Recently, the Doll House & Toy Store allowed my family to explore a fun toy from their store. The SmartMax Magnetic Discovery box is a kit of magnetic balls and straight and curved bars. My children are 1, 6, 8 and 9 years old. While the baby was sleeping, I pulled out the box to let my girls play. I gave them no instruction aside from keeping all the pieces together as we were only borrowing the toy. I wanted to see what they would do on their own.
Instantly, my early readers began trying to create letters and spelling out family names. Quickly, they began creating intricate shapes using their imaginations. They quickly had pieces standing and sticking. Here, they created a ferris wheel. Other obligations ended their play, not their boredom.
The next day, I sat down with my 17 month old. Although the box advises play for 3+year olds, as baby #4 he already plays well with other choking hazards like Matchbox cars and small Legos. I didn’t leave him while playing, but I wasn’t stressed by these huge magnets that are about the size of golf balls. My little man LOVED them. He immediately understood that they could stick together and pull apart. He would pick through the box, deliberately looking for colors or similar pieces. It was fascinating to watch. We (as in me to him 😉 ) would talk about same and different and the various color names.
I was delighted and surprised to see him using his imagination with this toy. On his own, he put together a long bar and a metal bar. He looked up at me while singing and and said Dada. Of course. It was a microphone, and he was pretending to be just like his Daddy, a musician. Be still my heart.
Later, I asked them what they thought of the toy. They loved the ease of a magnetic toy and the freedom to play with something that wouldn’t hurt their baby brother. All other magnet toys have been banned from the house because of that danger. They said the toy was best for someone their brother’s age to about Kindergarten. Although they enjoyed the toy, they all agreed for their age group, you would need 3 or 4 boxes to create the “complicated ideas” they had. At that price, they were happy to stick with Legos. I loved that my son, under my watch, could explore and learn about magnets without the choking hazard.
Our recommendation? It would be a great gift for a 2-3 year old to experience and grow with. Thanks again to The Doll House & Toy Store for allowing us to borrow and review the SmartMax Magnetic Discovery kit!