I purchased this a year ago for my 4 year daughter. She loved it right out of the box and still asks to do experiments with it. The directions are easy to follow, even for a non-scientist like me. Set up doesn't take too long, which is good for an impatient kid. In the beginning, we didn't follow the "scientific method" by writing down our results since she couldn't write yet. A year later, she is more interested in that aspect of the kit. You could put a kit together yourself, but because of the number of times we used this and the amount of time it would have taken me to find the pieces, I think we got our money's worth.