Magnet toys have been on every kid’s wish list for the holidays and birthday presents — for a reason. Magnets are awesome. There is something undeniably fascinating for kids (as well as adults) about the pull of two magnets together. Want to be a mom superhero? Show them how two magnets repel each other. Minds blown! Along the way some genius was able to take this fun pastime and create a variety of magnetic shape toys for kids (and parents) of all ages — there are even magnets for toddlers now too! (What mama isn’t looking for an amazing toddler toy that keeps them busy while they learn interesting facts about science?!) Viewed as some of the top STE(A)M activities, magnets are good for developing gross motor skills, inquiry-driven investigation, and facilitation of good old-fashioned screen-free fun. So, when they’re finished playing tag or riding their kids go carts outside, get something that will truly stimulate!
The variety of magnetic toys is both inspiring and intimidating, especially if the science fair wasn’t our thing growing up (or more likely our toddler just wants to slap two things together and make ‘em stick). Magna-Tiles and Magformers are two of the major brands in magnetic tiles, but a lot of other great options are out there as well. Magnets that either have large cutouts (like Super Magformers) or large pieces are easier for smaller toddlers to hold. (Just a word to the wise, they will need to be stacked one by one during clean up so be sure to teach that skill PRONTO!) Whereas companies like Geomag have full-on magnet construction sites for older, more skilled builders who have advanced beyond the basic tiles.
Not sure where to start? We’ve scoured the internet and found the most attractive (pun intended) kits for bitty beginners all the way up to sets for the big kids that are so fun you might actually have to pry them from your partner’s hands to let the kids play!
Magnetic Toys for Kids
Any adult who used to play Tetris will instantly have flashbacks just looking at Dasdax’s Magnetic 3D Puzzle Cube. Tetris developed hand eye coordination, decision making, future planning, and imagination, much like these fun, colorful magnetic blocks aim to do. Designed to assemble into a variety of animal shapes and whatever other ideas our LOs’ imagination can dream up! Bonus feature is the improved dexterity they will gain from all that manipulation!
Janod is a French brand that has made a name for themselves engaging children for the first time with wooden and cardboard toys that we have fond memories of playing with ourselves. Does this make anyone else think of colorforms? The Body Magnet set includes 18 body cards and 76 magnets to teach about the major systems of the body in a fun, creative brain building toy for kids.
PlanToys super fun Magnetic Board Game encourages collaboration and skill building during playtime. Let the sibling battle royale begin by setting this up in the playroom. They’ll have so much fun, they won’t even realize they’re learning, too. The object of the game is to hold the magnetic stick under the board and move the magnet to the other end of the board, shooting it into the goal.
Geomag is well known for magnetic engineering STEM toys. In addition to open ended play with strong magnets, Geomag’s Mechanics Building Set creates an architectural creation that flips, rotates, and spins. One reviewer shared, “The packaging doesn’t look like much, but once you get everything out and start putting it together, you find it is really cool how the magnets work.”
More than just a pile of sticks (210 magnet sticks to be exact) CMS Magnetics Building Toy creates hours of 3D magnetic fun. Our LOs (and not so little ones) can work on geometric shapes, build buildings, or even toy cars. Each stick is held together with non magnetic steel balls providing super strength at a budget friendly price.
Magnetic Tiles for Kids
Triangles, pentagons, squares, oh my! Magformers are the new LEGOs and the Basic 62 Piece Set is perfect for kiddos ages 3 and up to begin their STEM education. Designed with Neodymium Rare-Earth Magnets (aka, they’re really freaking strong!) little builders are guaranteed “click” connectivity every time. One mama we know shared this awesome play hack: “I taped a cookie sheet to a tray table so they can build on a magnetic surface. It works really well!” Good thinking Mama!
Magna-Tiles are THE original magnetic tiles that started this whole trend of building sets that keep our kiddos occupied for hours at a time. With almost 4,000 fans on Amazon, it’s no wonder that they’re a must have item for everyone 3 and up.
One reviewer shared how these ignite the imagination of all her grandsons. “My 3, 4, 5 and 7 year old grandsons play with them for hours every time they come. The 7 year old builds tall towers, castles, forts, parking garages and whatever else he decides. The 4 and 5 year olds build more simple structures. Garages to house their cars are the most popular. The 3 year old uses the tiles to make flat structures. Pizzas using the large triangles are his favorite.
Geomag’s Pro-L Kit is especially crafted for kids ages 8 and up who have mastered the Magformers and Manga-Tiles. Magnets in this kit include polarity indicators to teach the full power of magnetism, as well as the ability to build even more with 174 tiles. Clear color design makes the finished creations really shine!
We would be remiss if we didn’t include PicassoTiles 100 Piece Set as one of our favorite magnetic tiles for kids. Over 13,000 Amazon reviewers have shared their love — literally 0% 1 star reviews! There is so much to love about these (other than they are currently half price?!) from the bright colors and durability to the never ending creativity and gorgeous masterpieces.
Magnetic Toys for Toddlers
LUKAT’s Pipe Magnetic Blocks may look like a complex STEM set (all the basic principles are still there!) but it’s toddler sized fun. Centered around the idea of dropping balls in holes (what toddler isn’t into that?) and connecting the tubes with magnetic tiles. The best part is this set can grow with them. The older they get, the more complex their design ideas will be and LUKAT’s magnetic toy set will support that!
Alphabet fridge magnets are a must have right of passage through the toddler years. Any mama of toddlers knows you haven’t really made dinner unless you’ve made dinner around a magnetic math and spelling lesson centering at the fridge. Pixel’s Premium Letter Set is packed with 142 letters and a magnetic white board (so they can play away from the cooking construction site) for making letter learning fun!
Coogam has captured the simple joy of the magnetic snap in their Fishing Game. Toddlers will love working on their fine motor skills and letter recognition with the fishing pole trying to snap up the brightly colored fish.
Investigating the way things work is one of the best parts of the toddler curiosity (also one of the worst, we know). Lakeshore has captured this curiosity in their Turn & Learn Magnetic Gears kit. The gears simply stick to any magnetic surface and our LOs can spend loads of time turning the handles to set the whole thing in motion.
Melissa & Doug, the authority on all things classic toddler toy have designed this cute little Magnetic Pattern Block Kit, complete with its own carrying case for storage and travel. The fun wooden frame gives the look of a tablet, while the geometric shape manipulation is all screen-free play time. We love the 12 included design ideas to get the creativity flowing!
Looking for more great ways to entertain the littles? Check out all of our mom-approved, fun-filled kids toys!