We are lucky to have a family of friends with whom we get to play on a regular basis. The children are 4 years old, 3 years old, almost 2 years old, and one and a half years old. Of all the toys available around the house the Magna-Tiles are consistently the biggest hit for ALL FOUR CHILDREN.
Mechanically speaking, the magnets in these toys and the way the shapes go together are appealing for preschool engineers. From an "academic" standpoint, there is a lot of pre-STEM learning to be had. Shapes, colors, numbers, order, volume...all those things that playing with wooden blocks offer are here, too. Imagination can be let loose as well. Triangles "flap" together to be a butterfly. Homes, skyscrapers and tents are built to house various creatures. Blue tiles become rivers and lakes. Squares are lined up to become conveyor belts or choo choos to push along the floor.
What I find really amazing is the ease with which the one year olds can play along with the "big" kids. I have watched one year olds add pieces to a foundation to build up. The snap of the tiles as the magnets draw them together is fabulous and keeps the play going for hours. Hands down, these are my current favorite open-ended, or slow toy.
[Disclosure Statement: This post contains affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I receive a small referral fee at no cost to you. To see how I spend the money see my "Philanthropy" page. ]