One of the issues with baby number two is that inevitably you need to entertain the elder child while feeding, changing and cleaning the baby. Not that I would change it for the world but to be honest it wasn’t something that I had thought about prior to having Kipper and so hadn’t done anything to help solve the problem. Short of cutting myself in half or creating a clone I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, until the family centric company that is Magformers very kindly sent us a package. Monkey at four doesn’t have a particularly long attention span. That it until it comes to these, so much so that I am considering buying their new robot or dinosaur version. They are not the cheapest toy going but they are worth very penny.
What are Magformers?
They are an open ended construction toy. The plastic shapes house magnets specifically designed to attract each other which means that they can be attached at virtually any angle. Plus they are eight times stronger than normal magnets. As the shapes are hollow they are great for little hands, the plastic casing is bright, BPA free and strong. Meaning that the magnets can not be extracted. They are tactile and attractive to both children and adults alike.
We were sent one of their best sellers the 16 piece wow set which is designed as an introduction into the world of magfomers and aimed at children aged 3+. In the kit you get:
- 8 triangles
- 5 squares
- 1 square with a little man in the centre
- 2 sets of wheels
- 10 cards showing 20 mini cars you can build
- 4 A3 cards showing 10 different kinds of planar figures (2 dimensional patterns that create 3D geometric shapes)
- 5 different pattern and shape cards showing 11 images and backgrounds for play
Anything with wheels is an automatic winner in our house, however I completely under estimated the amount of interest Magformers would hold. After all it is only a sixteen piece set…
Monkey prefers to build the mini cars at the moment – following the cards he matches the colours to make sure he’s getting it right!
Then he will play with the car for a little while before demolishing it and starting over with another one. Every card gets the same remark “This one looks interesting mummy!” I like that while he is playing his mind is obviously working in over drive. He takes the car he has made and then exclaims he has a good idea and promptly changes something.
I met the Magformers team at the Toy Fair and I can honestly say that they are extremely passionate about their product and its educational nature. I was very taken with the companies ethos. The idea initially came from the Managing Director looking for an educational toy for his daughter, not finding it and so then filling the gap in the market.
Magformers are designed to help foster 3D thinking, which in turn will help to develop eight forms of intelligence in children – modelling, reasoning, sensory development, curiosity, creativity, imagination, mathematical thinking and scientific thinking. You can read more about each form on their website here. Watching Monkey I can see evidence of some of these, the way he talks to himself as he builds demonstrates reasoning. His problem solving skills have improved along with his imagination and ability to go off piste and build other things which are not on the cards.
At the moment he is struggling with the fact that you can lay out the shapes in 2D and the pick them up and they click together to create the 3D model. Instead he choses to try and build it himself. I hope in time it will come, as then I really will know he is expanding his 3D brain.
Things we love in addition to the educational value:
- The cards – oh I love these, Monkey will happily follow the pictorial diagram and recreate either the car or the shape. There are two sizes, the car ones are just a bit smaller than A4, the planar figures A3, both are made from glossy paper (so I am intending to laminate ours). They are bright, colourful, inviting and easy to follow. It also means that when I can’t play with him due to feeding etc he has the starting point. Of course where he ends up maybe very different!
- Because the shapes are hollow they are easy to manipulate. This is important when you are trying to understand how they best fit together.
- All the Magformers sets will fit together which means you can build a substantial collection over time. However I am amazed by just how much you can get out of this sixteen piece set. It is definitely a good starting point.
- The bright colours, each piece is semi translucent and has different colours on each side.
- They don’t take up much room which means they are mobile – a perfect handbag toy for travel or eating out. A welcome change to tablet or mobile phone!
- Monkeys concentration – I was truly amazed by how long his play sessions last with these, compared to the other toys we have nothing comes close. He will happily play for up to an hour at a time without any intervention.
Things we are not keen on – there aren’t any! We love them so much that I am considering buying another set – although Monkey will probably have to fight Hubby off for first dibs!
I know there are a lot of construction toys in the market, but I would highly recommend these, especially this set as its a great starting point. You can see all the different sets available on their website – http://magformers.co.uk. I am not surprised that they have won all the awards they have, in my opinion Magformers are worth every penny.
We were given a Magformers Wow Set for the purpose of this review, all opinions are our own
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