10 Best Magnetic Toys | March 2017

We spent 31 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Every child is fascinated by the mysterious power of magnetism. Engage your kid's curiosity with one of these magnetic toys that will not only provide hours of fun but can help to improve shape recognition, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Skip to the best magnetic toy on Amazon.
10 Best Magnetic Toys | March 2017

Overall Rank: 2
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 3
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 6
Best Inexpensive
The Thames & Kosmos Magnetic Science kit is a great learning and teaching tool that keeps kids engaged and having fun. It will help kids understand how magnets work and allows them to perform over 30 experiments, such as making magnetic fields and creating electromagnets.
The Original Magnetic Poetry Kit is a good gift for older kids, teens, and even adults. It can be used both as a tool for unleashing one's inner muse, or just to create funny, off-color messages in the kitchen or office break room.
The Rainbow Mags Igloo comes with 40 magnetic tiles in six different shapes. Each tile has blocks, rivets and lattice, making them durable enough to stand up to multiple drops, and even children who are rough on their toys.
The Woodlev Levitron is a 6-inch, black and gold rotating globe that magically floats in the air and will delight both kids and adults. It makes a stylish addition to any room, and doubles as an educational toy to teach kids about geography.
  • also available in traditional colors
  • base looks like a text book
  • hard to find perfect levitation spot
Brand woodlev
Model pending
Weight 2.8 pounds
The Mudpuppy Robots Magnetic Figures has a storage tin that doubles as a play surface, making it a great travel toy. Kids can create a customized little robot friend and then make up a story about their 'bot for some really imaginative play.
  • four illustrated background scenes
  • printed with nontoxic inks
  • thin magnets prone to tearing
Brand Mudpuppy
Model 21397
Weight 13.4 ounces
The Newisland Building Blocks are both fun and challenging, allowing youngsters to create a myriad of geometric shapes and structures out of its 66-piece set. It's great for learning about basic physical properties in the process.
  • different colors on each side
  • includes user manual with play ideas
  • comes with a container bag
Brand Newisland
Model pending
Weight 1.6 ounces
The Holy Stone Doodle Sketch magnetic erasable drawing board puts a colorful twist on this classic toy. Your kid can enjoy hours and hours of mess-free art and writing using the tethered stylus, and they never need a sharpened pencil or a new crayon.
  • great for car or plane trips
  • strong abs plastic frame
  • built-in carrying handle
Brand Holy Stone
Model pending
Weight 1.7 pounds
The Magna-Tiles Clear Colors are just as much fun for older kids as they are for younger ones. It will unlock a child's inner architect and teach about balance and design. All of the pieces easily connect together to create cubes, pyramids and other 3-dimensional shapes.
  • great for shape recognition
  • improves fine motor skills
  • can be used for guided activities
Brand Valtech Company
Model 1517888
Weight 6.2 pounds
All of the pieces of the Magformers Standard Set have a super strong neodymium rare-earth magnet inside them, which ensures that constructions stay firmly connected once built. This set is also compatible with all other Magformers shapes and accessories.
  • easy for kids to use
  • pieces have vibrant colors
  • good value for the size of the set
Brand Magformers
Model 63076
Weight 1.2 pounds
The Tegu 42-Piece includes nine unique shapes and a set of four magnetic wheels, so children can make anything from animals to buildings to vehicles. All of the magnets are safely embedded inside the wooden blocks, and they are available in a range of colors.
  • safe water-based finishes
  • good for open-ended play
  • fun for a wide age range of kids
Brand Tegu
Model 42P-TNT-306T
Weight 4.8 pounds

Single People Make Good Magnets

In the 21st century, more and more of the toys our children acquire are, in one way or another, electric. From handheld gaming devices to smartphones, all of these electric devices are inherently also magnetic. That's because magnetism and electricity are largely two sides of the same coin. When a magnet attracts a piece of metal to it, it does so by inducing an electrical current at the atomic level that causes the metal to experience a force pulling it toward the magnet.

When we talk about magnetic toys, however, we're referring to much more obvious magnets, to permanently magnetic pieces of iron composite that conveniently snap together to create an educational, and often architectural experience for children. There are a few magnetic toys on our list that are a little more adult-oriented, of course, but who ever said toys were just for kids?

Magnetic force is directional, which is why those traditional bar magnets have an N and an S for north and south respectively printed on their opposite poles. To understand how natural or mechanical forces can establish that direction, we have to look at the atoms that make up the bar.

An atom has a certain number of electrons in orbitals around a nucleus. These electrons, rather like planets orbiting a star, have each their own spin. In some elements, each of those spinning electrons has a partner that opposes it in the direction of its spin. One electron spinning clockwise has a partner spinning counterclockwise to complement it.

Other elements, however, have one or more rogue electrons who come stag to the prom, without a partner in tow. If a force acts on these electrons to influence the direction of their spin, the electromagnetic current gains directional specificity, and a magnetic field generates around the atom, flowing south to north in the direction of the spin.

That atom has essentially become a magnet, and a material like iron (which has four such rogue electrons per atom), when magnetized, will maintain its induced magnetic direction. That allows north to stay north and south to stay south, allowing one piece of a magnetic children's toy set to attract and stick to another.

Attractive To Everybody

Given the endlessly variegated uses for even the most common magnets, it makes sense that there are equally variegated options among magnetic toys on the market. Figuring out which of those toys will make a proper gift (even if you give that gift to yourself) will depend largely on the person receiving the magnets.

Some of the magnetic toys sets on our list are clearly intended to stimulate a young person's architectural curiosity. They use magnetic edges in much the way that Lego sets use snapping plastic fittings to create cohesion between and among building blocks. These sets are great for kids from the lowest recommended age groups on up, as they provide meaningful lessons in spacial relations to the youngest kids, and opportunities for more nuanced artistic expression among the older boys and girls.

The magnetic toys on our list that are less centered around the act of building usually have some scientific bent to them, as they give children an opportunity to explore the practical truths about magnetic interactions. While these sets might not go very far to explain why magnetism works, they will build a fundamental understanding of the science's tenets in whomever uses them.

Among the sets on our list that would make better toys for slightly older demographics, you'll find sets that utilize neodymium and other highly magnetic elements to create elaborate and often artistic shapes. These magnets are extremely powerful, however, and they're very easy to accidentally ingest if left in the presence of a very small child or an animal. More than one of these magnets in a mammalian digestive tract usually spells surgery or death, so beware.

Across The Magnetic Field

If Max Eisenhardt, better known to many as Magneto, wants to get in touch with his mutant roots, he's going to have to take a trip to Turkey. In Turkey, in a town currently called Mansia, but known in antiquity as Magnesia, magnetic lodestone was discovered and used by the people of the Middle East and Europe, giving the magnet its name.

Even before those days, however, the ancient Chinese had already begun to utilize the powers of magnets to guide the organization of their living spaces toward an ultimate harmony. That practice, which has been co-opted by endless Western interior decorators, is known as Feng Shui.

In the 13th century, navigators began to use magnetic compasses to determine their routes of transit, and more scientific studies of magnetism continued, leading eventually to a comprehensive theory of electromagnetism posited by James Clerk Maxwell in the 19th century.

Our atomic understanding of magnetism wouldn't develop until the 20th century, and the specifics of that science continue to evolve as quantum physicists study the complex reactions of magnetic structures at a sub-atomic level. Will their studies have much of an impact on the world of toys? Probably not one that you can see in toys as simple as these, but those more highly complex electrical devices will benefit from an ever-deepening understanding of those forces.

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Last updated: 03/28/2017 | Authorship Information