Summer vacation. For some parents, those two words bring joy and relief. They signify a break from the school routine and schedule, and they offer a chance to, with any luck, sit still for a bit. Summer vacation brings sprinklers and swimming pools, sunscreen and lazy days. For some parents, however, the words summer vacation bring visions of too many hours to fill with antsy kiddos. These parents may dread the long, unstructured weeks and worry about how much screen time will creep into each day. With summer break fast approaching, parents all around are on the hunt for anything that will help fill in the hours.
Enter Magnetic Blocks
We have found that these fantastic toys are so much more than “just” toys. They are wonderful for building, exploring, experimenting and designing. The beautiful colors draw children in and encourage them to play for hours. There are many different versions available, and products such as Magna Tiles come in a wide variety of sizes and configurations. Any or all of these sets are the perfect addition to your child’s toy collection. Although your home may already have its fill of Lincoln Logs and Legos, we urge you to consider adding magnetic blocks as well. They are fantastic. Read on for some great ways to enjoy your magnetic building tiles.
1. STEAM Time
We’ve all heard how important it is to expose children to STEAM ideas and experiences from a young age. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math and is an acronym that makes an appearance in the marketing materials for just about every toy out there.
For some items, this claim is grasping at straws, but with magnetic builders, STEAM experiences are in full force. For starters, let’s look at the obvious. Contrary to other types of building toys, like wooden blocks, these toys are magnetic. The curiosity that naturally arises when children have the chance to play with magnets makes for wonderful science discussions.
And these tough tiles are perfect for allowing children to build and design to their heart’s content. Their sturdy construction makes it easy for children to build even complicated structures. Try giving your child a challenge with the Magna Tiles. Can he build a house with only square tiles? Can she design a car or a robot or a rocket? The possibilities are truly endless with these toys.
2. A Bridge to Literacy
STEAM activities don’t get all the glory. Magna Tiles can be used to enhance creative role play and to create a link between STEAM concepts and literacy goals. Does your child love fairy tales and folk tales? Encourage her to design and build Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Or with some straws, sticks, and magnetic blocks, your child can recreate the houses of the three little pigs. Add in a hair dryer, and you’ve got a “Big Bad Wolf” who can try to blow the houses down. Which one is the strongest? Perhaps you and your child can work together to build the letters of the alphabet or to spell your child’s name.
3. Take Them On The Go
There’s no rule that says the Magna Tiles have to be used inside at a table. They are highly portable toys that are easy to pack up and take outside with you. Although not strictly within the specified uses, we have seen magnetic builders used in sand tables and water tables without problems. They have survived being smashed down by preschool children channeling some sort of inner Hulk. They appear to be nearly indestructible. And since they are so easy to take along with you, magnetic blocks and tiles are an excellent choice to pack for a trip to Grandma’s house when you get a chance to head out with the grown-ups.
4. Light Them Up
The translucent design of many of the Magna Tiles makes them a beautiful choice to use with a light table or light pad. Children are mesmerized by how the colors brighten as they place the tiles over the lights. And somehow the addition of a light table or pad seems to help the child slow down and focus in a different way. Children enjoy seeing how the colors blend, leading to an early demonstration of how primary colors mix to create secondary ones. The sturdy base of a light table helps the child create beautiful masterpieces.
5. Go On A Treasure Hunt
Have your child close his eyes while you hide the Magna Tiles by sticking them to different metal items around the house. When you give the all-clear, your child can start searching for the tiles. If you tell him how many you hid, then he can use his counting skills to keep track while he hunts. For older children, you can find trickier hiding places and give clues as needed. Or siblings can hide them for each other to find and maybe even draw a map to help.
6. Just Let The Kiddos Play
This is a toy that does not require parent assistance or involvement. So even though there are many ways you can join with your child in exploring magnetic blocks and builders, you can also thoroughly enjoy the fact that these toys will entertain your child, as is. Let your child explore and create and experiment and play. Magnetic tilesets are great for children from age three years old on up. Older children and tweens just as easily engage with these toys as preschoolers, so open up the boxes and let the kids play.
As you can see, these magnetic blocks are powerhouses in the toy department. They are so much fun you will soon find yourself wanting to purchase more sets to add to your child’s collection. There are many different sizes and shapes available. There are solid colors and see-through colors. There are even add-ons with wheels to help your child build vehicles. One downside to magnetic tiles is, admittedly, the price. They can be somewhat expensive. But we feel that the value you get with these blocks is absolutely worth it. They are fun, versatile, durable, highly educational toys that your child will enjoy for years, and they are worth every penny.