My nieces have been playing with magnetic tiles for a couple of years now and it’s one of their favorite toys. Magnetic tiles are colorful, fun, educational and can be played alone or together with a sibling or a parent. As their aunt, I love that I gifted them something that they still play with. They get so excited to show me their creations when I come over to visit and it’s so much fun to sit down with them and play too.
If you’re looking for a toy that will spark your toddler’s creativity and expand their mind; magnetic tiles are a great option.
Getting Started With Magnetic Tile Sets
Magnetic tiles especially bought for toddlers should be versatile. We picked the most basic magnetic tile sets for this review and stayed away from the sets that had instructions to create specific things. Toddlers don’t care about instructions, they just want to play! We recommend getting as many tiles as you can comfortably afford. Think of it this way; the more magnetic tiles you get, the more options your toddler will have to create. Plus, magnetic tile sets are for all ages and will be a toy they can keep playing with for years to come.
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8 Reasons To Invest In Magnetic Tiles For Your Children
With a hefty $60 to $100 price tag, it’s no wonder why parents second guess buying their toddler a magnetic tile set. After all, it’s just a toy, right? Not really. Magnetic tile sets are more than just solo entertainment. They’re also educational and there are many activities that can be done together as a family. Here are 8 reasons why you should invest in magnetic tiles for your children.
1. Limits Screen Time
Magnetic tiles are a fantastic way to curb screen time. They provide hours of entertainment and no instructions are needed. The American Academy of Pediatrics highly recommends limiting your toddler’s screen time to no more than an hour of screen time a day. While that doesn’t sound like a long time to us adults, for toddlers that’s a lot of passive entertainment that can be better used for hands-on learning.
2. They’re A Toy That Is Played With
Dolls, cars, stuffed animals and so many other toys at this age are only used for a few months and then forgotten about. You find yourself taking garbage bags full of toys to the donation center at the end of the year, every single year, but you won’t with magnetic tiles. Magnetic tiles are a completely open ended toy that grows with your child. They’re more than just for building too. As a parent there are many hands-on learning activities you can do with your child that’ll expand their mind and reinforce everything they’re learning in school.
3. Boosts STEM Skills
Introducing magnetic tiles into your toddlers’ play routines could get them started on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics on the best note. Magnetic tiles encourage your youngsters to ask questions, be creative, be curious, and work as a team to solve problems. Plus, it does these through several levels of play, so your kids are never bored and are constantly challenged.
In building a simple structure using magnetic tiles, your children are already applying what they unconsciously know about gravity. Deciding whether or not extra tiles are needed to make the structure stronger or figuring out why it collapsed tests out their engineering skills. This could take several more tries of putting the tiles together, which builds both resilience and critical thinking skills.
Magnetic tiles encourage curiosity in a way other educational toys don’t, at least concerning toys for early age groups. They almost always keep a child asking questions. Which color goes where? What happens if I mix this color with that? To find out the answers, kids resort to experimenting until they get the results they want.
4. Improves Hand-Eye Coordination
At two years old, kids aren’t expected to have impressive hand-eye coordination. However, this skill is something parents can start honing in their children as early as toddlers age. They can do this by relying on innovative toys, such as magnetic tiles. That way, by the time kids start learning to write, button their shirts up, or tie their shoes, they won’t have such a hard time with the process.
Magnetic tiles can help develop a child’s hand-eye coordination. As children piece the tiles together, they improve the relationship between their hands and eyes. Then, as they continue to build and take apart tile structures, their skills in this department will only become more complex. In turn, they’d be able to take on even more challenging constructs.
5. Encourages Creative and Imaginative Play
Magnetic tiles are the perfect tools for helping kids explore their creative and imaginative sides. Through imaginative play, children develop a better understanding of themselves and the world around them. Also, it helps them improve their language and social skills through role-playing.
Facing the challenging stretches of tile building helps toddlers better manage their emotions and develop patience. It teaches them how to express themselves better, including their likes, dislikes, and the things that inspire them. As a parent, this gives you an idea of where your child’s interests lie.
You’d be surprised what your child’s mind conjures into reality through their magnetic tiles. The opportunities to build and create using magnetic tiles are practically endless. It even ties into bookish play with ease, allowing your kids to alternate between both styles of imaginative play effortlessly.
6. Develops Motor Skills
Magnetic-tile building influences both a child’s gross and fine motor skills. This activity helps develop movements in large body parts used for more physically demanding activities, like jumping and running around. It also serves as an obstacle course for developing movements and motions necessary for throwing, building objects, and stepping over tiles.
