Review: Magna-Tiles Magnetic Building Toys for Preschoolers

(#AD - Review) If you are looking for a great toy to encourage creativity and learning in preschoolers then I recommend checking out Magna-Tiles. We were sent the 32 piece Magna-Tile set to review and as soon as I got them out of the box they were an instant hit. They are a great educational and fun toy for 3 to 5 year olds that will be enjoyed by older children (and adults) too.

Magna-tiles Clear Tiles 32 piece set being played with by a 5 year old
Review of Magna-Tiles Magnetics Building Toy

We have a few magnet based toys already and I find the way they connect together strangely therapeutic and satisfying like magnetic sheeting. I think my children feel the same because these toys appeal in a way that our normal building blocks don’t. 

About Magna-Tiles

Magna-Tiles have a range of different sets, but the one we received contains 32 of the 2D plastic tiles that connect together allowing you to build in 2D or 3D. This set contains 2 large squares, 14 small squares and 16 triangles of 3 different types. 

Obviously the thing about magnets is that they attract as well as repel, however the Magna-Tiles have been carefully designed so they attract to each other in lots of different positions, regardless of which way round you hold them which often isn't the case with these types of toys.

The company is a small family owned organisation and while they are new to the UK in Smyths the company was founded in 1997. Magna-Tiles are suitable for age 3 and upwards due to the small parts and magnets in the tiles which could get broken apart. They are pretty solid though and although they have been dropped a few times on a tile floor ours haven’t broken or chipped. There are scratches on the tiles already, but as the plastic itself is coloured rather than painted they should continue to look great.

clear colour pieces of magna-tiles laid out on a table in front of a preschooler.
In the 32 piece Magna-Tile set there are 2 sizes of squares and 3 shapes of triangle

Close up of clear coloured magna-tile shapes with the branding on
The tiles are cleverly designed to attract together with the inbuilt magnets

Review of Magna-Tiles

My 5 year old sat down with the Magna-Tiles and in a short space of time made a fish tank, an aquarium, a house, a cafe, a pizza, grass and more as well as the rocket and boat on the box. The bright, but see through colours on the chunky plastic tiles are satisfying to hold and build with. They are just the right size for preschoolers: much smaller and they would be too fiddly, bigger and they would be too basic. 

How Magna-Tiles Encourage Hands On Learning Through Play

Colours - The tiles are in a range of colours (in our case yellow, green, blue, orange, pink and purple) which encourages children to recognise, name and match them.

Shapes - The 32 piece set contains squares and triangles, with the large square being 4 times the size of the small ones and the “right triangles” half the size of the small squares. The 3 types of triangles really made my daughter think about which one she needed to connect together each creation. She was able to see how shapes connect together to make other shapes both 2D and 3D and while she was definitely playing I could see how she was discovering new concepts and reinforcing previous learning eg around pyramids, cubes and cuboids.

Maths - While I haven’t yet introduced the idea the size and shapes of the tiles means they can be used to talk about fractions eg the right triangles are half the size of the small square, the small squares are a quarter of the large square.

Fine Motor Skills - I really enjoyed watching how my daughter worked out what shapes needed to go where to build particular shapes. The tiles attach together with the magnetic force so the built objects aren’t as solid as something like LEGO, but it’s more secure than normal building blocks and allows creations that just wouldn’t be possible otherwise. She had to take some care to position the shapes when making some of the 3D objects and it was great to see her problem solving and working out how to do it.

Creativity - The box has 3 ideas on the back and more on the website and Instagram, but Magna-Tiles really encourage children to use their creativity to come up with creations and my daughter's imagination was running wild. 

A building created from Magna-tiles
Magna-Tiles encourage creativity and problem solving in preschoolers

Latest design with Magna-Tiles includes a cuboid and a pointed hexagon tower
Magna-Tiles encourage fine motor skills and design skills

pretending to cut up triangular magnetic tiles as slices of cake
Cutting a slice of cake 

Magna-Tiles Compared To Other Magnetic Toys

We own 3 other magnet based building toys and I think Magna-Tiles are going to be a new favourite.  We have played with our Magicubes for years and I really like that they are suitable for babies, but the cube shape means they are limited in what you can build and I have never seen my children come up with as many ideas as they did with the Magna-Tiles. I think the pricing of Magna-Tiles is much better as well. 

The other magnetic toys we have include a wooden set which never really became a hit because the blocks will only connect together in certain positions making options very limited and a similar set to Magna-Tiles than doesn’t have solid tiles so is both harder to use and not so inspiring. 

Some Ideas for Magna-Tiles 

A 5 year old working out which way to attach a triangle to a rocket
The box has ideas of what to build including a rocket and a boat

A large cube made with Magna-Tile squares and triangles
A large cube made from Magna-Tile squares and triangles

Buildings made with Magna-Tiles
Lots of different shapes can be made with Magna-Tiles both 2D and 3D

Houses made from Magna-Tiles are one of the things you can build
A large house and small house made with Magna-Tiles

Other toys suitable for Preschoolers we have reviewed.

***Disclosure: We were sent this set of Magna-Tiles to review. The 32 piece Magna-Tile set and more are available to buy at Smyths.***

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