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Best Magnetic Tiles: A Kids’ Perfect Gift for STEAM Learning

by Helen
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The Best Magnetic Tiles Sets

Magnetic tiles for kids are typically made from wood or plastic and come in sets of various shapes, like squares and triangles. They nurture shape and pattern recognition, help children learn scientific concepts like gravity and magnets, plus promote imaginative thinking and play. They also provide parents with a few moments of quiet playtime.   Magnetic tiles are a perfect choice if you're looking for an excellent gift for a child who loves building and creating.    There are magna tiles for kids of a wide range of ages.

Promoting Creativity and Imagination

Magnetic blocks offer a versatile and educational play adventure for toddlers and preschoolers. They promote creativity, independent and group play, fine motor skills, and STEM learning, minimizing screen time and other electronic distractions. They are also a valuable complement to any early childhood learning environment.

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What is Steam Learning with Magnetic Tiles

Magnetic tiles are vital in building emotional and physical development, supporting everything from strength-building to confidence. Magnetic tiles also provide children a fun way to build without needing the strength, skill, and visual control required by interlocking or traditional blocks. Since the magnets secure the tiles' position when placed, your young builder will feel more confident.

Deciding which magnetic tile brand or set suits your family can take hours of research since many brands exist. We researched and spoke to moms to help us narrow down a list of the best magnetic tiles for kids, focusing on developmentally appropriate ones that will encourage creativity in your child.

Magnet tiles can be an excellent tool for children to learn about science and engineering in a fun and interactive way. They offer a hands-on experience that allows children to experiment with different shapes and structures while developing their creativity, problem-solving skills, and spatial awareness. The magnetic properties of the tiles also make them ideal for teaching basic concepts such as attraction and repulsion. You can use them to demonstrate the principles of magnetism safely and easily. Additionally, magnet tiles are durable and easy to clean, making them a practical option for parents and educators looking for a versatile, long-lasting educational toy.

Lego STEM Concepts

LEGO Education SPIKE Prime Set

Have you heard about the LEGO Education SPIKE Prime Set? It's an awe-inspiring tool that combines LEGO building with coding and robotics. It's designed for students aged 11-14 and can be used in a classroom or home setting. Kids have the ability to build and program their own robots using sensors, motors, and a drag-and-drop coding language with the set. It's a great way to introduce kids to STEM concepts and helps them with developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills. I think kids would love to try it out! It comes with 295 LEGO DUPLO bricks, including gears, pulleys, boats, tracks, and figures; 8 double-sided building inspiration cards with 16 models to build. Kiddos can create slides, carousels, shooting galleries, and whatever their creative minds can dream of! Plus, it includes 5 activity idea cards to encourage playful learning.

LEGO Education My XL World Set

I'd happily share more about the LEGO Education My XL World set.  This set is designed for children aged 3-7 years old and includes a range of LEGO® bricks and figures that can be used to create different scenes and scenarios.  The set is educational, helping children to develop essential skills such as communication, problem-solving, and creativity while having fun.  Let me know if you have any more questions or if there's anything else I can help you with.  The 480 LEGO DUPLO elements include a building plate, 8 figures, wheelbases, windows, doors, and colorful bricks – everything needed to unleash children's imaginations.  

It comes with a Getting Started card with 5 activity ideas, 10 double-sided building inspiration cards with 20 models to build, and an online teacher's guide with 8 standards-aligned—part of the LEGO Education Early Learning system of integrated learning for preschoolers.  It also includes enough bricks for up to 10 sets of LEGO six bricks learning activities.

Best Overall

Magna-Tiles 100-Piece Clear Colors Set

Pros

  • The original magnetic building tiles
  • It comes with 100 tiles
  • Tiles are Made from durable plastic, reinforced to help prevent breakage

Cons

  • Other brands might be sturdier for large builds
  • Higher cost per tile

Magna tiles are the original magnetic tiles invented nearly 30 years ago by a Japanese math teacher. This is one of the brand's best-selling toys. The Magna-Tiles 100-Piece Clear Colors Set comes with 54 squares and 46 triangles. The tiles, made from food-grade plastic, are also BPA-free and are reinforced with the brand's signature lattice lines that prevent plastic cracking, an essential safety feature. The Magna tiles also have a safety feature: metallic corner rivets to help keep the magnets in place; therefore, they will not become choking hazards. 

