Magnetic Attraction for All Ages
- What: Magnet tiles
- When: Age two and up
- Why: Appeals to wide age range and encourages creative play
- Where: Amazon
If you want to invest in a solid set of toys that will last, check out Magna-Tiles. These clear plastic building blocks have magnets safely embedded inside them. They attract each other, and stick together to create myriad structures.
My kids all love them, despite the age range between them. At 2.5, 5 and 6.5 years old, they all build with them. The simple concept appeals to my youngest child, who makes basic shapes like squares and rectangles. My middle child uses them to fuel her imaginative play, creating schools, apartments with balconies and multiple decks, and nests for her various stuffed animals. And my oldest has mastered the art of combining more complex shapes to create architecturally interesting and stable garages, trains, and much much more. If you decide to buy, know that the manufacturer recommends them for ages 3 and up. I counted the days until my eldest turned 3 because I couldn’t wait to get my own set of these imaginative construction materials.
In four years, we’ve had one tile break. A small piece of the edge cracked and fell off. It still sticks fine, but we’ve removed it for safety just in case (and because my kids object to any kind of imperfection in their building materials. And in their food, like any green stuff lurking in there.)
They work especially well for kids who like to build but have younger, mobile siblings who like to destroy. Creations last longer and fall apart less catastrophically due to the havoc crawlers and family pets can often wreak.
I have direct experience with the Magna-Tiles brand, but I’ve interacted with some other brands as well. I can’t tell a difference beyond the color of plastic without more extensive research, so if budget’s an issue, consider some of the alternative , more affordable options.