Sometimes it is the simplest of toys that hold my kids attention the longest. When my eldest was one he received a musical plant, you build the plant, drop “seeds” into it, then it plays music. Every time I pull this toy out to pass on to someone else, all three of my kids start playing with it again and we end up keeping it. I tried to get rid of their plastic stacking balls, but instead they became bath toys. Magnets are always a big hit in our house, no matter what form they come in, and lately they have been having a lot of fun with a simple set of Magna-Tiles.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar set from Structures Interactive Storytime Magna-Tiles encourages the same kind of play that you would find with a basic set of magnets, but the theme of it also promotes reading and language arts through artwork from the classic story. This was a book that I loved when I was little and it is neat to have a new way of sharing it with my kids.
My older boys have been using this with their four year old sister, having fun helping her with her counting and number recognition. After months without Pre-School their input has been a lot of fun for her. Combine this with her love of Number Blocks and we have another budding math whiz in the family. Both of my older kids have fond memories of learning about the life cycle of a caterpillar at school, and we have spent a lot of time outside this year watching butterflies. Admittedly Flik and Animal Crossing New Horizons have played a huge part in their renewed interest in the insect world. Nevertheless they have enjoyed using these tiles to walk their sister through the same process. For my third grader it has helped him work on his storytelling skills, as he retells the story through tile placement. This was something his second grade teacher had asked us to work on, and I was at a loss for how to begin, this gave me a great prompt.
Five of the tiles can be used to create the caterpillar in 3D, while the other side has the pictures for retelling the story. This particular set contains 16 three-inch square tiles and is compatible with all the other Magna-Tiles® Structures and original Magna-Tiles® Sets. There are eight sets in the Eric Carle series, with all of our favorite stories; Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?, The Very Busy Spider, Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, The Grouchy LadyBug, From Head to Toe, and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear.
While the majority of the tiles in these new sets are square, some of the kits involve other shapes to accommodate the kind of lesson they are teaching. For example in Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me there are 6 equilateral triangle tiles that form a wheel, in order to aid in teaching about the phases of the moon. Each set pulls on a theme from the book, to teach something beyond simple numbers and patterns. There’s enough in the story, the structure, and the sheer fun of magnets to keep all three of my children playing together, which has been great to watch. Surprisingly it has not been the magnet aspect that has appealed to them the most, but the story. I suppose that’s the timeless magic of Eric Carle working on this new generation of readers. These are a great thing to throw in a bag for a road trip, great to play with Grandparents, or if you are my kids, to use as currency when playing “Let’s go to Target.” Sets are available directly from the manufacturer or through Amazon. At the moment shipping is still faster through the manufacturer, and free if you spend over $60.
GeekMom was provided with a set of MagnaTiles for review.