The 10 Best Magnetic Toys

Updated January 17, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Magnetic Toys
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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Practically every child is fascinated by the mysterious power of magnetism. Engage your children's curiosity with one of these magnetic toys that will not only provide hours of fun but can also help to improve shape recognition, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best magnetic toy on Amazon.

10. Mudpuppy Robots

The Mudpuppy Robots consists of a storage tin that doubles as a play surface for arranging the objects and characters contained within. Kids can create a customized little robot friend and then make up a story about them for some really imaginative play.
  • choice of 4 illustrated backgrounds
  • great toy to travel with
  • thin pieces are prone to tearing
Brand Mudpuppy
Model 21397
Weight 13.4 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Thames & Kosmos Science Kit

The Thames & Kosmos Science Kit is a great learning and teaching tool that keeps kids engaged and having fun. It will help them understand the fundamentals of magnetism over the course of more than 30 experiments, with a colorful instruction manual as their guide.
  • designed for kids aged 8 to 15
  • great for budding scientists
  • some materials feel a bit cheap
Brand Thames & Kosmos
Model 665050
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Woodlev Levitron

The Woodlev Levitron consists of a 6-inch spinning globe that uses polarity to "magically" float in the air above an included platform that's made to look like a book. It's a stylish addition to any room, and doubles as an educational toy to teach kids about geography.
  • available in blue or gold
  • base can be flipped or rotated
  • hard to position for levitation
Brand woodlev
Model pending
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Rainbow Mags Igloo Set

The Rainbow Mags Igloo Set comes with 40 tiles in a variety of shapes, colors, and styles, each with a clear center panel. The pieces are reinforced for durability so they can stand up to multiple drops, making it a great choice for children who are known to play rough.
  • improves hand-eye coordination
  • build pre-set forms or make your own
  • attraction can be a bit weak
Brand Magnetic Stick N Stack
Model pending
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Original Magnetic Poetry Kit

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 bard, or just for adding funny and inspirational messages to any kitchen or office break room.
  • develops creative writing skills
  • made in the united states
  • have to separate the pieces yourself
Brand Magnetic Poetry
Model 9781890560010
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Holy Stone Doodle Sketch

The Holy Stone Doodle Sketch brings a colorful twist to the classic erasable drawing board. Your kids can enjoy hours of mess-free art and writing using the tethered stylus, and they'll never need a sharpened pencil or a new crayon.
  • great for car and plane trips
  • sturdy abs plastic frame
  • may not erase entirely on first try
Brand Holy Stone
Model pending
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

4. Newisland Building Tiles

The Newisland Building Tiles are both fun and educational, allowing kids to create a myriad of geometric shapes and structures out of its 40-piece set. It's safe for young children as well, with no small parts or possible pinched fingers to worry about.
  • packs into a convenient storage case
  • includes a manual with play ideas
  • different colors on each side
Brand Newisland
Model pending
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Magna-Tiles Clear Colors

The Magna-Tiles Clear Colors are just as much fun for older kids as they are for younger ones. It unlocks a child's inner architect and teaches them about balance and design. All 100 pieces connect easily to create cubes, pyramids and other 3-dimensional shapes.
  • great for learning shape recognition
  • teaches real building techniques
  • tiles are reinforced for durability
Brand Valtech Company
Model 1517888
Weight 6 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. LittleBits Rule Your Room Kit

Ideal for older kids with an inventive mindset, the LittleBits Rule Your Room Kit uses magnetic components to teach the basics of circuitry. It includes instructions for building eight functional objects, but imaginative builders can come up with thousands of their own.
  • expandable with additional kits
  • from an award-winning manufacturer
  • great balance of education and fun
Brand littleBits
Model 680-0009-0000A
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Magformers Building Set

All the pieces of the Magformers Building Set have super-strong neodymium magnets on each side, which ensures that constructions stay firmly connected once built. Each set is also compatible with any other tiles from this brand, so you can feel free to mix and match.
  • lots of color options to choose from
  • allows for building tall structures
  • good value for the size of the set
Brand Magformers
Model MAIN-68954
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

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 on January 17, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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