There are many benefits to magnetic toys. Although there are a wide variety of magnetic toys on the market nowadays, in this article, we’ll focus on magnetic building toys.
We’ll discuss the three main types of magnetic building toys and give you the benefits that toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary age kids can get from playing with these toys.
What Are The Differences Between Magnetic Blocks, Sticks, and Tiles?
Many people, including the manufacturers of these toys, use the names interchangeably. However, here are some notable differences between these three types of magnetic building toys.
Magnetic blocks are shaped like any other building blocks. While there are some lightweight plastic magnetic blocks, many magnetic blocks are made from wood with magnets embedded in them.
The magnets make the blocks stay together so that they don’t fall apart when children are building with them. However, the magnetic blocks are also easy to pull apart, and both these things lead to less frustration for younger children when they’re playing with magnetic blocks.
Magnetic tiles are flatter than blocks and most are made from plastic. Some of these tiles have open centers and others have solid centers.
The magnets are around the edges of each tile so that the tiles can be joined together. Most magnetic tiles sets include a variety of shapes, such as squares, rectangles, and triangles.
There are a variety of different magnetic tile sets by different manufacturers and several of these sets can be mixed and matched. Magnetic tile sets come in either pastel colors or primary colors.
Some magnetic tile sets also come with accessory pieces such as wheels so kids can use the tiles to make vehicles.
Magnetic Building Sticks
Magnetic building sticks are shaped like sticks. These sets usually contain a number of different sticks containing magnets as well as round metal balls (not magnetic) you can use to add your whatever you are building. Some of the magnetic stick sets also include tile pieces.
Who Plays With Magnetic Blocks, Sticks, and Tiles?
While these magnetic building sets are designed for younger kids, much like LEGOS, they appeal to teens and even adults.
For younger kids magnetic building sets can be educational and help them develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
For teens and adults, magnetic building sets can be a hobby, much like LEGO. They’re also a great way to relieve stress.
Magnetic blocks tend to be used mostly by toddlers. This is because these sets usually don’t have as many pieces and the blocks are easy for small toddler hands to hold and manipulate.
While toddlers can use magnetic tiles, more often tiles are used by preschoolers and older kids.
Magnetic sticks tend to be used most often by children from the age of about 8 or 9 and up. They can be a bit more challenging and younger kids can find that frustrating.
Benefits of Magnetic Blocks for Toddlers
Although magnetic blocks for toddlers are often recommended for children 3 and up, they’re also suitable for younger kids, depending on the child.
Here are some of the benefits of magnetic blocks for toddlers:
- Color recognition: Because magnetic blocks come in a wide variety of colors, these blocks can help your toddler learn the names of colors and can help teach your child to recognize different colors
- Shape recognition: Many magnetic block sets have different shaped pieces, which helps toddlers practice shape recognition
- Sorting: Magnetic blocks give kids the opportunity to practice their sorting skills. They can sort them by shape, color, or both
- Counting: Toddlers can have lots of fun using magnetic blocks to practice counting.
Improves fine motor skills- Grasping and stacking blocks can help your toddler develop their fine motor skills
- Hand-Eye coordination: Building with magnetic blocks (or any type of block) can help toddlers develop better hand-eye coordination
- Experimentation: Toddlers will love experimenting to see what types of things they can build and what these magnetic blocks will stick to
- Imagination: Open ended toys like magnetic blocks can help toddlers use and expand their imagination and creativity
Toddlers can get the same benefits from magnetic tiles as they do from magnetic blocks, but the tiles may be a little more difficult for toddlers to work with.
Benefits of Magnetic Blocks and Tiles for Preschoolers
Preschoolers get the same benefits from playing with magnetic blocks and tiles that toddlers do, plus these added benefits:
- Patterning: Magnetic building blocks and tiles can help kids learn about patterning, which is an early math skill
- Focus and Concentration: Using magnetic blocks and tiles to build things or replicate buildings they’ve seen is a great way to develop your child’s focus and concentration
- Persistence: Not everything that preschoolers try to replicate or build on their own come out perfect the first time. Sometimes it takes persistence and determination to get the results they want
- Problem Solving: Any toy that preschoolers build with can help develop their problem-solving skills
- Language Development: Preschoolers who build with other people, including friends and family, need to communicate while they’re building. This helps them develop language skills they will need later in life
- Social Skills: When using these building blocks with others, preschoolers can practice social skills like sharing
Benefits of Magnetic Tiles for Elementary Age Children
Once children reach elementary school they’re able to retain and build upon the benefits they achieved as toddlers and preschoolers from playing with magnetic tiles and blocks.
They also can gain additional benefits, which include:
- Beginning to understand simple geometric principles
- Developing and refining their critical thinking and problem-solving skills
- Beginning to develop an understanding of structures and how they are built
- The ability to recreate most images they see and build advanced structures on their own
Benefits Of Magnetic Tiles and Blocks and Sticks for Tweens and Teens
Magnetic tiles, blocks and sticks are often used for building by tweens and teens.
Although the benefits for individuals in these age groups are not as many or as noticeable, they are no less valuable.
Here’s a look at some of those benefits:
- Helps maintain mental alertness: Building with any type of blocks, tiles or sticks will help people of all ages maintain their mental alertness and problem solving skills.This is important in this day and age when it is often necessary to think outside of the box to solve problems
- Helps maintain creativity: As we age we tend to lose some of the imagination and creativity that we enjoyed as young children.Building with magnetic tiles, blocks or sticks will help many individuals maintain more of their creativity
- Can help relieve stress: Studies show that when people are feeling stressed, focusing on something they enjoy can help them relax and reduce their stress levels considerably
Now that you know the benefits of magnetic blocks, tiles, and sticks you can feel good watching your child play with these wonderful toys.