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Magnets have long captured the attention and imaginations of children and adults alike. Magnetic toys are an ideal way to harness this curiosity and nurture it.
Our best overall product is the Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100 Piece Set. This is a classic 3D building toy that teaches math, science, and creativity, so it hits multiple learning points. It’s also suitable for a wide variety of ages.
- Best Magnetic Toys for All Ages
- Best Overall – Magna-Tiles Clear Colors
- Best for Geometric Thinking – Magformers Challenger Set
- Best Budget Option – Dowling Magnets Magnetic Penny Game
- Best for Preschoolers – Melissa & Doug Fishing Magnetic Game
- Best for Budding Artists – Magnetic Mini Tile Art
- Best for Older Teens – Speks Magnetic Balls
- Best for Budding Wordsmiths – Magnetic Poetry Kids Kit
- Best for Avoiding Plastic – Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Set
- Best for Sportsmanship – Doinkit Darts Indoor Magnetic Dart Board
- Best for Little Mathematicians – Lauri Foam Magnets
- Best for Kids with Special Needs – TrueBalance Coordination Game
- Best for Science and Magic – Anti-Gravity Magnetic Levitation Kit
- Best for Easy Clean Up – MindWare Imagination Magnets
- Best for Kids Who Love to Draw – GIROMAG Magnetic Drawing Board
- Best for Very Young Children – HABA Town Maze Game
- Best Magnetic Toy for Toddlers – Goobi Juniors Magnetic Construction Set
- Best Magna-Tiles Alternative – PicassoTiles 60 Piece Set
- Best for Junior Engineers – CMS Magnetics Building Set
- Best Starter Magnetic Toy – Magformers Basic Set
- What to Consider When Buying a Magnetic Toy
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Magnetic Toys for All Ages
Best Overall – Magna-Tiles Clear Colors
The Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100 Piece Set is our best overall for most children. Its high-quality build makes it durable, so it will last for a long time. Each magnet is held in place with metal rivets, so even though the pieces are plastic, the magnets are unlikely to fall out. The plastic is BPA- and phthalate-free and is 100% non-toxic, so it’s safe for all children.
The magnets are placed around the edges of each piece, meaning the options for builds are practically endless. This adds replay value to a toy that would otherwise seem, on the surface, to be rather simple.
This magnetic toy teaches kids creativity, science, and math, making it a well-rounded educational experience. Children can engage in number graphing, building puzzles, and simple addition equations. They also learn the fundamentals of gravity and magnetic principles.
Because there are so many potential builds, kids’ creativity is encouraged. They can build 2D and 3D creations, and the pieces even stick to vertical surfaces like garage doors. Plus, kids will love that these tiles glow in the dark, making even nighttime hours fun. So whether your child builds a castle, a bridge, an animal, or something only they understand, they’ll love this toy set.
Best for Geometric Thinking – Magformers Challenger Set
If your child excels at or even needs help with their spatial awareness or complex thinking, the Magformers Challenger Set is a wonderful magnetic toy that can help. They will explore magnetic possibilities and architectural concepts with this versatile toy.
Through modular, creative play, children can build a roadster, a magic ball, a satellite station, and more. There’s practically no limit to their creativity; encourage them to think outside the box and build their own creations.
The kit is made of high-quality, BPA-free plastic, so your child can play safely and reliably. The pieces are easy to use and even appropriate for small children. It helps build fine motor skills and coordination. Older kids will love the challenge of designing new and unique shapes.
Best Budget Option – Dowling Magnets Magnetic Penny Game
For a toy that has a truly unique approach to magnetic principles, check out the Dowling Magnets Magnetic Penny Game. This kit includes two small, high-powered magnets, an information book, a math games guide, and 32 newly minted pennies.
You’ll be surprised just how many different gravity-defying structures and sculptures your child can create with this toy. They can stack the pennies on the magnets on their ends for an experience unlike other toys.
This magnetic toy teaches a wide variety of STEM subjects. Kids will explore science and engineering concepts like magnetism, motion, stability, engineering design, and more. They also learn math through geometry and measurement. Lastly, kids even get a little bit of art as they explore sculpture, design, patterns, and repetition.
