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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Ultimate Guide to Magblox & Magbrix Magnetic Tiles

Have you been thinking about adding some Magblox magnetic tiles to your playroom, early learning centre or classroom but you're still not exactly sure if they're right for you? Don't worry, I've done all the hard work and put together the ultimate guide to MAGBLOX® and Magbrix magnetic tiles including tile designs, pack inclusions and play inspiration. Plus I have a discount code for 10% off*.

magblox rainbow
Magnetic tiles are one of the best, if not the best, open ended toys available and help with development skills such as fine motor skills, spatial awareness, hand/eye co-ordination and problem solving. They're also a STEM toy and help teach children of all ages science, technology, engineering and mathematical concepts through play. MAGBLOX® are the only Australian magnetic tile company that has both classic magnetic tiles and magnetic tiles that are compatible with building bricks like Lego.

MAGBLOX® MAGNETIC TILES: THE STORY BEHIND THE BRAND

MAGBLOX® is a family operated business based in Sydney, Australia. Founded in 2015, Carlos and Valeria first established JC Ingenium where they delivered STEM educational workshops to school children and preschoolers focusing primarily on engineering and maths with the use of magnetic tiles. The workshops provide a unique learning through play experience across different locations in NSW. Alongside their workshops they distributed their first version of magnetic tiles, Playmagers.

The workshops and magnetic tiles were designed to foster and encourage cognitive development, spatial awareness, fine motor skills and gross motor skills while children learn through play. Throughout the last few years of running workshops they've had the chance to work with, support and teach hundreds of children and engage with many early childhood educators, centres and schools, making JC Ingenium and Playmagers recognised and trusted brands within the educational industry.

When COVID-19 forced the workshops to stop for a prolonged period of time, the team got creative and worked to design and release their updated magnetic tiles, which are their current MAGBLOX® and MAGBRIX® range. The new tiles have been designed with endurance, safety, aesthetics and the environment in mind. The guiding principle still remains one and the same - to help children and families with limited educational resources to access and learn about STEM toys.

They hope that by 2022 they can start a foundation that will provide access to free education from early years. They also aspire to have their STEM program introduced into the Australian curriculum to help shape future world citizens. 

magblox designer bundle
The current range of MAGBLOX® magnetic tiles includes a 101 piece pack, 64 piece pastel set, 24 piece accessory set, twin car packs as well as educational bundle specials and of course MAGBRIX, the first building brick compatible magnetic tiles. STEM workshop incursions have also recommenced and can be booked here.


MAGBLOX & MAGBRIX FAQ

Before we delve into an in-depth review of all the ins and outs of Magblox and Magbrix, if you just have a quick question then check here for the answer first. If you can't find the answer to a specific question within this review then please contact me via the contact tab and I'll try and find the answer for you asap.

Are MAGBLOX® compatible with other magnetic tile brands? 

Yes, Magblox & Magbrix are compatible with all other block style magnetic tile brands including Connetix, Learn & Grow, Playmags, Magna Tiles, Picasso Tiles, MNTL and the older style Playmager tiles.

Are MAGBLOX® tiles transparent? 

Yes, however some tile designs have visible internal bracing.

Do MAGBLOX® come in pastel colours? 

Yes. Magblox released Australia's first set of pastel magnetic tiles which are available in a 64 piece set including clear tiles.

Do MAGBLOX® have car bases? 

Yes MAGBLOX car bases are available in a twin pack, as part of the pastel 64 piece set, or as part of the 24 piece accessory set {which is also included in all of the bundle options}.

Do MAGBLOX® have a ball run set? 

No at this stage Magblox do not have a ball run expansion set.

Can Magbrix be purchased separately? 

Yes Magbrix are available in 8 piece packs.

Where are MAGBLOX® magnetic tiles manufactured? 

Magblox {and Magbrix} are Australian owned, but like most other magnetic tile brands, are manufactured in China. However, Magblox are the only tile company incorporating a percentage of recycled ABS plastic to help reduce their carbon footprint.