This creative toy is a wonderfully imaginative and collaborative play tool for building houses, castles, and more. If your child enjoys using this set, it may be a valuable investment that they can use from toddlerhood until their pre-teen years. The Magna-Tiles brand also offers 23 options compatible with this set, themes ranging from building animal to vehicle sets to Magna-Qubix, Magna-Tiles' 3D magnetic tiles collection. Additionally, it is compatible with other brands. Like most other magnetic tiles, the Magna-Tiles 100-Piece Clear Colors Set is best for children ages three and up.

 

Price at time of publishing: $119.99

Specs:

Materials: Food-grade plastic | Shapes: 46 triangles, 54 squares | Number of Pieces: 100 | Recommended Age: 3+ 

Best Budget

Jasonwell Magnetic Tiles

Pros

  • It comes with unique pieces like castle battlements and windows
  • Offers good value for the number of items in the set
  • It comes with an ideas booklet

Cons

  • Plastic is not as reinforced as others
  • Magnets may not be as strong as those of other brands

The Jasonwell Magnetic Tiles set offers remarkable value at half the price of other brand sets of identical size. This set is about $0.46 per piece, compared to roughly $1 per tile in other kits. It all comes with unique tiles with cutouts that imitate doors, windows, and castle battlements to construct special builds. 

This set contains tiles in 12 different sizes: 46 triangles, 38 3-inch squares, two 6-inch squares, 12 3-inch window squares in three styles, 4 rectangles, 4 battlement rectangles, and two 4-wheel wagons. The tiles are made from non-toxic plastic; the pieces are according to the brand they recommend for ages three and up. Although the image on the box shows colors of pink and purple tiles, the colors are randomized, so you could end up without them despite being advertised.

Price at time of publishing: $41.99
Specs:
Number of Pieces: 108 | Shapes: 40 squares, 46 triangles, 4 rectangles, 12 window squares, 4 battlement rectangles, 2 four-wheel wagons | Recommended Age: 3+ | Materials: BPA-free plastic

Best Beginners

Magformers Basic Set

Pros

  • Fewer pieces make it a bit more manageable for beginners
  • Suitable for travel
  • Made with strong permanent magnets 

Cons

  • There are not enough pieces to create elaborate builds
  • Smaller Tiles than those offered by other brands

The Magformers Basic Set includes 30 pieces: 18 squares and 12 triangles, a workable size for beginners and for parents who would like to test magnetic tiles out. Made from non-toxic, BPA-free, and phthalate-free plastic, this set size is small enough for traveling but enough pieces to make figures of medium complexity, like a ball, rocket, or even a house. The instructions include these three objects in the set. 

Cylindrical 1/3-inch neodymium magnets are the strongest type of permanent magnet—allowing for a stronger magnetic force, making your child's creations more sturdy. The set comes in rainbow colors, which help encourage your child to sort by shape and color. The tiles have hollow in the middle and a more outlined shape than solid pieces of plastic, which can be better for younger kiddos just getting started with the hang of gripping magnetic tiles. 

Price at time of publishing: $50
Specs:
Recommended Age: 3+ | Materials: BPA- & phthalate-free plastic | Number of Pieces: 30 | Shapes: 12 triangles, 18 squares

Best For Big Builds

Best Choice Products 265-Piece Kids Colorful Magnetic Tiles Set

Pros

  • The set includes 265 pieces
  • Includes unusual shapes, like windows and doors
  • A large assortment of colors

Cons

  • 68 pieces in the set are not magnetic
  • The magnets are a bit smaller than those of other brands

It offers excellent value of about $0.28 per piece, and the Best Choice Products 265-Piece Kids Colorful Magnetic Tiles Set includes almost 20 different shapes in various colors. There are four playpeople included for more imaginative scenarios—the quantity of tiles allows your child to create large vertical and horizontal 2D and 3D builds. 

