Helps kids understand engineering basics
Ideal for solo and collaborative play
An easy-to-use STEM toy
Fosters creative play
Adults will enjoy, too
Many pieces to clean up
In an era where many parents are increasingly concerned about too much screen time among kids, it’s great to unplug with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) toys that don’t need to be charged. Valtech’s Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100-Piece Set is a popular toy for toddlers thanks to its durability, versatility, and educational value. My husband and I recently had our two kids (ages 21 months old and 3.5 years old) put the set to the test. Keep reading to see if it stacks up to its reputation as a fun learning toy.
Design: Creative play in a snap
This set includes 100 colorful, translucent pieces (four large squares, 50 small squares, 20 equilateral triangles, 11 right triangles, and 15 isosceles triangles), so there’s plenty of building possibilities depending on the child’s age and developmental level. They’re made of food-grade ABS plastic that’s free of phthalates, latex, and BPA.
The smaller shapes measure about 3 inches wide, and each tile is a quarter of an inch thick, so they’re easy for small hands to grasp. The pieces have thin magnets along the edges that snap together easily and make an ever-so-satisfying “clicking” noise. This makes it effortless for younger kids who are still developing their motor skills.
The magnets snap together easily, making it effortless for younger kids who are still developing their motor skills.
The fun isn’t just reserved for little ones. We were just as excited to build with our kids and even proudly display their artistic wonders after playtime. Even better, the flat shape makes them less painful to step on in the middle of the night than other building blocks. However, knocking down your kiddo’s painstakingly built Magna-Tiles skyscraper after bedtime is another (very noisy) story.
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Entertainment Value: Magnetic in more ways than one
The range of shapes and quantities allows kids to really get their creative juices flowing. This toy was entertaining enough to hold the attention of our two toddlers for at least an hour every time. We watched as our older child, our son, built six-story buildings, homes with driveways and gates, simple cubes and pyramids, and many other colorful structures, while the younger one, our daughter, was just as easily entertained laying the tiles side-by-side into abstract shapes.
This toy was entertaining enough to hold the attention of our two toddlers for at least an hour every time.
Educational Value: Intro to engineering
We easily envisioned future engineers as we watched our little ones play with this STEM toy. Kids will learn how to problem-solve sagging surfaces by adding supports or even add on to each other’s creations.
The tiles have educational value beyond building 2D and 3D objects. While our 21-month-old was infatuated with categorizing and stacking the same shapes together, our 3.5-year-old loved counting out the different sizes and colors. What’s also great about the 100-piece set is that there’s enough for two kids to play.
Age Range: 3 years and up, but younger kids can still play
The manufacturer’s recommended starting age is 3. Our son has played with another Magna-Tiles set at least once a week since getting them as a third birthday gift, and his designs have become noticeably more imaginative and advanced as each month goes by.
That’s not to say that younger kids won’t benefit from playing with these magnetized building toys, as we’ve observed how long they’re able to keep our daughter occupied. The pieces are so large that we didn't have any concerns about choking.
Ease of Cleaning: 100 pieces can be difficult to wrangle
Given that there are 100 individual pieces in the set, cleaning up can be quite a task—but that’s when the “clean up game” comes in handy. The smooth plastic pieces are easy to wipe off, and spilled liquid or small particles like sand won’t seep inside, either, thanks to the rivets that hold the corners tightly together.
Given that there are 100 individual pieces in the set, cleaning up can be quite a task.
Price: A good investment
Priced at around $120 MSRP, we consider this a worthy investment because pieces are sturdy and long-lasting. The fact that they’re engaging for a range of ages and live up to their STEM toy label adds even more value.
Competition: Magna-Tiles vs. Tegu Tiles
As owners of a small set of wooden Tegu tiles ($140 for a 52-piece set), we can attest that the Magna-Tiles are much more affordable and easier for very young kids to use. While the Tegu tiles will appeal to parents who are trying to avoid plastic products, toddlers who don’t yet grasp the concept of magnets (specifically, how the north and south poles attract and repel) may get easily frustrated during play.
An even more wallet-friendly option is the 40-piece Manve Magnetic Tiles set ($16 MSRP), which our kids received as a gift. Unlike the Magna-Tiles, the frame-like tiles are slightly smaller, and the only reason our children didn’t use them as often was that they had fewer of them. They’re compatible with Magna-Tiles and other similar off-brand magnetic tile sets, so long as kids don’t mind mismatched tile sizes and designs.
- Product Name Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100-Piece Set
- Product Brand Valtech
- UPC 631291043003
- Price $119.99
- Weight 5.5 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 12.2 x 3.1 x 8.7 in.
- Manufacturer’s Recommended Age 3+
- What’s Included 100 magnetic pieces (4 large squares, 50 small squares, 20 equilateral triangles, 11 right triangles, and 15 isosceles triangles)