Do MAGBLOX® have a discount code?

You can use my code FMY10 when purchasing directly from the MAGBLOX® site here to save 10%. Discount code is not valid at stockists or on Amazon purchases and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or sale.

magbrix magnetic tiles with lego


MAGBLOX MAGNETIC TILES REVIEW


Making a decision about which magnetic tile brand will be best for your children or early learning centre can be quite hard, so I've broken down every possible feature of MAGBLOX® tiles and what's included in each tile pack, so you can make an informed purchase decision.
the ultimate guide to magblox and magbrix magnetic tiles

MAGBLOX® TILE DESIGN

MAGBLOX® tiles are deigned with safety as the number one priority. They're made with food-grade ABS recycled plastic which is BPA free and free of phthalates. MAGBLOX® tiles are fastened together using ultrasonic welding technology and secured with copper rivets {free of lead or heavy metals} to ensure the magnets are encapsulated. MAGBLOX® are EN71, ASTM and CPSIA compliant and are regularly safety tested.
magblox flower magnetic tiles and inset design
MAGBLOX® small square tiles are available in either the inset design or the flower pattern design. The flower pattern tiles are exclusive to MAGBLOX® and are flat with flower shaped internal bracing. The inset design has a flat rim around the edge of the tiles and the centre is recessed a few mm's to reduce the chance of scratches during play {see close up images below}. All MAGBLOX® tiles have an internal logo that is visible through the tiles, but doesn't cause a raised surface.

magblox inset design

magblox flower pattern magnetic tiles

MAGBLOX magnets are a similar size to other magnetic tile brand magnets and are very strong, but easily pulled apart by children. They're so strong it actually took quite a few attempts to take the pack inclusion photos further on in the review, because even though the tiles were spaced out, they kept attracting each other and joining together.

As with all magnetic tiles, they're not recommended for children under 3 years of age and should not be used unsupervised, as ingested magnets can pose serious health risks. Please ensure your magnetic tiles are inspected for faults regularly as rough play can occasionally cause cracks or breakages.


MAGBLOX® USE RECYCLED ABS PLASTIC

MAGBLOX® are committed to reducing their carbon footprint as much as possible and are working towards this by using 55% recycled ABS {food grade non-toxic, BPA and Phthalate free} plastic in the production of MAGBLOX® tiles. The magnetic tiles are also recyclable and MAGBLOX® is the only magnetic tile company reusing old magnetic tiles in the production of new ones. The video below gives a thorough insight into how recycled plastic is used within the manufacturing process.

magblox recycling video

MAGBLOX TILE SHAPES

The image below is a breakdown of all the different tile shapes available across all of the MAGBLOX® sets {excluding MAGBRIX}. The MAGBLOX® tiles come in large squares, small squares {both inset and flower pattern designs}, isosceles triangles, right angle triangles, equilateral triangles, trapezoids, small rectangles, hollow squares, arched squares, windows, H shaped fences, E shaped fences and car bases. The tiles are all available in numerous colours and come in various different packs {see individual pack breakdowns further on in the review}.
magblox magnetic tiles shapes

MAGBLOX® are the only Australian magnetic tiles company that has a trapezoid tile. The MAGBLOX isosceles triangles also join together to create a complete dodecagon without any gaps and both sets they come in have enough tiles to build a full dodecagon. This means children can build a pizza, ferris wheel and other circular designs without frustration. 

magblox dodecagon using isosceles triangles

MAGBLOX® RAINBOW VS PASTEL TILES

MAGBLOX® were originally only available in the vivid colour range, however now they've added the pastel range you may be wondering how the two colour ways compare, so I've put together a comparison picture. The original rainbow tiles are available in 7 colours and the pastel range is only  available in 6 colours + clear, so there's no pastel red tiles.

pastel, clear and rainbow magblox magnetic tiles
The vivid colours are bright and vibrant and the pastel counterparts are quite pale and transparent. I actually really like that the pastel tiles have been done in more delicate transparent tones as it creates a nice contrast to the rainbow tiles. Please note there are no pastel purple squares in the pastel set so I've used right angle triangles for the comparison.


