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Building things is an integral part of childhood. Through building, children learn basic STEM concepts and develop engineering skills. Their spatial reasoning and fine motor skills develop, and they learn about things like gravity and inertia.
Only a few decades ago, most children used almost exclusively wooden blocks to build imaginary cities and fortresses. However, today, there are many building materials out there designed to help children make whatever they can imagine, in new and even more exciting ways.
One popular alternative to classic building blocks is magnetic tiles. Magna-Tiles produced the first magnetic 3D tiles in 1997 and they remain one of the most trusted and popular brands. However, other similar products have popped up as well, including Picasso Tiles.
These brands are very similar, which makes it hard to choose between them. Here are some of the most important differences you should be aware of.
Picasso Tiles vs Magna Tiles – Key Points:
Last update on 2020-01-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Differences Between Picasso Tiles and Magna Tiles
One of the most apparent differences between these products is their prices. Prices fluctuate, so we can’t talk specifics, but Magna-Tiles are often around twice the price of Picasso Tiles in similar sized packs. This is a huge consideration if you’re on a budget – and you may be wondering why you could possibly want to spend twice as much money when you don’t need to.
Of course, each brand does create varying set sizes. We believe the 100-piece set of each brand is a great starting point, since this sized set really allows kids to express their creativity. However, it is also possible to get sets with as few as 20 pieces each. At the other extreme, Picasso even offers a 300-piece set, with pieces of different types.
How the Magentic Tiles are Held Together
The only other significant difference between these two sets is how the pieces are held together. Magna-Tiles use several small metal rivets along the edges of each piece to secure both sides together with the magnets needed to make each piece work on the inside. This is very durable and means that these pieces rarely, if ever, come apart.
On the other hand, PicassoTiles use glue. This may allow pieces to come apart more easily under impact or harsh treatment, which could be unsafe due to the small magnets on the inside. As you might know, magnets are hazardous if swallowed and can be life-threatening. We should point out that these tiles are still extremely robust, being made of very tough materials, however, the construction type may be something to consider in your buying decision.
Picasso Tiles or Magna Tiles?
As you can see, Picasso tiles are cheaper but come apart more easily under strenuous conditions. Magna tiles are significantly more expensive, but the metal rivets used to secure each piece makes them extremely durable. The brunt of your decision may be based on durability vs. price.
For older children, the construction of the Picasso Tiles is less important. Older children are less likely to stick pieces in their mouths and risk swallowing magnets if a tile has ruptured open.
For younger children or even homes with younger children in them, Magna-Tiles are likely worth the extra cost. They’re potentially safer because you don’t have to worry as much about pieces coming apart and your children possibly swallowing the magnets. If you have children who just love sticking things in their mouth, (most kids do!) choosing Magna-Tiles may be the best choice to ensure that everyone remains safe.
How to Decide Between Picasso Tiles and Magna Tiles
Which of these two is the best magnetic tiles for kids? Whichever one you pick, you and your kids will still have tons of fun especially when your kids’ imagination goes wild. Just imagine what they might build using these tiles!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are magnetic tiles dangerous?
Magnetic tiles manufacturers must meet government safety regulations in order to sell their products. However, all these products contain small magnets, which may be extremely harmful to children if swallowed. The magnetic tiles should be regularly checked for any signs of damage and damaded tiles should be carefully disposed of.
How do you clean magnetic tiles?
A damp cloth and mild soapy water is usually sufficient. Baby wipes may also be used. Organic solvents should be avoided, since they may damage or dissolve the plastic that the tiles are made of.
Are Picasso Tiles compatible with Magna-Tiles?
Yes! There may be differences in the construction of the pieces, but the size and magnet positioning means that Picasso Tiles and Magna-Tiles can be played and built with together.
Are Magformers compatible with Picasso Tiles or Magna-Tiles?
Compared to Picasso Tiles and Magna-Tiles, Super Magformers are bigger, and Magformers are smaller, respectively. This makes it difficult to use Super Magformers or Magformers with the other two sets, in combined constructions.