There’s one caveat to this toy, however. US pennies used for real money aren’t magnetic, so if your child loses the pennies the kit comes with, you can’t replace them with regular ones. The best advice is to keep this toy together in a plastic tub.
Best for Preschoolers – Melissa & Doug Fishing Magnetic Game
If you have a particularly young child in the home, the Melissa & Doug Fishing Magnetic Game is a good way to introduce them to the wonderful world of magnets. This toy is perfect for kids ages 3 to 5 as a fun, playful way to learn.
The board is made of wood as are each of the colorful undersea creatures. The creature pieces are magnetic tiles, and the plastic fishing rod has a matching magnet.
This puzzle game encourages hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and matching skills. Kids not only have to match the creature back to its shape on the board after they fish it out, but they do so with a magnet.
This toy is especially perfect for youngsters who have an early love of the ocean. You can encourage animal recognition, as well as explain the beginnings of magnetic concepts. Plus, because the entire toy is made of wood, it’s durable and recyclable. (The oceans will thank you!)
Best for Budding Artists – Magnetic Mini Tile Art
You likely have magnets decorating your refrigerator, so why not include ones your child made themselves? The Magnetic Mini Tile Art Kit is ideal for little ones who love to paint or can’t get enough of arts and crafts time at school.
The magnetic tiles measure 2 inches by 2 inches, making them the perfect fit for either your own refrigerator or for family and friends. Their small size also means painting them boosts fine motor skills and even a bit of hand-eye coordination.
Each kit comes with a paint strip and brush, so your child can get creating right away. It includes 12 magnetic tiles with adhesive strips so your child has everything they need to design and paint stunning works of art you can display anywhere metal.
Best for Older Teens – Speks Magnetic Balls
Speks Magnetic Balls contains 512 miniature magnets for an ultimately versatile magnetic toy. They’re made from rare, high-quality earth magnets with a strong polymer coating in two tones.
Because the magnets are so small, avoid giving this toy to children or even preteens. The manufacturer recommends ages 14 and up to make sure there’s no choking or ingestion hazard.
Teens can spend hours mashing, building, and smashing the tiny magnets into different shapes and structures. The dual tones provide an added level of aesthetic appeal. This magnetic toy also comes with a case to carry the magnets, a base to stand creations on, and a guide to building.
This toy is also ideal for soothing anxious hands and heads. Think of it like a much more educational fidget toy. If your teen is constantly wiggling or needs a way to focus their mind, this toy can help. They can find a little piece of zen as they mash, create, and shape their earth magnets into endless structures.
Best for Budding Wordsmiths – Magnetic Poetry Kids Kit
If you thought magnetic poetry kits were just for adults, think again. The Magnetic Poetry Kids Kit is a great way to either nurture or begin a child’s love of words and language.
This magnetic toy is for ages 5 and up and was developed with input from kids, parents, and teachers alike. With over 360 magnetic words that start simple but also have advanced levels, this is one of the best magnetic options for little ones.
Because they’re magnetic, they can obviously stick to any metal, which means your child’s creativity isn’t limited to just the refrigerator. These fridge magnets can stick on the toilet, kitchen appliances, a doorknob, or even on the hood of your car for outdoor fun.
This kit also pairs with other magnetic toys, so you can mix and match with either other poetry sets or even the Magna-Tiles set if they’d like. As they age, mix the kids kit with adult kits from the same manufacturer so their vocabulary never stops growing.
You can create your own riddles for your child to answer, boosting critical thinking skills. Or, start a haiku and challenge them to write the last line, boosting poetry understanding and a love of language. This kit can also help children who struggle to communicate verbally, as they can ask questions or express themselves in a fun, engaging manner (rather than a boring old pen and paper, for example).
Best for Avoiding Plastic – Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Set
If your household prefers wood over plastic, check out the Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Set. This 24-piece set is a perfect next step for kids who may already play with wooden building blocks but want to take their construction challenges to the next level.
Perfect for unscripted, screen-free play, the blocks are easy to use and support a wide variety of skills. Hand-eye coordination, color matching, balance, a sense of scale, pattern recognition, and problem-solving are all skills your child can develop with this deceptively simple toy set.
These magnetic blocks also boost imaginative play, so they’re fun and engaging for your child. They can create a cabin, a giraffe, a space jet, and so much more with these versatile building blocks. You can also mix and match this toy set with other Tegu sets for added enjoyment.
