When kids play with magnetic toys, they learn about gravity. About stability. About the basics of construction. About building something from scratch, something that originated in their imagination. Magnetic toys, when well-made, last forever.
Magnetic toys and blocks encourage open-ended play, and are just as suitable for kids playing alone as kids engaging in group play. Kids are captivated by the mysterious force that draws opposite charges together, which makes it a potent means of both entertaining and educating your child simultaneously. In fact, some of our favorite toys carefully straddle this line, enthralling children while also building the blocks upon which art and the sciences will tower later in their lives. It’s a win for you and a ton of fun for them. And of course, as with all toys, make sure kids are supervised and know about any risks.
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Our favorites all have one thing in common: the encouragement to explore. Each has an option in which your child is challenged in ways he or she hasn’t been before. That challenge makes playtime and learning enjoyable. In the end you both win—and future report cards should prove it.
Simple in concept and yet with endless creative options, the PicassoTiles set offers a way to jumpstart your child’s learning while fooling him or her into thinking they’re just another fun toy. The only limitations are the constraints of your child’s mind. It’s best for children three and up.
The five archetypal magnetic toy pieces are edged with magnets, which snap together easily to create two- and three-dimensional shapes. As he or she is building, your child is learning basic geometric principles and shapes, which will serve him or her later in formal education. When not in use, they pack up quickly and easily, and unlike LEGOs, they are difficult to misplace and unlikely to cause you pain should you step on one in the dark.
Both sides on the inside of this case are magnetic, and kids ages three to six can attach the shapes to the inside of the case, building whatever they want. The case closes shut, so nothing gets lost.
These 46 shapes help kids learn about shapes and the basics of geometry, in addition to strengthening their fine motor skills. But all that side, it’s just fun to stick things to a magnetized case and see what happens.
For dads searching for a clean sketchpad that their children can use over and over again, the Giromag tablet allows children to draw to their hearts’ content and, when the masterpiece has been achieved, wipe clean with the sweep of a hand. It’s best for children ages three and up.
The magnetic-tipped pen draws from the pad’s internal reserve of small steel balls, which lodge in the 12-inch-squared perforated top. Those balls create lines and shapes to create patterns imagined or interpreted by your child. After, simply take the pen’s side and rub it over the surface of the pad, which knocks the balls back into the body. Voila, the surface is as good as new. Use after use, the pen’s powerful magnetic nib continues to allow your child to create with little cleanup and no mess.
Combining the best of youth drawing aids and building blocks, the Melissa & Doug magnetic pattern blocks set is a great precursor for your budding artist. From a trusted name in childhood development toys, it’s as close to a sure thing you can get. It’s best for children ages three to six.
With 120 magnetic, geometric pieces, your child can follow one of 12 included patterns, assembling them on the board. Once your son or daughter grasps the concept, he or she can be turned loose to explore the possibilities within the space. Once the creative time is finished, the set packs into an included snap-top acrylic case.
The HABA town maze combines magnets with a tabletop gaming experience. With the charged rod, your child navigates the balls around the board while creatively solving problems en route. It’s best for children ages two to five.
Your child must navigate and separate the colored balls through the maze with only his or her magnetic rod. Along the way, passages are blocked, necessitating creative problem solving and hours of challenge and enjoyment. The balls themselves are sealed into the eight-by-10-inch board, which makes it a great option for mess-free traveling entertainment.
It's a log cabin/magnetic toy mashup. This magnetic toy set has everything builders need to create their own log cabin. Great for ages three and up, this set encourages critical thinking and creative play.
A magnetic log cabin made of rainbow colors? Yes, please. And when kids are bored with the design, they can use the magnetic tiles to create whatever they want.
Kids two and up can get their first (supervised) taste of magnetic play with this bird feeder. Simply use the bird head to grab the insects in the tree. Plus, it helps kids learn colors, counting, and cause and effect.
Kids hold the bird handle and use it to put the colorful caterpillars into the tree. It takes concentration, patience, and hand-eye coordination.
In this case, we're saving the best for last. The OG of magnetic toys, Magnatiles are pricey, yes, but they stand the test of time, and then some. They let kids build whatever their brains dream up.
You can start with this set of magnetic tiles, and then build your way up. Ideal for kids three and older, the set lets them build 3D creations ranging from castles to forts to cars to animals to whatever.
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