Working on magnetic tiles also benefits fine motor skills, which focuses on the smaller muscles responsible for more precise movements. It can encourage your kids’ penchant for the arts with how it improves drawing, painting, and writing skills.
7. Improves Literacy and Numerical Skills
Magnetic tiles could be part of the recipe for your child’s academic success. It opens the door for literacy and numerical development in your youngsters.
They can use tiles to build numbers, patterns, and shapes, improving recognition of these figures. They also help improve a child’s understanding of positional mathematics through the placement of tiles behind, in front of, next to, or at the back of an object.
8. Shapes and Colors Identification
Magnetic tiles come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. While sitting down with your toddler for playtime you can engage in activities that teach them their colors and their shapes.
As your toddler grows older, you can slowly start introducing geometry vocabulary. Interactive play with your toddler doesn’t need to be a pop quiz. It can be as simple as asking your child to pass the red isosceles triangle while you both build your own creations. Even though this sounds a bit advanced for older toddlers, this helps them learn the terminology now before they start learning geometry in school.
Top 5 Magnetic Tiles For Toddlers
We considered and tested out ten magnetic tile sets by all different manufacturers. After testing, reading other user reviews, and researching each set thoroughly, only five made the cut and were worthy of purchasing.
$47.99 | (was , now off)
Picasso Tiles are great for toddlers just starting out with magnetic tile play sets. Priced at just under fifty cents a piece, they’re a cheaper and slightly less magnetic version of the popular Magna-Tiles brand. For younger toddlers or those with younger siblings, these can be easier for them to pull apart and more pieces for your money is always better with toys like these.
What We Liked
This set comes with versatile pieces that can be used to build anything your child imagines. It’s not like other boxed sets where there’s only enough pieces to make one very specific thing.
What We Didn’t Like
There are numerous reviews of the tiles splitting apart when dropped onto hard surfaces. However, we tried to replicate this under normal circumstances and couldn’t.
$125.37 | (was , now off)
Magna-Tiles are the original magnetic tile set on the market, but they’re also the more expensive. A set per tile will cost you just over a dollar each. Made 100% non-toxic with good-grade ABS plastic that’s also BPA and phthalate-free and built for strength these tiles are safe to play with.
What We Liked
Magna-Tiles have more options and add-on sets as your child gets older. There are so many sets to choose from now too like a house set, glow in the dark, cars, cities, construction sites, and others. While these sets wouldn’t appeal to toddlers, you can buy a starter set knowing the investment will last a few years.
What We Didn’t Like
It seems like newer Magna-Tile sets have a noticeable decrease in quality. They’re more lightweight and not as strong magnetically as previous sets. They’re still great to play with but if you’re a long-time customer of Magna-Tiles, you will certainly notice a difference.
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Connetix Tiles rival Magna-Tiles with their well-made tiles that are built safely. They’re made with non-toxic food-grade ABS plastic that’s BPA free. For extra safety, their tiles are riveted and ultrasonically welded together keeping those stronger magnets inside their tiles when dropped. At just over a dollar a piece they do cost a little more than the other magnetic tile brands, but it is well worth the price if you can afford it.
What We Liked
Connetix Tiles are bigger and great for toddlers. Their sets come with magnetic base plates that are super helpful in building larger and taller creations by making them more stable too.
What We Didn’t Like
We loved that Connetix Tiles are made very well, but the magnets inside the tiles can be a bit too strong for younger toddlers. We still like Connetix Tiles, but we recommend keeping a closer eye on your children with them.
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ShapeMags sets are more geared towards creating buildings and include pieces that really spark the imagination for play once your child’s creations are complete. You’ll find more detailed pieces like windows, gates, doors, people and car bases that don’t come included in the base sets for PicassoTiles, Magna-Tiles, and Connetix Tiles.
What We Liked
ShapeMags are an affordable option to families that find the bigger brands to be less accessible. Coming in at around forty four cents a piece, ShapeMags are a third of the price of the leading magnetic tile sets.
What We Didn’t Like
ShapeMags don’t work quite the same way that other magnetic tile sets do. With their tiles you have to put them together a certain way for them to stick together. Toddlers don’t understand polarity and can become quite frustrated with ShapeMags. especially if they’ve used other magnetic sets before.
$175.00 | (was , now off)
If you’re a parent that actively seeks out toys without plastic, Earthtiles is a great alternative option to other magnetic tiles on the market. Their tiles are made of sustainably-sourced birch wood and non-toxic paint.
What We Liked
Earthtiles are beautiful natural toy and nothing like the cheap plastic clutter most parents are used to accumulating. Even though these are noisy compared to other magnetic tile sets, they do make a satisfying click noise when joined together.