Best for Sportsmanship – Doinkit Darts Indoor Magnetic Dart Board
Another definite boost to hand-eye coordination comes in the form of the Doinkit Darts Indoor Magnetic Dart Board. Perfect for family fun, the darts are durable to allow for years of play.
The dartboard looks exactly like a traditional one, with the various colored rings, numbers, and even faux cracks in the “wood.” The magnets are powerful, so they stick to the board every time. They’re also balanced so they fly straight and true.
Beyond enhancing motor skills and coordination, this toy is perfectly safe for the walls of your home. Even though the tips are durable, they aren’t heavy enough to leave marks if they go astray.
Best for Little Mathematicians – Lauri Foam Magnets
If your child needs help with math or is learning their numbers, this toy set of Lauri Foam Magnets is just the toy for them. The numbers are almost two inches tall, making them visually easy to see and come in a variety of colors.
70 numerals, 20 operation signs, and 20 circle counters mean your child can practice a wide variety of math problems. Start with number recognition, and progress from there to counting skills, and then to equations.
This set is especially useful for children who may struggle with math. Keep them as refrigerator magnets so your child can have fun solving equations as they pass by in the kitchen. You can also turn it into a game where they have to answer a problem before they get their favorite snack, for example.
Playing with these on the fridge or other metal surface also helps with motor skills, as the numbers are large and durable. Plus, it comes with a plastic storage bucket so you can keep track of every piece.
For outdoor fun, take the numbers outside and use them on your garage door. Your child will love engaging with math the more you can make it a unique learning experience.
Best for Kids with Special Needs – TrueBalance Coordination Game
Sort of like a magnetic Jenga, the TrueBalance Coordination Game has a deceptively simple premise: stack the disks. However, the magnet in each disk rotates in a different way than the others, so you have to get them to line up just right.
This is yet another option for improving motor skills, but it also works the brain. The concentration required to get the disks to line up can do wonders for children with special needs, like autism. Plus it will give them a huge sense of accomplishment when they complete the game.
With an original, pro, junior, and travel option, this wooden toy is suitable for any age and situation. Should your child master the game quickly, the manufacturers suggest trying with a non-dominant hand or setting a timer to compete with the family.
However you play, this game teaches hand-eye coordination, basic engineering concepts, problem-solving, fine motor skills, and focus. You can’t go wrong!
Best for Science and Magic – Anti-Gravity Magnetic Levitation Kit
The Anti-Gravity Magnetic Levitation Kit is one of the more unique magnetic toys on this list. Recommended for children eight years old and up, it teaches about magnetic force through hands-on experiments.
Kids can make a pencil levitate, float a screw, build a maglev, and more. The kit is complete with everything kids need to complete seven different experiments. They’ll learn scientific and physics principles, but they’ll love experiencing the magic of a floating pencil.
Your child will connect the magnetic principles they learn to how magnets are used in real-world applications. All instructions are included, so snag this toy set for your budding scientist today.
Best for Easy Clean Up – MindWare Imagination Magnets
Every parent loves a toy that’s easy to keep clean, and the MindWare Imagination Magnets set does not disappoint. A sturdy wood carrying case doubles as the playing board and when your child is done exploring with this toy, the case keeps all the pieces contained.
The kit includes 42 brightly colored wooden magnetic blocks that kids arrange on the board to create any of the 50 included puzzles. Your child can make animals, vehicles, faces, full structures, and more. Once they complete the included puzzles, free play continues to boost their imagination.
There are also pattern cards included that are numbered in order of difficulty, from novice to expert, so your child can progress as they learn. Through trial and error, your child will learn confidence and problem-solving skills.
In addition to being easy to keep clean, the kit comes with enough magnets that multiple kids can play at the same time. This boosts sharing and teamwork skills as kids play and learn together.
Best for Kids Who Love to Draw – GIROMAG Magnetic Drawing Board
Does your child go through sketchbook after sketchbook? Can they not get enough of drawing the world around them? Then the GIROMAG Magnetic Drawing Board is for them.
The board comes with 714 magnetic spheres and a corresponding magnetic stylus. Kids use the stylus to push the magnetic spheres down or bring them up, to “draw” their designs. To erase, you simply slide the flat part of the stylus over the spheres to push them down again.