MAGBLOX® TRANSPARENCY AND REFRACTIONS

If you want to have some scientific fun with magnetic tiles then try stacking them up vertically against a sunny window, or take them outside in the sun to see what refractions they make. A refraction is the bending of light as it passes from one transparent source to another. As the sunlight shines through the magnetic tiles it creates beautiful coloured shadows. This is a really simple way to demonstrate physics to younger children.

Each magnetic tile design and colour will create a slightly different refraction due to the different colour and the way the tile design bends the light as it passes through. You can see from the photo below that the clear inset designs have a dark outline where the lip of the tile dips inward on the surface. The floral pattern tiles and the logo also create shadow lines in the refractions. You can also see from the bottom picture that the pastel tiles create much paler refractions than the vivid tiles.

magblox vivid tile colour refractions
magblox refractions
Image: Magblox Instagram

MAGBLOX® 101 PIECE VIVID MAGNETIC TILE SET

The MAGBLOX® 101 piece magnetic tile set includes tiles in 7 different colours - red, pink, yellow, orange, green, blue and purple. The red and yellow small squares come in the patented flower pattern and all other colours are in the classic inset design. See the image further below for a breakdown of the exact tile shapes and colours included.
magblox small square tile inset and floral pattern designs

The 101 set includes:
  • 6 large squares
  • 42 small squares {including 12 MAGBLOX® flower pattern squares}
  • 21 isosceles triangles
  • 12 right angle triangles
  • 20 equilateral triangles
  • 1 ideas booklet

magblox 101 piece set by colour and tiles

There are so many things I love about the 101 piece set, but my favourite is that it comes with pink tiles. Even though pink isn't traditionally a colour of the rainbow, we didn't own any pink tiles at all before getting MAGBLOX® so the girls were super excited to find them in the box. 
magblox rainbow challenge

The 101 piece set is the set I would recommend to families just starting out with magnetic tiles as it's a good amount of tiles and a good variation of colours and shapes. It can be used to make quite large builds, however if you want to make huge builds {like child high buildings} you'll need to eventually add more tiles.

magblox 101 piece tile set

The image above is an example of what you can build using every single tile that comes in the 101 pack. I love that there's the same number of each colour tile within each of the individual shapes. It definitely makes my heart happy that they're all the same and it makes pack up time {and noticing if any are missing} easier. The only downside is there are no red or pink equilateral triangles and no pink right angle triangles, but you can't have everything right.


MAGBLOX 64 PIECE PASTEL MAGNETIC TILE SET

MAGBLOX® introduced the first Australian magnetic tile pastel set in April 2021. Their pastel tiles are very light and translucent and include pastel orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink and clear tiles. The pastel set is 64 pieces and includes MAGBLOX® new trapezoid shape tiles as well as new car base colours. The set includes:
  • 4 large squares
  • 24 small squares
  • 12 isosceles triangles
  • 6 right angle triangles
  • 12 equilateral triangles
  • 4 trapezoids
  • 2 car bases
  • 1 ideas booklet

You can see in the image below an exact breakdown of how many tiles you get in the MAGBLOX® pastel set, by shape and colour. There are 3 different car base options, however you only get 2 cars in the set so they'll either be clear and light blue or clear and light pink.
 
magblox pastel 64 piece tile set - number of each tiless included
The pastel set is by far the most popular set in our house because my youngest is obsessed with Frozen and immediately squealed it's Elsa's castle as soon as we opened the box. So it's no surprise that she mainly uses this set to build various versions of princess castles, usually for Elsa.

