3 Unique Ways to Use Magnetic Tiles For Kids

Share & Comment

3 New Ways to Use Magnetic Tiles for Kids - Fridge, Sand, WaterWe have had so much fun with the magnetic tiles for kids that joined our family 6 months ago. As construction toys for kids go, they are absolutely wonderful! My kids and their friends have played more (and longer) with the magnetic shapes than with any other toy in the house, hands down.

(If we were talking outside the house, it would have to be the hammock which is not a kids’ toy at all, but gets more use than anything else outdoors. Who would’ve guessed?! The kids do everything from swing and read books in it to hang upside down and practice flips and other gymnastics-type moves.)

But back to the magnetic shapes for now…

If a friend came to me and asked for a toy recommendation for their kids right now, I’d say buy a set of magnetic tiles.

I am about to order a second set and have to restrain myself from adding a third to my shopping cart.

We like them that much. (And according to some of you, the magnetic tiles get consistent use many years (and kids) later. Good to know…)

Last time I shared 7 ways my kids use magnetic tiles (many of them on the DIY light table).

Today I wanted to share some interesting new things my kids have been doing with the magnetic tiles.

3 Unique Ways to Use Magnetic Tiles for Kids

Magnetic Tiles for Kids - Building in the Sandbox

1. Magnetic Tiles in the Sandbox

Yesterday, I was surprised to come home from a trip to find the magnetic tiles in use in the sandbox.

I wouldn’t have thought to use them there and might not have allowed it if I were asked for permission. But upon finding them in the sandbox, I examined the tiles more closely and realized that there is no way sand can get inside them. The plastic outer coating is smooth and complete.

Magnetic Tiles for Kids - Using them in the Sandbox

And the magnetic tiles actually work quite well in the sandbox. The sand helps stabilize whatever the kids happen to be building. And the sand can be used in the construction as well—think castle on top of a hill…

The girls were also hiding the magnetic shapes under the sand for the other to find.

My only concern with using the magnetic tiles in the sandbox would be that the sand might scratch the surface of the tiles a little bit, but I got over that quickly enough. These aren’t meant to be museum pieces. They are meant to be used, loved, and learned from.

Magnetic Tiles for Kids - Use Them on the Fridge

2. Magnetic Tiles on the Fridge

This idea isn’t all that new. The kids have been using the magnetic tiles on the fridge ever since one of you lovely readers suggested it (Thank you!) and I in turn brought up the possibility with them.

They’ve used the magnetic tiles to build 3-D on the fridge…

Magnetic Tiles for Kids - Art on the Fridge

To make art on the fridge…

Magnetic Tiles for Kids - On the Fridge

Both on their own as well as with our DIY painted magnet sticks and round magnets.

And for pretend play on the fridge…

3. Magnetic Tiles in the Bathtub

Magnetic Tiles for Kids - Use them in Water

Once I got over my shock of seeing the magnetic tiles in the sandbox, I realized that the full plastic coating on them actually make them well suited for a variety of play surfaces and ideas. If they won’t get sand inside them, they won’t get water inside either!

We tried the magnetic construction toys in water, wondering—would they float or would they sink? Could we build a boat with the tiles? How would it look to have magnetic tiles lit by glow sticks in the bathtub?

Magnetic Tiles for Kids - Floating or Sinking in Water

(By the way, floating worked when they were spread across the surface of the water like a raft, but sunk when 3-Dimensional structures were attempted.)

What’s next?

How about building and playing with magnetic tiles and playdough? Or combining magnetic tiles with shaving cream play?

Any other fun ways you can think of to use magnetic tiles for kids?

Magnetic Tiles for Kids - On the Fridge

If you don’t have these yet, I highly recommend buying a set of magnetic tiles for kids! Or putting a bug in Grandma’s ear for a birthday gift idea… They are not cheap, but I think they are very worth buying. If your kids are anything like mine and their friends, they will play, build, and learn with these things for hour after hour, day after day.

Our magnetic tiles are  from Discount School Supply and were initially sent to us for free to review (lucky us, I know). They are Building Brilliance Magnetic Shapes and a bit less expensive than some of the other brands.

You can also get Magna-Tiles and a variety of other magnetic construction toys on Amazon: PicassoTiles seem to be the most cost effective option on Amazon, followed by PlayMags.

As far as I can tell, there is little difference between the brands, but I’d love to hear your opinion!

Share & Comment
Subscribe to The Artful Parent newsletter


  1. says

    We’ve also expanded out the magna-tile play using tin cans. Actually, how it started was I made a version of the tin-can recyclable robots (super glue magnets to bottle lids and other pieces and to tin cans to make robots). Then I realized the magna-tiles would stick to the tin cans and we’ve expanded play with them. You can use the tin cans as reinforcements for walls and tall structures (and if you put magnets on your cans, stick them together to make tall structures). Things like pipe cleaners and other small magnetic items stick to the magna-tiles too.

  2. says

    My girls LOVE their magna-tiles. Lately they’ve been waiting for the long light of the evening to creep into the windows and building in the light, which casts the best color shadows. It’s pretty dreamy actually!

  3. Denise L says

    I also use them on a light table. I used to teach pre-k and magna tiles were a favorite, as soon as my son was old enough I bought them for him.

  4. Hilary says

    I bought the Play Mags tiles on sale from Amazon this week and they come today. My child started using them at daycare and has been trying to use my coasters instead. I can’t wait for their arrival!!

  5. jennifer says

    wow love the water play idea…but if you have the Magnatiles brand you might not want to do this, mine at least definitely take on water! I learned the hard way after I tried to hose the sticky things off (they get sticky often because they are so popular on playdates!) and water got inside, and then dried…since i have hard water there are now water stains inside where I can’t reach them. Makes the magnatiles no less fun but a little less pretty.

  6. Adrienne says

    What age should the child be? My daughter is about to turn 2 and is a really interested in tower building and large lego. Do you think she would respond to this toy as well?

  7. Brittney says

    We have the Picasso ones… They are not so great. We used some at a kids museum and loved them- they were awesome! We bought these not realizing how different they would be (don’t know the brand of the museum ones but they were STRONG)… These are flimsy and not so strong :(

  8. Cricket says

    I never thought about putting our magnatiles on the fridge. That will turn play on its head! My girls do have a lot of fun putting Littlest Pet Shop characters on them, though. The older ones have magnets in their feet, so they can perch awkwardly on the structures.