Long before Charlie was old enough for Magnatiles, I started scouring my local parenting listserv for a used set because they were so pricey and I knew how popular they were. Two years went by and not a single set came up for sale. Finally my mom bought Charlie a set shortly after he turned 3, and he immediately became obsessed. Now I understood why the reviews said that Magnatiles were the only toy that kids played with everyday…. for 6 years.
Magnatiles make building so quick and easy because each plastic tile has magnets around its borders. Previously we had a lovely set of Tegu magnetic blocks, but you had to place the blocks on the right polarity so that they would stick, which can be a little confusing for young kids. This isn’t an issue with Magnatiles. As soon as we opened up the box, Charlie was building towers. His structures quickly became increasingly complex, while he was learning all about geometry!
The original Magnatiles set comes with these 5 pieces – two sizes of squares and three different triangles. It’s amazing how many different things you can build with just these 5 shapes. I really do think that you need the 100 piece set because the more pieces you have, the more complex structures you can build. Even Olive has been playing with Magnatiles since before she was 2, and she can build some pretty cool structures herself now!
Olive and Charlie play with Magnatiles every day, and they fight over them almost every day. So we recently decided to buy a second set because we knew they would play with it for years, and even after that it would have a very high resale value. We decided to purchase the 48 piece Magnatiles expansion set, which includes the same pieces as the original Magnatiles set above, but also has some special pieces. I really wish it came with two cars as the kids can’t get enough of playing with the car!
Then we also ordered this Magnetic Stick and Stack Idea book that kind of blew our minds because we never would have thought to build structures like these. They range from simple and flat like on the left, to much more complicated on the right.
Here’s a rocket that Charlie built straight out of the book:
Here are a couple more things that Charlie has built recently. On the left is Megatron (the villain in Transformers) and on the right is a little Transformer.
Below is a chair and some pyramids.
There are many similar products to Magnatiles out these days, including Magformers, MetroMags, Magnetic Stick n Stack, and Playmags, which are all sold at a lower price point. Mrs. Wagon wrote a review on Magformers here. I’m pretty sure that they’re all similar to Magnatiles, but I’ve never used them personally. For the most part the shapes are the same, but some have different pieces like windows, which are a really cool piece to have. I did read the reviews extensively hoping to purchase a more inexpensive version of Magnatiles, but in the end the mixed reviews led me to stick with Magnatiles since I knew that they had taken a beating over the past year and were still in great shape. However rather than the expansion set of Magnatiles, I think I should have purchased this set of magnetic cars from Playmags which includes 4 cars and 20 gates for $30 so that each kid could have two cars. Unfortunately I didn’t see that they were available until I wrote this review!
To say that we love Magnatiles is an understatement. It has improved both Charlie and Olive’s fine motor and building skills. It’s taught them to share and play together (when Olive was younger she just used to knock all of Charlie’s towers down). It’s taught Charlie about geometry, pattern recognition, logic, and math, which is going to come in handy when he takes his gifted and talented test this weekend! It keeps them playing happily and independently every day while we cook. And it’s just fun!
Over the past year, Magnatiles have been the only toy that the kids have played with every single day, and I know that they have many more years of play ahead of them! I can’t recommend them more highly!
Does your little one love Magnatiles?