Magnetism is a magic-like topic. Kids relate very well with magnets because they perceive these as toys. If you are looking for some recommendations of magnetic toys, you are on the right page.
Think about it and even adults have fun with magnets. We see them everywhere, and they are everywhere, even inside of things you don’t imagine.
Magnets can make objects levitate or move them without touching them, which is the reason why kids find these objects very entertaining.
Magnetism is a very interesting topic and one that can be hard to understand using only text and equations, but if you demonstrate the effects of magnets, things can move faster.
This is why this page is dedicated to see in detail the ups and downs of magnetic toys and kits.
What are the best magnetic toys?
What is magnetism?
Magnetism is a force exerted by magnets over some metallic materials or other magnets, when they repel or attract each other.
Every material on the planet has atoms, which have other particles with electric charges. These electric charges move when exposed to other electric charges, and this movement is called electric current.
Think of charges as millions and millions of drops of water, that are moved when other drops of water move them. The analogy is not complete yet, but this is a start.
As I said, every material has these particles with electric charges, but some materials are better than others for these particles to move through.
Metals are the best materials to conduct electric charges, and thus, are affected by magnetism.
Not all metals have magnetic properties. The aluminum, for instance, is paramagnetic, which means that under normal circumstances, it is not affected by the magnetic field of any magnet.
This is due to its internal structure.
I will do a much more detailed study of magnetism at another page on this site, but for now, this is enough for starting to have fun with magnetic toys.
Are magnetic toys safe for my kids? Do these pose any danger?
Magnetism can be very friendly with kids, yet there are a few things you should consider when playing with these sets.
Just like any other metal, it can be dangerous if it gets in contact with electricity, so be careful that your kid does not put these into the electric outlet.
However, most magnetic toys are designed with these considerations in mind. They are big enough so your kid can’t put these into the electric outlets of your house.
Even the magnets that go on the fridge, are magnetic toys. So you can start to imagine how friendly these are.
Now, more advanced sets and kits will have stronger magnets. The main risk with these may not be with electric outlets, but with pinches.
These magnets will attract each other and your kid must be careful with that.
Other than this, magnetic toys are fantastic for kids, and there are magnets for all ages.
What is the recommended age for these kits?
Like I said before, there are magnetic kits for all ages.
Kids of 2 or 3 years old can use the most basic ones. These are magnetic letters and numbers that go onto the fridge.
Those are colorful and safe to use for small kids. The magnets are strong enough to stick to the fridge but not that strong that they could harm your kid.
Then, we have the magnetic tiles, which older kids can use. These are building blocks that you can use to let your kid’s imagination go wild.
7 year old kits and older can use magnetic scientific sets that deal with real magnetism questions and phenomena. These are the most interesting and the ones we’ll deal with there.
How are magnetic toys classified?
If you’ve been following along, then you probably guessed this, but magnetic toys can be classified according to their functions.
These are suited for the youngest children. The magnets that go onto the fridge, or on a booklet are toy magnets.
Kids have their first contact with magnets like these. This is when they start to learn how magnets behave.
If you want your kid to observe magnetic fields, see some cool experiments with magnets or even measure and compare magnetic forces, then these magnetic sets are for you.
These are best for students wanting to experiment with metals and magnets. Observe the effects of magnetic fields and how materials in general respond to these.
Of all the variety of magnetic toys you can find available, these are the most interesting ones. These may be the most expensive ones, but the investment will be worth it.
While the last two categories are pretty interesting and exciting, the most probable is that your kid will have his or her first contact with magnets, with one of these.
These decorative magnets are everywhere. You can find them on desks, stores, shopping malls. And the most common form they take is that of a levitating object or a planetarium spinning system.
As you can imagine, these are super jazzy and people can’t avoid staring at them.
Whatever you are looking for, you’ll find some recommendations for these magnetic toys on this page.
How to find the best magnetic toys?
Most people tend to think that when we talk about the best products in the market, our conversation should be around brands.
