One of my son’s favourite toys since birth is building blocks. Building blocks are such a simple but effective STEM toy, encouraging fine motor skills, creativity, colour identification, shapes, number counting and loads more. You’ve got physical skills, numeracy and mathematics, vocabulary – it’s amazing how simple blocks can be such an excellent developmental toy. We started young with standard wooden building blocks, as well as interesting shapes, and by two he’d moved swiftly on to Duplo. At three, he’s loving magnetic blocks more than anything else. We have some magnetic shapes that are building sets, so I wondered if he would still be interested in square magnetic building blocks.
He absolutely loves Geomag’s Magicube (gifted) set. This set of 24 cubes are listed as suitable for one to five years old and I think they’d be good for that entire age range, because although they’re simple, there’s a lot of potential here for how they’re used.
One of my son’s favourite TV shows is Numberblocks. He really enjoys counting, and has grasped very basic addition and subtraction just from watching that show. He goes to nursery, but it’s all free-play based, with no actual “lessons” yet, and I love how playing with toys can be so educational without any teaching involved – but also how these toys could be used in education or learning from home as well.
He will count his Geomag Magicube blocks, separate them out into groups by shape and colour, and push them back together again. These would be a great tool to accompany foundation mathematics lessons.
As they’re magnetic, these are really easy to hold, which means you could start stacking them from a young age – but also the magnetic properties mean you don’t just have to build a tower. You can build shapes and use your imagination. My son loves making dinosaurs, giraffes and robots.
Having magnetic blocks also adds an interesting opportunity for scientific discovery. Why do these blocks stick to each other? What else do they stick to? His delight when he found out these blocks will stick to his cutlery at the dinner table was adorable. If you do want to lead into an educational discussion, you could talk about the principles of magnets, as well as other basic physics.
Can you tell he got a haircut between these two photos? No more lockdown mop!
From a parents point of view, Geomag Magicubes are easy to store and keep tidy. They seem very robust and can be chewed, dropped (or thrown, let’s face it, we’ve all been there), without worrying about them getting damaged. Geomag are a brand with a reputation for producing very high quality STEM toys and the Magicube set is a brilliant starting STEM toy for young children.
I’m amazed at how much he enjoys them, and how much learning and fun there is to be had from a simple set of magnetic blocks. I’ve got a few more Geomag sets added to the Christmas list now.