Ode To Magnetic Tiles
Oh Magnetic Tiles –
How much do I love thee?
You keep my son engaged,
So I can cook the tea.
Magnetic tiles are my current favorite toy in the house. Not only do they keep my two boys engaged for long periods of time, but they also provide wonderful learning opportunities.
Typically I rotate the toy boxes I bring down to the living room every 1 -2 weeks. I have now had the magnetic tiles out for a couple of months and I have been amazed how my sons’ creations have grown in complexity and sophistication. At I first I was delighted to see my 4-year old stick together a few tiles to make a flat 2-dimensional star. Next, he moved on to a simple cube followed by a pyramid. Now he is independently designing castles, churches, rockets, and even haunted houses. I love hearing the names he comes up with for some of his more unusual designs.
Making dinner is my least favourite time of the day. My four-year-old is fussy, tired and wants my attention. I usually resort to plonking him in front of the T.V. so I don’t burn the contents of the frying pan. He has reached a point where he doesn’t want a televised babysitter anymore. The magnetic shape tiles came out just in time. He loves them! Now I am free to supervise my vegetables once again.
Here are some ways to extend the learning with magnetic tiles:
Extending the Learning:
If I want to extend the learning happening through magnetic tile play, I slyly introduce 2-D and 3-D shape names as we build. We discuss the properties of triangles, pentagons, hexagons, and the differences between squares and rectangles. My 7-year-old and I count the number of faces, sides, and vertices on the 3-D shapes as well.
One day my son and I were playing with transformers. He suggested that we have a birthday party for Optimus Prime. I suggested we decorate for the party because I was tired of bashing transformers together (my son loves making all of his action figures fight). Out came the magnetic tiles. We made cubes for presents. William designed an interesting 3-D cake. Finally, we made pyramids for the party decorations. I realised then that I enjoy building with the magnetic tiles, too.
Keeping the Peace:
Through this process I have learnt two important lessons for keeping the peace. First, have lots of magnetic tiles. We asked for additional tiles for Christmas so the boys would have enough magnets to make their elaborate designs at the same time. Secondly, I quickly learned to take pictures of their favourite creations before William, my four-year-old, decided to flatten them with a body slam, WWF-style.