Reviewed by: Becky Erlichman
My daughters have a lot of toys.
Being the mom of two girls, I am always mindful of gender stereotypes involving toys. My girls like to play with pirates as much as princesses, and I try to provide them with toys that stimulate their brains and teach them while they play.
They have baby dolls, a baby dollhouse, a play kitchen, play food, a play BBQ grill, a castle, trucks, cars, a pop-up tent and tunnel, ride-on toys, books, building blocks, soccer balls, a bowling set, crayons, paint, markers, molding clay, puzzles, a doctor’s kit, dress up clothes, a microphone and a music set.
That’s only a list of the toys that are currently in the playroom.
Despite having a ton of toys, I’m always searching for new and different toys that will stimulate the girls’ brains while they are having fun. Bonus points if the toy is appropriate for both a preschooler and a toddler. It’s not as easy as it sounds to find a toy that fits the bill.
But, recently, Kidville introduced me to a wonderful toy that earned my instant stamp of approval: a set of Valtec Magna-Tile 3D building tiles. This simple toy comes in a flat box and contains a series of tiles in different shapes and various primary colors that connect at their edges using magnets. The tiles can be configured together in all sorts of patterns either laid flat or placed on top of one another to build tall three-dimensional objects.
Upon opening the Magna-Tiles box, Eliza was immediately taken with the smooth, shiny tiles staring at her from the box. Without any prompting from me, she immediately grabbed the tiles and started playing with them.
First, she sorted the tiles by color. Then she experimented with the magnets, stacking the square tiles one on top of the other and trying to pull them apart, giggling as the force of the magnets drew the tiles back together.
Next, she configured shapes flat on the ground. She made a rectangle putting two square tiles together, and then made a hexagon out of six triangles.
After experimenting for a bit, Eliza soon figured out that she could build a castle with a tall tower, using the long triangle tiles for the steeple. She then designed a walkway and an attached swimming pool. Her imagination was off and running.
Unfortunately for Eliza (and much to my delight), Lily liked the Magna-tiles too. She used them in a different way than Eliza – banging them together and holding them up to her face and trying to peer through the tinted glass. She collapsed a few of Eliza’s creations by accident, and grabbed a few of the shapes right out of Eliza’s hands, but eventually the two girls were able to work out a system where Lily picked up the tiles and passed them to Eliza and Eliza incorporated them into her budding castle. The girls played with the Magna-Tiles for nearly forty-five minutes, and keep returning to play with them.
My only critique of this toy is that it comes in a cardboard and plastic box that does not lend itself well to reuse. I ended up finding a spare basket to store the tiles in to ensure they do not get lost in the cluttered playroom. The basket I chose has plenty of room, and we would be delighted to receive more Magna-Tiles in the future to add to our castle-making abilities.
Because it fosters kids’ imaginations and problem solving skills, is gender neutral and, best of all, kept my kids entertained for an extended period of time.
Plus, they don’t make any noise and don’t require batteries.
These innovative, magnetic building tiles are designed to hold a child’s interest and attention, build critical developmental skills and promote imaginative play and creativity.
Image Source:// All Are Author’s Own