The stylus fits in a small groove at the top of the board, so this toy is self-contained. The spheres are also completely contained within their holes, so they never pop out. It also requires no batteries. This means it’s one of the best magnetic toys to take on road trips or to occupy children outside of their screens.
In reviews, parents do warn that the spheres popping up and down can be quite loud, so if you startle easily or prefer quiet car rides, this might not be ideal. Otherwise, it’s an excellent option for drawing artists to help save paper.
Best for Very Young Children – HABA Town Maze Game
The HABA Town Maze Game is rated for children two years old and up, so it’s perfect for advanced toddlers to very young children. This maze is decorated as a town with different colored balls. Children use the magnetic stylus to try and move the balls back to their matching colored garage.
There are two roadblocks, one that is moved along a track while the other can be rotated to let one ball through at a time. Children must use logic and problem-solving to solve the maze and figure out how to get the balls into their corresponding garages.
This toy also teaches color-matching, fine motor dexterity, visual-spatial skills, troubleshooting, and more. This is another toy that requires no batteries, so it’s perfect for quiet car rides or road trips. The stylus is attached to the board and the colored balls can’t pop out, so the toy is self-contained.
Perfect for your youngest child or those who love mazes, this toy will provide hours of fun.
Best Magnetic Toy for Toddlers – Goobi Juniors Magnetic Construction Set
The Goobi Juniors Set features large rods and balls that easily fit together, requiring minimal motor skills to play with. As such, we think this is one of the best magnet toys for toddlers to start developing some basic understanding of engineering. With 40 good size pieces, it’s also pretty good value. Plus they are all bright and colorful – great for keeping toddlers engaged and interested!
The only downside is that, due to the size of the pieces, it’s better suited for building large and simple models. This is not a problem if you are looking for a toddler magnet building toy, but for older kids we would recommend one of the other options, such as MagnaTiles.
Best Magna-Tiles Alternative – PicassoTiles 60 Piece Set
The Picasso Tiles are one of the most popular magnetic building toys for kids. They are an excellent, inexpensive alternative to the market-leading Magna-Tiles. Read our post for a full account of the similarities and differences of PicassoTiles vs Magna-Tiles.
Aimed at a slightly older age group than eg. the Goobi product above, the components are smaller and allow for more complex shapes and structures to be built than the kit above. This 60 piece set comes with 5 different building blocks including a large and small square, plus 3 different size triangles.
In our opinion, these magnetic tiles are great value for money. Kids keep going back to play with them in new and creative ways as they get older, which is very pleasant to see, compared to many toys that get used once or twice and are then abandoned! Perhaps the most surprising thing about the PicassoTiles is just how strong they are – they really are an investment pays off over time, with kids getting many, many hours of creative fun with them!
As the magnetic components are solid shapes rather than balls and rods, we think it is better for building house-like structures. That said, the Picasso Tiles are pretty diverse in terms of the type of 3D shapes you can build. Through trial and error, kids will have to fit the right pieces together to form geometrical shapes – great for STEM skills.
A popular creative use of these tiles is the construction of houses and bases for other toys in role-playing games. Our recommendation would be to buy as many of these tiles as your budget allows – you’ll be amazed at what they will construct using such simple shapes! Seeing them used in this way highlights the diverse ways that kids can use them in their play, and shows what great value for money the Picasso Tiles are. Additionally, there are also tons of sets, including the popular Magna-Tiles, which are all compatible. So lots of options to expand the learning!
Best for Junior Engineers – CMS Magnetics Building Set
This CMS Magnetics set resembles the classic kids magnetic construction toy that you are probably familiar with. It is essentially the same as the first option featured here, but with much smaller parts. Aside from this being a potential choking hazard, this also means the pieces are more fiddly. Hence why the recommended age is 5+ years!
Safety aside, this is a great option for slightly older kids to develop construction and design skills. With the balls and rods kids can build all manner of shapes and objects. However, they will also need to work out how to create a structure that supports the weight of their designs by interlinking all the rods. As such, it can help to develop a basic understanding of architectural engineering.