Thirty-eight tiles are transparent and not magnetic, which may disappoint some children. Also, 30 decorative window pieces are not magnetic.  

The set also includes:

  • 45 cutout squares, 48 solid-colored squares, six window pane squares, 57 triangles, and six battlement rectangles.
  • 20 rectangles.
  • Four large squares.
  • Two large rectangles.
  • Four play people.
  • Four wagons.

The complete set weighs 13 pounds, which should be considered if traveling with it. 

Price at time of publishing: $75
Specs:
Materials: Plastic | Number of Pieces: 265 | Shapes: 141 squares, 57 triangles, 28 rectangles, 4 wagons, 4 play people | Recommended Age: 3+ 

 

Best Creative

PicassoTiles 61 Piece Set 60 pcs Magnetic Tiles

Pros

  • Highly transparent, which is fitting for 3D window builds
  • Compatible with similar shapes and sizes sets from other brands
  • Compatible with different types of PicassoTiles sets

Cons

  • It might not be as durable as other brands

This 60-piece PicassoTiles set is between the brand's 100-piece set and 32-piece set; a great collection of tiles is an excellent option for beginners and advanced architects. Kids can build flowers, castles, animals, plus other ideas your child can dream of. This tile set offers great value, at roughly $0.50 per piece, and can encourage creativity through its numerous shapes. 

It includes four large squares, 24 small squares, and 32 triangles in various colors. This set is compatible with other styles of PicassoTiles and similar magnetic tiles other brands offer. To enrich this set, PicassoTiles also offers add-on sets, such as windows and click-inscars, and figurines

Price at time of publishing: $26
Specs:
Materials: Plastic | Number of Pieces: 60 | Shapes: 32 triangles, 28 squares | Recommended Age: 3+

Best Compatible

PlayMags 100-Piece Magnetic Tiles Building Set

Pros

  • Use with other brands
  • Cost-effective for the number of tiles
  • Made with exclusive Supermag magnets

Cons

  • Narrow letter snap-ins
  • Not all the pieces are magnetic

PlayMags 100-Piece Magnetic Tile Building Blocks Set is an excellent option for beginners due to its relative affordability for the quantity of tiles. They also work well with other tile brands, although the builds may not be as structurally sturdy as when you build with tiles of the same brand. It comes with various tiles in square, rectangle, and triangle shapes. It also features click-ins, which are pieces that can snap into PlayMag cutoutcutout tiles and come in two styles—windows and letters. There are only 13 letters included in the set, which might frustrate children who want to spell words that require more letters. The tiles are visually appealing in a variety of bold colors.

Price at time of publishing: $60
Specs:
Recommended Age: 3+ | Materials: Plastic | Number of Pieces: 100 | Shapes: 28 squares, 12 rectangles, 30 triangles, 20 click-ins

Best Wooden

Earthtiles Wooden Magnetic Tiles

Pros

  • Made from long-lasting, sustainable birch wood
  • Non-toxic finish
  • The company plants a tree for every toy purchased

Cons

  • Not compatible with other brands
  • Relatively small set limits build

Made from birch wood, the Earthtiles Wooden Magnetic Tiles Set by Big Future Toys contains 32 pieces: 20 squares and 12 triangles. It's a small yet manageable set that's good for children who are beginning to explore magnetic tiles. 

They are more aesthetically pleasing to some parents than colored plastic and can be better suited for children easily overwhelmed by too many colors. They are made from sustainably sourced wood and have a non-toxic, phthalate-free finish. Big Future Toys plants a tree for every toy sold and wants its wooden magnetic tile sets to be family heirlooms.

Price at time of publishing: $59
Specs:
Recommended Age: 3+ | Materials: Birch wood | Number of Pieces: 32 | Shapes: 20 squares and 12 triangles

Best Themed

Magformers Log Cabin 48 Pieces

Pros

  • Features strongest magnets available
  • STEM-authenticated by STEM.org
  • It comes with a step-by-step guide for making a log cabin, treehouse, and farm

Cons

  • Limited amount of plain magnetic tiles

The Magformers Log Cabin 48-Piece Set is a great themed addition to any existing magnetic tile collection. It's also a good one for beginners, as it may be easier for some children to start imagining by playing with a specific set and building guidelines before branching out into more complex or creative builds. 

