As a parent in the toy industry – and with experience working with educators and kids with special needs – magnet building toys are popular because they are easy for kids to stack and build.
While many families love using bricks to build (aka Legos), it can be really frustrating for many kids because Legos are hard to connect together and hard to take apart. As a result, the child does not enjoy building.
Alternatively, many families love using traditional wooden blocks for building. However, the blocks can easily fall over. This can be another frustrating play experience for kids.
As a result, using magnet building toys do not require as much fine motor or gross motor skills as bricks and don’t fall over as easily as blocks. Plus, the ‘click’ noise from putting the magnet tiles together can be a very motivating sound for some kids – and a sensory reward as well!
Magnet Toy Tips
Just to make sure we are all on the same page! – Magnet toys are the ones that have magnetic pieces embedded inside. There has been negative press around magnet toys, but technology is improving as is quality. However, I highly suggest you stick with known companies and brands (and not generic magnet tiles). Plus, make sure you consistently inspect the magnet tiles for cracks or broken pieces. When you discover one, throw it away as a precaution! We need to parent prospectively!
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Magnet Toy Benefits
Another reason I love magnet building toys is that kids can make shapes out of magnet blocks that they cannot with brick and blogs. As a result, kids can also work on geometry, spatial relations, shape identification, and foster creativity, engineering, and architecture skills. In short, magnetic toys have a lot of educational muscle!
See my YouTube video below if you want to see me visually play and explain why I love magnet toys.
Here are some of my favorites magnet toys if you want to build a wish list of magnet toys to consider:
Tileblox from Magformers is a full surface magnetic tile piece. There are different size sets and in classic rainbow colors or a pink/purple color scheme. The larger the set, the more shapes you get. For example, the 42 piece set has equilateral Triangles, squares, trapezoids, isosceles triangles, rectangles, and right-angle triangles.
BLOCKAROO (BLUE MARBLE)
Blockaroo from Blue Marble is a unique building block system, but it does have magnet connections – making it a great magnetic toy. What makes it different is that it is soft foam sided shapes that connect magnetically and rotate. Plus, they can be used in water, like bathtubs and pools.
Magicubes are magnetic blocks that feature a special design that allows the blocks to connect on all 6 sides making structures easy and fun to create. It is more of a traditional ‘block’ shape which may appeal to some kiddos! There are a lot of options, including different size sets and themed sets too.
Magna-Tiles are known as the original 3D magnetic building sets. Regardless of which set you use (in terms of quantity of tiles or the theme), you get full squares and triangles that can spark hours of imaginative play.
Magformers magnet tiles are a bit different in that they are cut out shapes, so they are a bit lighter to use and manipulate. As a result, they can be shaped into unique creations. There are a variety of sets. A personal favorite is the smaller 14 piece set, which is perfect for travel or keeping kids entertained on the go.
MAGNA FLEX (WowWee)
Build a cat, dog, owl, fox, fish, turtle and more with these unique, high-quality, flexible magnet materials. There are three strong magnetic connections in each piece that allows you to create organic 3D shapes. You can zip them, bend them, connect them or stack pieces to imagine creative
animals, vehicles, and more with these brightly colored pieces. Several themed set that are all compatible together.
- Ages: 4 and up
- MSRP: $19.99
- BUY NOW ON AMAZON
WOODEN MAGNET BLOCKS (Tegu)
If you are looking for the look of traditional wooden building blocks but want the benefit of magnet building toys, this is the marriage of the two! These are no plastic, non-toxic wood blocks, with water-based lacquer finish. There are several sets that range in size, colors and themes.
- Ages: 1 and up
- MSRP: $30 and up
- BUY NOW ON AMAZON
All in all, magnet toys are great for a variety of educational and play needs. My best suggestion, as a parent, is to get the smallest sets of each brand so you have a great mix and match collection for lots of play possibilities!