What We Didn’t Like
Earthtiles are not a quiet toy. They’re built a little bit differently than plastic magnetic tiles and rattle when picked up. You can hear the magnets moving around inside the tiles as your children play. Also Earthiles are much like ShapeMags when it comes to having to follow a magnet’s polarity to get them to stick together.
How To Choose Magnetic Tile Toy Sets
There are so many magnetic tile toy sets on the market now. So how do parents, aunts and uncles know how to choose the best one? Here are some things to watch out for while shopping around for magnetic tile toy sets.
Price – The more magnetic tiles, the more fun and the more possibilities! We recommend getting at least a hundred magnetic tiles for one child. More if you have multiple children. Unfortunately tiles do add up quickly. Expect to spend between fifty cents and a dollar fifty per tile. But think of it this way; a LOL Surprise Doll costs up to $40 and that’s just for one doll. Your child will play with it for a year, maybe longer, but then they forget about it and they aren’t educational like magnetic tiles are.
Quality Materials – Quality of the materials used matter with magnetic tiles. You want tiles made with non-toxic materials that are food grade and BPA free, have smooth edges and reinforced corners. Poor quality tiles become a safety issue. All magnetic tile sets we found with questionable build and material quality have been left out from our recommendations.
Versatility – For toddlers, we love magnetic tile sets that have the most generic pieces. While the more specialized sets are really cool, most are far two advanced for two and three year olds just starting out with magnetic tiles.
Compatibility – Like any other toy, not all magnetic tile sets will be compatible with another brand’s set. To save money and time having to return sets, we recommend sticking to one brand if possible.
Magnetic Strength – Not all magnetic tile sets have the same magnetic strength. For toddlers, you want your tiles to have enough magnetic strength to build and not frustrate, but not so strong that they snap together and pinch little fingers. We purposely omitted cheaply made tiles with little magnetic strength.
Magnetic Tiles FAQs
Before we purchased our magnetic tile sets, we had a ton of questions. We wanted to get an educational toy for our nieces that would be used for longer than a year and be interactive. Magnetic tiles were recommended to us and have been a big hit. Here are some of the questions we had going into magnetic tile shopping.
Can 2 year olds play with magnetic tiles?
Most magnetic toy sets recommend ages three and older, but if your two year old is advanced or as a parent you’d like to get a head start, with proper supervision 2 year olds are okay to play with them. Magnetic tiles are cost-effective educational toys that your kids can enjoy throughout the different stages of early childhood. They might not be the safest toys to have around genuinely curious toddlers, but they shouldn’t pose a danger to them with the right supervision.
Are magnetic tiles safe for toddlers?
Yes, magnetic tiles can be safe for toddlers to play with when properly supervised. However, they can be life threatening if the tiles break and your child ingests the magnets. We recommend supervising your children closely while playing with them. When they’re not being played with, please pick them up and put them away up out of your toddler’s reach. All the magnetic tile sets we reviewed are extraordinarily hard to break in strenuous use, but we still recommend taking all safety precautions.
What age group are magnetic tiles for?
Magnetic Tiles are for ages three and up. Children and adults of all ages can have fun with them! In our research, we’ve found that children from ages three to ten get the most use out of them.
What is the best brand of magnet tiles?
Here at The Mother Huddle we preferred PicassoTiles due to their lighter weight and lower cost per tile. Magna-Tile came in at a close second. They were great, but with more than one child and double the price, it only made sense for us to rate PiccasoTiles first.
What can you make with magnetic tiles?
You can make anything you want! From ramps, to dinosaurs, cars, whole cities and more; you’re only limited to what your imagination dreams up.
Are different magnetic tiles brands compatible with others?
Unfortunately some brands are compatible with one another and some aren’t. We recommend choosing one brand and sticking with it to avoid disappointment. Not all magnetic tiles are the same size and some are built differently and don’t work together at all.
How do you clean magnetic tiles?
The best way to clean magnetic tiles is to simply wipe them down with a damp, soapy cloth or child safe cleaner. We do not recommend fully submerging the tiles because water can get inside them and mold over time. If for some reason you do get water inside the tiles, you can put them in a bag of rice to soak up the water.
How many magnetic tiles do I need?
The more magnetic tiles you get, the better! If you only have one child, a 100 pieces seems to be the best. If you buy any less than that you won’t have enough as your toddler gets older. Especially if friends come over or family members sit down to play too. Magnetic tiles are hard to resist playing with! If you have more than one child, we recommend at least two sets to avoid any fighting or arguments over the tiles.