The benefits of magnetic tiles
Our magnetic tile sets and ball runs have been one of our bestsellers this year and we are not surprised. Children love to explore them and play with them. As they are so beneficial for children, we invited the wonderful Kara from @our.tiny.moments to tell you all about the benefits and how you can create exciting and fun invitations to play for your children with them. Kara is a Science teacher and the Mum of two super cute little boys. On her instagram account @our.tiny.moments she shares a lot of great learning activities to keep her boys busy.
What are Magnetic Tiles?
Learn & Grow Magnetic Tiles are the must have open-ended resource for all children. Not only do they provide endless possibilities for play, they also encourage children to build key skills in development. Children need to be allowed to be children, and play is a large part of that. Play, especially open-ended play allows children to make sense of the world around them and ultimately build the skills needed to learn for the future.
In early childhood the brain is rapidly developing. Between the ages of 0-5 children are learning vital life skills that can significantly influence social, emotional, physical and cognitive aspects of their life as they grow and mature into adults. Play is meaningful, interesting, engaging, socially interactive and fluid. Meaning children can grow and develop at their own pace and without boundaries. Learn & Grow Magnetic Tiles are great for children to engage in open ended play, or even adults.
The magnets inside our Learn & Grow Magnetic Tiles are strong which allows your children to build tall structures and buildings that do not collapse easily. The production process of the Learn & Grow Magnetic Tiles includes ultrasonic welding and the insertion of rivets which secure the magnets safely inside the magnetic tiles. The internal structure also enhances the stability of the magnetic tiles and decreases the chance of breakages. Learn & Grow Magnetic Tiles are made from non-toxic ABS plastic that is BPA and phthalate-free and incredibly durable. These vividly coloured magnetic tiles have a beautiful glass-like finish and the little raised lip around the outside makes them less likely to be scratched.
Why are Magnetic Tiles beneficial for your children?
Before you purchase a toy for your child you want to ensure not only is it something that they will enjoy, but also something that will encourage their development and provide an educational experience. Magnetic tiles promote the following skills:
Magnetic tiles are the perfect STEM resource for children. STEM is the integration of four key subjects, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The key ideas behind this in early childhood are to encourage children to be curious, ask questions, think creatively, work collaboratively and solve problems. Using magnetic tiles allows children to move through different levels of play. They can practice skills such as building a simple ball run structure exploring scientific concepts of gravity. Then using engineering skills and try the possibility of adding extra tiles to make it taller or faster and then revise why the structure collapsed, and try again. This process not only builds resilience, but also leads to problem solving and critical thinking skills. Children can also use magnetic tiles to build curiosity and ask questions, such as what happens if we mix red and blue or blue and yellow? Experimentation is also a skill that can be developed by using magnetic tiles. For example - building three different sized ramps and exploring why the car travels faster down the steeper ramp. It allows children to ask relevant questions and find answers to those questions. The key process in STEM learning.
📸 by Kara @our.tiny.moments
Hand eye coordination
This is a complex skill that young children sometimes struggle with. It is the simultaneous use of the hands and eyes. These skills are particularly important in everyday tasks such as writing, buttoning up a shirt, doing up shoelaces or pouring water into a cup. Building with magnetic tiles can improve hand eye coordination. As a child picks up a tile and connects it to another tile they are developing an awareness of the relationship between their eyes and hands. Allowing children to simply connect and take apart the tiles can start to build those skills and they can further develop into a more complex hand eye coordination such as placing that top tile on the tall structure without knocking it down. Putting a ball in a ball run can also build hand eye coordination.
📸 by Kara @our.tiny.moments
Fine and gross motor skills
Building with magnetic tiles can stimulate the development of gross and fine motor skills. Gross motor development is the large body movements needed for physical skills such as running and jumping. You can use magnetic tiles are an obstacle course in order to practice gross motor skills such as stepping over objects, or by building a wall and throwing a bean bag at it to watch it crash down. Fine motor skills are the precise movements using the smaller muscles in the hands and fingers. There are endless possibilities for developing these skills with magnetic tiles such as posting pom poms or colour sorting using tongs.