The truth is that brands will also charge for the name and fame they have built around them. And this is why I like to go a bit deeper and identify features that make a product good, rather than stick to the typical brands conversation.
In this case, here are a few things that I like to see when purchasing these magnetic toys.
We saw the types of magnetic toys earlier for a reason. And depending on what your purpose for this toy is, you’ll be able to identify the type of toy you want.
If this is for a small child, then you may want to go with the toyish ones, like tiles, letters, numbers, and cartoony shapes.
If you want to illustrate the concepts of magnetism to a student, then a scientific kit is more suitable to you. These are perfect for demonstrating and observing the magnetism phenomena and all its effects.
And finally, if you want something to put on your desk, to make it look cool, then look for a levitron or planetarium moving set.
Another important thing to check is the age range recommended by the manufacturer. This is very important as it will determine if your kid will enjoy the set or not.
Some people think the age range is just a suggestion, but in reality, this label is printed on the box because of something.
It implies safety features, as well as the level of maturity your kid should have to successfully interact with the toy.
Please don’t feel that you’ll be challenging your 3 year old kit with something that is labeled 7+ years old. More than a challenge, this could be a threat to your kid’s safety and bring some frustration.
Types and variety of magnets
This will apply mostly to sets, but in order to have interesting and educative experiments, you want to have a vast variety of magnets.
The common “U” shape one, or the bar. Some disk shapes as well will help, and finally, any other interesting form that a kit can offer.
It may be a bit more advanced, but a model of an electric DC motor is pretty educational to understand how magnets can produce something that is useful in the real world.
Like I said, this may be more applicable to scientific sets that toyish magnets, but it doesn’t hurt to check the types and variety of magnets inside a toy set, to make the fun much more interesting.
Everytime I buy a product online, this is something I always check, sometimes without noticing it.
Yet I do like to spend some time reading the actual comments people have about the product I want to get. I scan the questions as well and even ask something myself if there is something I’m not clear about.
Negative comments as well are helpful. With these, more than going through each one, I like to scan them and see if issues repeat or it only has isolated events.
Also, when I see a bad comment, I always try to find what the person complaining did with the product. Did he or she ask for a refund? Is this a verified purchase? Those details are very important and most people don’t publish them.
I find this important and interesting, given that companies like Amazon offer full refunds options and seem like people complain for feeling scammed, but how is that possible if you have a refund option?
Every time I’ve had an issue with a product from Amazon, I just ask for a refund and give it back, and that’s it. Send the product back to the seller and the story is over. I do comment about it but I like to share the full story.
Anyways, I think reading reviews is important, yet the reader must be careful, especially with bad comments, since people tend to be very vocal and expressive when they feel something let them down.
In order to avoid these situations, I like to read the comments, examine if there are any patterns, and go from there.
Also, let me tell you something. I’m here for the experience, so sometimes even if I see a bunch of negative comments but I like the product a lot, I would still buy it and experience it by myself.
I don’t do this with huge investments, but with something like toy magnets, I would definitely do it. I can say I’ve done this more than once and the result has been fantastic, but only because the product really made a lot of sense to me.
This is another important thing to check, and it relates more to the brands than to the actual features or quality of these gadgets.
In terms of price, you can expect to spend less than 50 USD in most sets, and less than 100 USD in some very rare cases.
The price ultimately is something each one of us decides to pay or not, so if you have the budget and want it, go for it and enjoy the ride. If not, then don’t.
There is not much to say about the price other than the ranges you can expect.
Last words about magnetic toys
Magnetic toys are fantastic gadgets for all ages, and everyone can learn something about and with magnets.
I would invest in a magnetic science kit if I wanted to explain or demonstrate the effects of magnetism to my kids.
I would also get some cool magnetic decorative toys to put on my desk, because I like the vibe they add to the atmosphere, and definitely make a space look much more sophisticated.
As for the magnetic toys such as tiles and letters or numbers, I think these are perfect for the youngest ones. Is a great way to start interacting with magnets and experience the effects of magnetism.