I still remember the day when our older son received his first box of magnetic tiles called Magnatiles. We hadn't seen them before in any of the toy stores but they looked super cool. I recently sent this picture to the friend who gave us the tiles and wrote to her about how these have been the most beloved toys either one of our sons ever received.
What Are Magnetic Tiles
If you haven't seen them before, magnetic tiles are colorful tiles that come in different shapes including squares, various triangles and rectangles, that have tiny magnets all around them allowing them to be attached to the other tiles. I've seen our boys build so many structures using these magnetic tiles, from castles to car washes and everything in between.
What Age Are They Best For
I'll be perfectly honest here. There are times when my husband and I have started building our own creations while cleaning these up. Both our 2.5 year old and our 6 year play with them- ALL. THE. TIME. I would say that they should be introduced to kids around the 1.5 year old mark or later, since they do require some amount of gross motor skills. However, I really don't think there's a specific age cut-off where they kids wouldn't find them useful or interesting (depending on your child's personality of course).
Which Brand to Buy
Our first set of magnetic tiles was by the original company, Magnatiles. And they're amazing. However, a small 32-piece set of Magnatiles is $49.00, which to me, feels very expensive. While doing some research on Amazon, I found this set of similar magnetic building tiles by a company called Playmags. Their 100-piece starter set was only $63.99 which is an incredible price for these.
Now I will put a disclaimer here. We've had our oldest tiles for about 4.5 years now and we haven't had a single one fall apart or the magnets come out of them. Both our Magnatiles and PlayMag sets are all fully functional without any cracks or issues, despite being regularly used and abused. However, if you read the reviews, there are instances of both breaking which can be a serious concern. In short, always supervise your kids when they're playing with toys, no matter how safe they are or what kind of guarantees they come with.
4 Reasons I LOVE Them
Here are four reasons why I absolutely LOVE these magnetic tiles and why I'd recommend them to every parent.
As I mentioned before, both our 6-year-old and 2.5 year old play so happily with these. These tiles give so much room for both of their imaginations to thrive. Plus, they allow them to build really awesome creations on their own, with little help from the adults. A toy that can keep two kids from different age groups equally entertained is a definite winner in my book
These tiles really help with developing both fine and gross motor skills. They can be stacked horizontally, lined up vertically, shaped to build arches or laid flat to build a floor. The list of what you can do with them is endless. And each one of those activities help improve motor skills and hand-eye coordination which is amazing.
They are an excellent way to teach kids shapes, colors, types of triangles, cause and effect and basic geometry. I'm always amazed by the structures that our 2.5-year-old is able to build using the magnetic tiles. Every time he builds something and it falls apart, he learns a little more about how things work when building a house. More importantly, helping him identify colors or shapes while playing offers me a wonderful opportunity to teach while engaging in a fun, and memorable activity.
The clean is incredibly easy. Because these tiles are magnetic, they stick to each other and so you can literally pick up the tiles by stacking them on top of each other. It means you can have the entire play area cleaned up in less than 5 minutes. The ease of cleanup also means that we can have the kids clean up their own play-area. This is amazing when there's no whining for days because it's “too much work.” As much as I love Legos, I hate having to clean them up because the get everywhere. These magnetic tiles offer building opportunities to hone the imagination without taking an eon and a half to clean up.
I believe very strongly that we need to instill environmentally positive habits in our kids. Rather than buying them 5 cheap plastic toys that would get tossed, consider investing in these magnetic building blocks. They will cost more but they will also last you a long time and be a source of long-term enjoyment for your kids. If you are interested in these tiles, you can check them out on Amazon. The original Magnatiles can be found here and the Playmags here. Do your kids have a toy they absolutely love across different ages and if so, what is it? Share in the comments below!