Best Starter Magnetic Toy – Magformers Basic Set
Magformers are probably the most well-known kids magnetic building toy makers out there. The design is pretty similar to the Picasso Tiles and is made up of triangles and squares. Although there isn’t as much variation as with the basic set there is only one size of each. That said, there still endless structures kids can build plus tons of expansions – more on this below.
What we especially like about Magformers is the thought that has gone into how the pieces function. The magnets always attract so there is no need to worry about connecting the correct poles! This makes the whole building experience a lot easier and smoother for kids. Additionally, the set comes with a step-by-step guide book full of ideas! In terms of the overall experience, we really think this is the best magnetic building toy for kids on the market.
As mentioned above, there are loads of additional sets available to expand the learning experience by introducing moving parts. For example, with the Creator Carnival Set kids can build their own mini functioning Ferris wheel plus several other theme park rides. The XL Double Cruiser (pictured above) is another great expansion for building two awesome vehicles. This includes a digger with a functioning scoop!
What to Consider When Buying a Magnetic Toy
Magnet building toys are perfect for kids who are still a bit too young for sets that require a bit more dexterity, such as Lego or K’Nex. However, they still allow them to get creative and build their own 3D structures and vehicles, so are great for developing early STEM skills. These kids’ magnetic building sets are also good precursors to more complex construction kits, like those mentioned above.
Here are some things to consider when selecting a magnetic toy for your child.
A great deal of the toys on this list are made from plastic. If you have strong feelings about toys not being reusable or potentially not recyclable, consider the wood options. Also, if choosing plastic toys, look for BPA-free and phthalate-free materials. Make sure the materials are durable, so they don’t break within a few weeks of purchase.
Always check the age-appropriateness of your magnetic toys before purchasing them. Some toys may come with parts that are too small for youngsters or magnets that are strong enough to pinch the skin. It’s very important to ensure kids aren’t swallowing magnetic toys, especially small pieces, as this can cause serious digestive issues. Always watch younger kids closely when playing, and warn older children not to put their mouths on their toys.
Opt for toys that have multiple builds or a high replay factor. This will help keep your child engaged with their toy for longer, meaning you won’t have to purchase them as often. Bonus points if the toy teaches multiple concepts or has multiple applications, as many of the toys on this list do. This will also help increase engagement and long-term use of the toy.
Desired Skill Development
While the magnetic toys on this list can help children gain similar skills, there are certain toys that are better for one skill than another. The Magnetic Poetry Kids Kit, for example, emphasizes language. The Lauri Foam Magnets shaped like numbers focus on math. Whatever skill you want to develop in your child should guide your decision in terms of what the best magnetic toy will be for them.
Magnetic construction toys for kids are a simple way for younger learners to develop STEM skills. Since the pieces are easy to fit together and take apart, it’s super easy to experiment with different designs. However, they do have their limits. So if you are in the market for something a bit more complex, check out the list of the best robotics kits.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are magnetic toys STEM toys?
They can be! Magnetic toys are excellent for teaching STEM concepts like engineering, physics, and more. The principles that make magnets work are based in science. These toys also definitely increase “soft” STEM skills like hand-eye coordination, concentration, motor skills, and problem-solving.
Why include magnetic toys in my child’s play?
Magnetic toys help teach a wide variety of concepts. They can encourage STEM skills like engineering, math, and science. They also teach fine motor skills, coordination, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Plus, they’re just plain fun! Most kids are fascinated with magnets and how they work, so including a few magnetic toys in your child’s life is a great way to increase their enrichment.
How do I choose an age-appropriate toy?
Most toys will come with age recommendations on the box. However, there are a few extra guidelines to keep in mind. Children up to two years old are very curious about the world and still learning to explore it physically, so larger toys they can’t put in their mouths are best. Young children can be trusted with small parts, and usually love to figure out puzzles by themselves. Older children are interested in toys that reflect their interests or personalities and can benefit from STEM-heavier concepts. Ultimately, you know your child best and can choose the toy you think will suit them.
Are magnetic toys dangerous?
The toys should be safe as long as you follow the guidelines included and choose age-appropriate options for your child. Danger can come in the form of magnets small enough for kids to ingest or high-powered magnets that may pinch and break skin. Avoid giving adult-oriented, high-powered magnets to children, and supervise them carefully when they play with their magnetic toys.
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Last update on 2020-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API