We first tried Magformers a year and a half ago when Cub had just turned three. My verdict was pretty clear: I don’t hate playing with them, and my son loves playing with them. Some of Cub’s toys really drive me nuts. He always wants me to play with him, but I am not a big fan of imagining scenes of carnage for Iron Man and Spider-Man nor do I care for racing Hot Wheels. I like to build things, and Magformers let Cub and I build things together without teensy tiny pieces that we have to keep away from his sister. Now that Little Miss Cub is sixteen months old, she can get in on the Magformers action and there are no choking-hazard-sized pieces. She likes to stack them, and I often put them on the fridge and dishwasher to keep her occupied while I’m cooking!
Magformers sets can be quite expensive, with some of the larger ensembles selling for over $200. While the long-term value of these toys is undeniable—we’ve used them at least once a week for over a year, and I don’t see us outgrowing them anytime soon—a large set isn’t in everyone’s budget. But since you don’t need a massive set of Magformers to enjoy the magnetic, three-dimensional fun, I’ve put together a list of Magformers sets under $40 that the kids on your shopping list will love!
Note that I’m working with the prices at Magformers.com, which are in US dollars, but I’ve spotted Magformers at Winners here in Calgary, and recently, they were discounted by 15% at Well.ca!
14-Piece Set, $24.99
You can get the 14-piece set in a variety of colour combos, either with a solid centre or an open one. It’s surprising all the shapes you can build with just triangles and squares. I wish we had a few of the solid-centre Magformers in our collection because Cub likes to make jails and vehicles for his Duplo characters, and with the solid-centre shapes, Joker wouldn’t be able to escape prison or the police paddy wagons he builds!
EDU Puzzle 7-Piece Set, $34.99
This set will be waiting for Little Miss Cub under the tree this Christmas. Thanks to Team UmiZoomi, her brother loves to identify shapes. He wowed us all by pointing out the octagons on his great-grandparents’ linoleum! Now it’s his sister’s turn to start learning her shapes. She is big into puzzles, and these are, essentially, magnetic puzzles. Her big brother can help her learn how to combine different 2-D shapes to make a fish, a cat, a fox and more.
Tiny Friends 20-Piece Set, $34.99
This simple set contains squares, equilateral triangles and isosceles triangles that combine to make twelve different animals. I’m sure kids will figure out many more things to create than the puppy, butterfly, snail and friends in the instruction booklet!
My First Buggy 14-Piece Set, $35.99
This vehicle-creation set is what Santa will be bringing Cub. The My First Buggy set comes in four different colours—we’ve got blue. The accompanying playing cards show kids how to make sixteen different vehicles, including roadsters, cars and trucks. Cub is big into building things according to instructions but gets frustrated when he can’t do it himself. Since Magformers are large and easy to manipulate—and stick to each other without fiddling—this will be great for independent play.
Magnets in Motion 32-Piece Gear Set
Motion without batteries? Yes, please! With clip gears and hand cranks, little engineers can make a variety of spinning mechanisms. I think this will be on my list of ideas for Cub’s fifth birthday next summer. He really enjoys the gears activity at our local science centre, so it would be fun to have something on a smaller scale at home!