Magformers tiles are made with neodymium rare-earth magnets, the strongest magnets available on the market. Its magnets audibly click into place to let users know the pieces are correctly joined. 

Price at time of publishing: $60
Specs:
Recommended Age: 3+ | Materials: BPA-free ABS plastic | Number of Pieces: 48 | Shapes: 8 triangles, 20 squares, 4 walls, 1 tree, 11 brick accessories, 2 grass tiles, 2 windows

Best For Older Kids

PicassoTiles Marble Run 100-Piece Magnetic Tile Race Track

Pros

  • Endless configurations
  • Suitable for advanced problem-solving
  • Pieces click into place

Cons

  • Not compatible with other brands
  • Not fully compatible with other non-marble run PicassoTiles
  • Small marble pieces could be a choking hazard

The PicassoTiles Marble Run 100-Piece Magnetic Tile Race Track is a fun addition to any magnetic tile collection. To assemble a large marble track run build, nine different shapes are included, such as slopes and funnels. This set allows children to use logic and problem-solving to figure out where the marbles will go and is an excellent option for siblings or friends to play together. 

Made from BPA-free and lead-free plastic and steel, this is a good choice for advanced or older magnetic tile users looking for something different. The steel marbles could be deemed a choking hazard if young children are in the house and should be stored properly. 

Price at time of publishing: $40
Specs:
Recommended Age: 3+ | Materials: BPA-free and lead-free plastic and steel | Number of Pieces: 100 | Shapes: 16 quarter round turns, 34 magnetic square track tiles, 34 slides, 3 spinning funnel trays, 3 slopes, 4 triangles, 5 steel-weighted marbles, 1 square

Best Animal-Themed

Magna-Tiles Arctic Animals 25 Piece Set

Pros

  • Compliments other magnetic tile sets with five animals
  • It has unique scenery and magnetic tiles

Cons

  • Limited builds using the set exclusively
  • Only one of each decorative panel

The Magna-Tiles Arctic Animals Set comprises 25 pieces, including a penguin, seal, whale, polar bear, and baby polar bear. It has eight small squares, eight triangles, and four quarter circles to make artic-inspired scenes. Printed tiles featuring snowflakes, icicles, and ocean water motifs are also included.

Made from BPA- and phthalate-free plastic, the pieces are a nice cohesive and contained set that can be played with alone or with other Magna-Tiles sets and other brands since the animal figurines aren't dependent on magnetic tiles. This could be a good option if a child is into animals and wants to begin exploring playing with magnetic tiles. 

Price at time of publishing: $38
Specs:
Recommended Age: 3+ | Materials: BPA-free ABS plastic | Number of Pieces: 25 Shapes: 8 squares, 8 triangles, 4 quarter circles, 5 animals

Best Large Size

PicassoTiles 28-Piece Large Stabilizer Building Block Base

Pros

  • Stabilizers help support large builds
  • It can be used as a base with other magnetic tiles
  • Ideal for more efficient builds

Cons

  • May need another set of tiles to create better builds
  • The set box weighs approximately 12 lbs

For avid magnetic tile architects, shortcuts like the PicassoTiles 28-piece Large Stabilizer Building Block Base can make an excellent addition to a collection. These pre-fused tiles are compatible with PicassoTiles and other brands and allow quicker bigger builds. 

They're most advantageous when used with existing sets, so PicassoTiles 28-Piece Large Stabilizer Building Block Base might not be the best first investment for a beginner. For users who want to make large-scale builds, however, they're an essential part of a collection. 

Price at time of publishing: $60
Specs:
Recommended Age: 3+ | Materials: Plastic | Number of Pieces: 28 Shapes: 28 rectangles

Best Glow

Magna-Tiles Glow in the Dark Set

Pros

  • Unique glow-in-the-dark effect
  • Compatible with other brands
  • Can be charged in direct sunlight or with included LED light

Cons

  • Limited set with only 16 pieces
  • Glow might not last long enough

Magna-Tiles Glow in the Dark adds another element of fun and novelty to building with magnetic tiles. The tiles are chargeable in direct sunlight or with an LED flashlight, exposing a child to scientific concepts. There are 16 pieces: four squares and 12 triangles.

