Simon