If you are a parent of young toddlers like me, you’re probably always on the lookout for that toy that will stand out above the rest. A toy that will be both engaging and educational, while also being durable, easy to clean and clean up. But none of this matters if your kids really hate it. In this article I want to explore whether Magna Tiles is such a toy.

What is a Magna Tile?

Magna-Tiles are basically magnetized plastic shapes that are made from high grade ABS plastic, which Valtech, the company that makes them, claims to be BPA free as well. The tiles are recommended for children of ages 3 and up, due to a possible choking hazard, although I’m not sure how it’s possible as the pieces are quite big. The Magna-Tile sets come in an array of shapes, all designed to build the most intricate structures with.  Basically, the edges of all the shapes are magnetized, and the edges cling firmly to each other until pulled apart by hand.

The History

It seems that the idea for Magna-Tiles (according to their website), was inspired by the mathematician Pythagoras of Samos who lived between 560 and 480 BC. He is mostly known for his theorem on right triangles,and he believed that if one can better understand mathematical and numerical relationships, one can better understand the world.

Why is it so popular?

Magna-Tiles has become a very popular product due to its ability to keep young minds occupied for hours. Kids seem to come up with the most unique and interesting shapes and buildings. What Pythagoras believed seems to be very true… Children seem to learn a lot about shapes and their relationships, and that, in turn primes their brains for understanding complex mathematics and physics later on. Many people report that it is the only toy their kids play with on a daily basis, without getting tired of it, so its definitely engaging and educational.

What do you get in a set of Magna-Tiles?

There are several different kinds of Magna-Tiles sets, which mainly differ in color and number of pieces in the set. There are two color types namely solid color, which are opaque, or clear color tiles which are semi-transparent. The different sized sets are mainly 32, 48 or 100 pieces, with a good balance of different shapes. The various shapes include small squares, of which there are many, large squares, of which there are typically only a few, Isosceles triangles, right triangles and Equilateral Triangles.

What’s the general consensus of people who tried them out?

Most of the reviews on the web recommend going for the 100 piece set right off the bat, as it provides enough pieces to build a decent sized structure from.  They are also surprisingly easy to clean up due to the fact that they stick together. By far the most reviews have been very positive, but there are also some noteworthy comments in some of the customer reviews:

One person highlighted the fact that his 4 year old child gets frustrated when he tries to pick up the structures he built, and they subsequently collapse. Although others see this as one of the benefits. Some people also complain that they are too expensive, but then again others complement on their durability even when destructive type kids play with them.

Another person also said that the structures one can build are limited in size due to the weak magnetism, and seems to be limited to structures of around 150 pieces. Again, many others say that they bought 200 pieces of different colors (opaque and transparent), and their kids make many multiple structures simultaneously. So all in all there seems to be very little that’s really negative about these.

Where to buy

At the moment, it seems that the 100 piece sets are the cheapest at Amazon, as this is the direct store-front that Valtech (Magna-Tile’s creators) use.

Conclusion

“Every family with kids should have Magna-Tiles” – This is what almost everyone that bought them says. They seem to be a great investment, and chances are your child will love them. The true benefits seem to be that kids quickly learn how the different geometric shapes fit together, and that they get taught logic, spacial relationships, basic math and problem solving skills, all while building creatively.