The set is limited as a stand-alone toy for older children or kids who are familiar with building, but it could be an excellent addition to an avid magnetic tile architect's toolbox. It might also suit younger kiddos just starting and needing fewer tiles.

Price at time of publishing: $30
Specs:
Recommended Age: 3+ | Materials: ABS plastic | Number of Pieces: 16 Shapes: 4 squares, 12 triangles

What to Look for in Magnetic Tiles

Age Appropriateness

Magnetic tiles encourage STEAM learning from toddlerhood through elementary school. Almost all magnetic tile brands are recommended for ages three and up due to the choking hazard that could be present if the magnets snap off or the plastic breaks. Tegu's Magnetic Wooden Block Set is a good option for those looking for a suitable magnetic tile toy for a child as young as 12 months. 

It is essential to point out to follow age recommendations on the product due to their choking hazard and medical concerns with swallowing magnets. Also, damaged, chipped, or broken tiles should be thrown away immediately.

Quality and Durability of Magna Tiles

The quality and durability of magnetic tiles are essential factors in making your decision. Plastics and magnets come in variable strengths, which play into how your child builds and feels about the toy. A set made from durable plastic that can withstand being knocked over repeatedly and magnets that will support both 2D and 3D builds. All of our picks meet these standards.

Sturdiness is critical, primarily if the tiles will be used frequently by more than one child. Also, sets with various shapes and sizes-cutout tiles and solid tiles may last longer and have more longevity. Outlined shapes might be easier for kids with smaller hands to use for building. Keeping safety in mind, periodically check the edges to ensure they are rounded and that the plastic is secure to prevent pinching of tiny fingers.

Colors and Shapes of Magna Tiles

Colors and shapes are up to a parent and child's preferences. Some sets come with only certain colors to achieve specific results, such as animals or character builds. The colorful tile sets allow more opportunities to engage in math and science concepts beyond geometry and counting. Kids can practice counting, shape and color recognition, symmetry, patterning, basic engineering, and spatial relationships while playing. They are a fantastic way to introduce STEM learning in early childhood.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

What's an appropriate age for playing with magnetic tiles?

Most magnetic tiles are recommended for children ages three and up. They promote creativity, open-ended play, and development. They can improve areas of development such as early academics, problem-solving, motor, and social-emotional skills. While a child might benefit from magnetic tile play as young as two, it's best to stick with the brand recommendations for ages three and up because plastic and magnetic pieces can become choking hazards. Macaluso says that younger children may be able to enjoy certain types of magnetic tiles with direct, hands-on parental supervision, such as the Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Set, which the brand recommends for ages one to 99.

How many magnetic tiles should you buy?

The number of magnetic tiles you should buy depends on your child and budget. Beginners should start with a set that has 30 to 50 pieces, like the Magformers Basic Set (30 Pieces), to check if your child enjoys playing with them before you invest. If your child truly likes the toy, tile sets containing 100 pieces or more, such as Best Choice Products 265-Piece Kids Colorful Magnetic Tiles Set or the Jasonwell Magnetic Tiles with 108 Pieces, can be helpful to form large builds or multiple builds at one time.

Why are Magna-Tiles so popular?

Magna tiles are popular because they are the original brand, which a Japanese math teacher created. The tiles were imported into the United States almost 30 years ago. Their unique diagonal lattice reinforcement pattern holds up better than other brands. There are nearly 30 different sets of the Magna-Tiles brand, which includes the popular Magna-Tiles 100-Piece Clear Colors Set. Known as the Original Magnetic Building Tiles.

How much do magnetic tiles cost?

Magnetic tiles can be treated as an investment because they cost anywhere from $30 to over $100, depending on the brand and number of tiles included in the set. Most fall from 0.30 cents to $1 per tile. For example, the PicassoTiles 60-piece Set retails for $36 and has 60 pieces, and the PlayMags 100-piece Magnetic Tile Building Set sells for $60.

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