The pastel set is also a great size as a starter set of magnetic tiles, if you're specifically interest in pastel tiles, as there's enough to create small builds. I definitely wish we had another pastel set however, purely because I know my 4yr old would take her Elsa castle building to the next level if we had even more pastel tiles. 

magblox clear tiles car

What I really love about this set though {other than again the same number of tiles for each colour in each individual shape} is that there's clear magnetic tiles! They're so much fun to build with as you can completely see through them. My daughter calls them Elsa's ice tiles {because, Frozen is life}.

MAGBLOX 24 PIECE ACCESSORY SET

The MAGBLOX accessory set is a 24 piece set of tiles designed to complement the 101 piece set to allow for more diverse builds, or it can be used to make small builds by itself. All of the tile shapes in the accessory set are exclusive to the set and can not be found in larger sets. The accessory set includes:
  • 1 car base
  • 6 E shapes
  • 5 H shapes
  • 6 small rectangles
  • 2 arch squares
  • 2 hollow squares
  • 2 windows
The image above shows the exact number of tiles included by shape and colour. The car base included in the set is orange, however there are other car base colours available - purple & yellow or green & pink cars are available in the car base twin packs and the pastel car bases are available in the pastel tile set. The car bases are the same size as other magnetic tile brand bases and have black plain plastic wheels. They can be used interchangeably with other brands as long as you align the connectors in the correct direction.

magblox train and farm

My daughter's favourite way to play with the accessory set {when using just this set alone} is to build train tracks with a train and a farm paddock for all her animals. She then loads up her animals onto the train to go on a trip.

magblox train with animals inside
Magblox pastel packaging building message

MAGBLOX® PLAY INSPIRATION

While magnetic tiles are one of the best open ended toys available and are fantastic for uninhibited free play, some children, especially if they're new to magnetic tiles will benefit from visual inspiration to kick start their confidence with magnetic tiles. A quick search of the #magblox hashtag on Instagram will bring up loads of building inspiration, but if you're looking for a more tactile approach I suggest the MAGBLOX® activity book, challenge cards or the free templates available on the website.

MAGBLOX® Activity Book

Magblox have released an activity book to inspire parents and educators to introduce the world of shapes with all the correct shape attributes and help visualize the amazing world of geometry. The book was inspired by the education workshops done with JC Ingenium and includes step by step scaffolding and puzzle activities which can be done with the pastel or vivid MAGBLOX tiles.

The book is a great way to introduce geometric shapes, spatial reasoning and awareness as well as early maths concepts to preschoolers. The book is designed for 3-5 yr old's so it's easy for kids to work out what shapes go where even if they can't read yet.

magblox activity book caterpillar

My 4yr old flipped through the whole book and did each page. I deliberately didn't give her any instructions as she was working through the book because I wanted to see how she would interact with it. She was able to pick out all the correct shapes and distinguish between which triangles were needed by studying the images. She also self corrected when she initially put some shapes on the wrong angle.

As she worked through the book we talked about what shape tiles she was using and she was able to identify all the different shapes and tell me all about them. The book is a creative way for her to learn about shapes as she felt like she was playing the whole time rather than doing a learning activity.
magblox activity book under the sea page

The book is also made with the environment in mind and comes inside a 100% biodegradable and compostable bag. The activity book can be purchased on the MAGBLOX website here {use code FMY10 for 10% off} or it comes as a free gift option with the designer bundle or little engineers bundles.


MAGBLOX Challenge Cards

The MAGBLOX® challenge cards are a set of 18 double sided printed cards that include 2D and 3D building challenges ranging from beginner to intermediate and advanced builds. The challenge cards are great to have on hand at home {or in the classroom with multiple students during group sessions} to allow each individual child to focus on a specific build. Each card has the flat 2D and 3D versions of the same build, including shapes, objects and animals. The more advanced builds also have QR codes that lead to a corresponding YouTube tutorial so children can follow along with step by step instructions.

