In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this popular children’s toy.
Can 2 year olds play with magnetic tiles?
Magnetic tiles are an incredibly popular toy worldwide for a very good reason. They’re incredibly versatile, open-ended, and easy to use. Oh, and did we mention super fun, too?
We all know that small children love to get creative with building blocks of all different kinds. Once you’ve seen how much fun kids can have with magnetic building blocks, it’s natural to think about introducing them to toddlers aged 2 and below too. But is that a good idea?
Read on to find out everything you need to know if you’re considering letting younger children play with magnetic tiles.
What is the recommended age for magnetic tiles?
All reputable brands of magnetic tiles will have a minimum recommended age of 3 years old clearly marked somewhere on the packaging. To our knowledge, there are no other toys around of this kind that are aimed directly at children under 3.
There’s a very good reason for this, and it comes down to national toy safety standards for the country you live in. In the US, the UK, and many other parts of the world, any toy which could potentially contain small parts can only be recommended for use by children aged 3+.
This is because those small parts could potentially become an extremely dangerous choking hazard if a child put them in his or her mouth and tried to swallow them.
It’s worth noting that this is the case for any toy with potential small parts, not just magnetic toys – even if those small parts are secured out of reach.
Manufacturers are bound by law to place these safety warnings on their products.
Are magnetic tiles safe for 18 month and 2 year olds?
As we all know, babies, older toddlers and small children often have a strong urge to put things in their mouths. This is a primary way in which they explore the world around them. There’s so much to explore when you’re so little and everything is so new!
However, most children grow out of this habit of mouthing everything by around 3 years of age. That’s why toys with small parts always have a warning that they are not considered to be suitable for children younger than 3 (or 36 months).
There is also the additional risk that could be posed by the magnets inside the tiles. Magnets could be very harmful if swallowed. Any magnetic tile set made by a regulated manufacturer will also carry separate warnings about the potential risks posed by swallowing magnets.
If you are thinking of giving any little people in your house a magnetic tile set to play with, you should be aware of these risks before you make a decision.
What kind of magnetic blocks should I buy for my toddler?
So let’s say you are the parent of a child under 3 and you’re keen to introduce magnetic play tiles to your little one.
It may be that your little one is past the stage of putting things in their mouths, and you also intend to supervise them closely during play.
Regardless, there are some important features that all the best magnetic tiles sets have in common. These safety features minimise the risks.
Before you buy, make sure your purchase ticks all these boxes.
Key features of the safest and best magnetic tiles brands
- ABS plastic tiles: ABS plastic is highly durable and non-toxic, which is why it is used to make many of the most popular toys for toddlers as well as older kids.
It is also BPA free, which means it doesn’t contain potentially dangerous chemicals that you wouldn’t want your kids exposed to.
Another great feature about ABS plastic is that it is shatterproof, so it can withstand a good deal of reasonable daily wear and tear.
- Gentle edges: Whether they are triangle, rectangle or square tiles, they should be slightly rounded in each corner and blunt on every edge.
This will ensure they feel safe and comfortable in little hands, without any sharp points.
- Secure magnets: This is the most important feature of all, and a good manufacturer will make this their top priority.
For example, SUPA STEM magnet tiles are ultrasonically welded using advanced technology that keeps the magnets safely encased inside.
Do 2 year olds like playing with magnetic tiles?
Aside from the safety aspects, it’s worth considering if your child is developmentally ready for magnetic activities.
Not all kids develop at the same rate, so some may not have the fine motor skills necessary to manipulate the pieces or the cognitive ability to understand how they fit together.
It might frustrate them, for example, if they’re not able to start building tall towers as easily as they do with traditional wooden blocks.
It’s important to observe your child’s behavior and level of interest to determine whether they’re ready for this type of toy. If you find they aren’t enjoying it, you can always wait a few months before trying again.
How many magnetic tiles do I need to buy?
Even a handful of tiles can be a great inspiration for imaginative play, story telling, and more. However, the more magnetic tiles you have, the more your kid can build.
We recommend purchasing a set that features a range of colours as this can make playing with them much more engaging for young children. You should also opt for a set which includes different shapes to maximise the learning opportunity.
If you’re unsure, it’s a great idea to start with a smaller set that you can add to as your kids get older. Just make sure you check for compatibility, as if your newer and older sets are different sizes they won’t connect together well. That’s sure to get your kiddos feeling quickly frustrated.
What are the benefits of magnetic tiles for toddlers?
Magnetic tiles are a fantastic all-round toy and offer a wide range of benefits for kids of all ages. That’s what makes them a strong parent favorite worldwide, and a great addition to any playroom.
Here are six of the main advantages:
- Encourages creativity: Magnetic tiles are great for encouraging imagination and creativity. With magnetic tiles, they can build all sorts of structures, from houses to castles, to cars and airplanes, and whatever else their little hearts desire.
The tiles allow for endless possibilities and are only limited by your child’s imagination.
- Develops spatial awareness: Magnetic tiles help to develop your child’s spatial awareness by allowing them to understand how different shapes and objects fit together.
As they play, they’ll learn about concepts like symmetry, balance, and geometric shapes.
- Improves fine motor skills: Playing with magnetic tiles requires your toddler to manipulate the tiles, pick them up, and fit them together.
This helps to improve their dexterity and fine motor skills whilst also teaching hand-eye coordination. Plus, the magnetic aspect of the tiles adds an extra level of challenge and engagement for your little one.
- Promotes problem-solving skills: As your child builds with magnetic tiles, they’ll encounter problems like figuring out how to balance a structure, create a stable base for their creations or complete a shape.
This helps to develop their problem-solving skills and encourages them to think creatively to find solutions.
- Provides sensory stimulation: Magnetic tiles are visually stimulating and come in a range of bright colors, which can help to improve your child’s visual perception.
They also provide a satisfying tactile experience as your child picks them up and manipulates them.
- Encourages social interaction: Magnetic tiles are great for playing with others, whether it’s parents, siblings or at a playdate with friends.
Playing with others can help your toddler develop social skills like sharing ideas, taking turns, and communication.
Summary: Can toddlers play with magnetic tiles?
Magnetic tiles can be awesome educational toys for kids, but when it comes to 2-year-olds and below, there are a few things to consider:
- Safety concerns: Any decent brand of magnetic toy should make the safety warnings clear on the packaging. Because of the small but serious risk of younger children swallowing small parts, they are not recommended for toddlers under the age of 3. Swallowing magnets can be particularly dangerous.
- Playing it safe: Always supervise closely when kids play with magnetic toys, even if they are much older than 2. If you notice any damage to the tiles, safely dispose of them immediately. Adult supervision is key.
- Buy the right set: Make sure you only purchase magnetic tiles that are made of durable, non-toxic plastic. The magnets should be securely encased inside. Any reputable brand will be happy to give you more information about how their tiles are made.
- Your child: If you’re thinking of buying a set as a birthday gift, you might want to borrow a set from a friend first to see if your little one is ready and/or interested in playing with magnetic tiles. Children develop at different rates (and have different interests, of course). If he or she doesn’t enjoy playing with them now, try again in a few months.
When played within an age appropriate way, magnetic blocks can be a really cool toy for kids and adults alike.
Creating their own structures, sharing great ideas, and discovering new skills together is an awesome way to spend time together as a family!
We hope this guide to magnetic tiles for toddlers has been helpful!
You might also like:
Psst…want freebies? We’re giving away dozens of free printables, including coloring pages, activity books, and more.
Just enter your email below so we know where to send your exclusive link (you’ll get access to all our other free downloads too!).
We’ll send it instantly so you can access this download straight away.