Imaginative and creative play
Magnetic tiles provide the perfect opportunity for children to use their imagination and be creative. Imaginative play allows children to understand the world around them as well as themselves. It builds language and social skills as children role play, helps them self-regulate their emotions. They can express their likes and dislikes such as building a rocket for a child who is interested in space or a castle for children interested in dragons or an ice cream stand, because what child doesn’t like ice cream? The opportunity for imaginative play with magnetic tiles is endless. You can further extend imaginative play through bookish play, such as making a whale out of tiles.
📸 by Kara @our.tiny.moments
Literacy and numeracy
These particular skills are key for the basis of learning at school. Magnetic tiles provide the perfect opportunity for literacy and numeracy development in early childhood. Magnetic tiles can be used to construct numbers or patterns and shape recognition. Another activity is understanding positional mathematics by asking children to place an object in, behind, next to, in front of the tile box. There are endless possibilities in regards to literacy development such as using a whiteboard marker to write the alphabet on the tiles and then place them in order, or placing an object starting with each letter inside the tile box. Children need opportunities to blend their skills and magnetic tiles allow this to happen. They can learn scientific concepts, foster curiosity in a creative and imaginative way, all while playing.
📸 by Kara @our.tiny.moments
A toy for children of all ages
Another advantage to magnetic tiles is they are essentially cost-effective in the long run as they can be enjoyed at all developmental stages. As children grow their play with magnetic tiles can be constantly reinvented and become more complex. Magnetic tile play evolves over time, that’s the best thing about open ended toys. The way a three year old plays with them is very different to the way a five year old would. They encourage children to create and explore the world around them as well as fostering independence and concentration.
Essentially the possibilities for learning through play for the whole family are endless with Learn & Grow Magnetic Tiles.
Ways to extend magnetic tile play
Magnetic tiles are a great toy for being played with on its own but they are also perfect for being combined with other toys and items that you have at home or in your craft stash. Adding these items allows you to extend learning experiences and create fun play sessions that keep your children entertained for a while.
Add loose parts such as pom poms, bells, magnetic chips
Add animals or vehicles
Use them in bookish play
Explore other magnetic surfaces such as garage doors, fridge or metal fences.
Challenge children to build structures higher or ball runs more complex
Colour match objects to the tile colours
Use a whiteboard marker to write on the tiles
Include them in sensory play
Create patterns using colours or shapes
Build a ball run
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog post about the benefits of magnetic tiles and how to use them in play. I would love to hear your ideas and how you play with them.
Thanks so much for this wonderful and informative blog post and all the fantastic photos Kara. We've been so inspired and can't wait to try your play ideas at home with our children. Make sure to visit Kara @our.tiny.moments on Instagram for more fun play ideas and activities!
Oskar's Wooden Ark stocks the whole range of Learn & Grow Magnetic Tiles and we offer the ball run extension set in combination with either the 110 pieces or the 64 pieces set as well. All our Learn & Grow Magnetic Tiles sets work together and are compatible with all major brands: Picasso Tiles, Connetix Tiles, Magna-Tiles and others magnetic tiles in the same size and with magnets in the same spot.
The large squares and car bases now come in a new design which includes extra magnets in the centre. The extra magnets allow you to build higher and increase the stability of your builds. From now on all our sets will include these new designs. We will update the photos below as soon as our shipment arrives and we have a chance to take photos.
Learn & Grow Magnetic Tiles - 110 pieces
Learn & Grow Magnetic Tiles - 64 pieces
Learn & Grow Magnetic Tiles Ball Run Expansion - 84 pieces
Learn & Grow Magnetic Tiles - 64 pieces + Ball Run Expansion - 84 pieces
Learn & Grow Magnetic Tiles - 110 pieces + Ball Run Expansion - 110 pieces