magblox challenge card instructions

magblox challenge cards and magnetic tiles

My 4yr old is quite confident free building her own designs with magnetic tiles {usually houses and castles}, however she does often ask "mummy can you build me a ___" when she wants to build a certain item she's unsure of. She's loved using the challenge cards as she can copy the picture and create something she thought she wouldn't be able to build herself. She's been so proud of her creations "mummy I did it look I really did it, all by myself" 

We've had so much fun shuffling through the cards picking out which builds to try. She's built the 2D versions of the castle, rainbow, star and fish and I'm sure it won't be long before she tries to build the 3D versions.

preschooler building magnetic star using magblox challenge cards

One of the huge benefits of the challenge cards is the fact they range from beginner to advanced builds. With such a broad spectrum of challenges the cards are great for preschoolers, school kids and even adults {I've been known to play with them when the kids aren't around}. The MAGBLOX YouTube tutorials are also really informative and easy to follow. I'm going to have a go at a few of the more complex ones myself, first on the list is this icosahedron.

The challenge cards are available from the MAGBLOX® website here {use code FMY10 to save 10%} or as a free added bonus when purchasing the designer bundle or little engineers bundles.

Free MAGBLOX Templates

If you want even more hands on inspiration try some of the free template activities available to download from the Magblox website. To download the templates simply create a free customer account and log in to the template page to download any of the templates as PDFs. 


magblox free templates to download


I particularly love the alphabet template as it includes how to make both uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet and tracing sheets to allow children to copy the letters while learning to write. I'll be laminating ours as my youngest daughter is starting school next year so they'll be really helpful as an additional way to practice letter formation.

magblox alphabet template

There are 8 different template sets covering topics such as letters, puzzles, symmetry and mirror images, as well as builds for imaginary play. Again these would also be a great resource to laminate and use in a classroom setting during group rotations.


STEM WORKSHOPS {SYDNEY BASED}

In addition to offering play inspiration via the products above, MAGBLOX parent company JC Ingenium also run STEM workshops within the Sydney region as incursions at schools, early learning centres and OSCH and vacation care programs. The workshops aim to expose children to the wonders of engineering, maths and coding through hands on building with magnetic tiles and coding devices. 

The workshops encourage problem solving, lateral thinking, experimentation, team work and creativity. They give children access to a range of STEM resources in an interactive and engaging environment. For more information or to book a STEM workshop click here.

magblox stem workshops


MAGBRIX: THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK


MAGBRIX® are the only Australian magnetic tiles that are compatible with building bricks. They work with Lego, Duplo, Mokulock, and other generic bricks. Lego and magnetic tiles are two of the most popular stem toys on the market so MAGBRIX® is a genius combination for budding engineers.

magbrix magnetic tiles video

MAGBRIX® come in packs of 8 tiles including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink and grey. 4 squares are transparent and 4 are opaque. All MAGBRIX® tiles are compatible with other standard magnetic tiles.
magbrix tiles in all available colours
MAGBRIX tiles are made with 100% safe ABS plastic, food-grade non-toxic material that is BPA and phthalate-free. They're designed with multiple injection points to secure the tiles with supersonic welding therefore rivets aren't needed. They have the same strong magnets as other MAGBLOX tiles although they aren't visible on the opaque tiles.

The MAGBRIX® tile surface has 2 different sides, the top side where the bottom of the building bricks click onto {green tile in image below} and the underneath where the top of building bricks can click into {orange below}. 
magbrix tiles sides up close

This design also allows for multiple level builds and allows the MAGBRIX® tiles to connect onto each other in layers without relying solely on the magnetic edges. You can see in the images below how the tiles can be connected and built up in layers.
magbrix magnets stacked
magbrix magnetic tiles

MAGBRIX® can be purchased separately in 8 piece packs or they are included in all of the bundle packs. They're also available separately to US customers on Amazon US via the link below and if you have a Prime membership you can also get free shipping! If you don't have one you can get a free 30 day trial Prime membership here. MAGBRIX® are also available at Amazon UK here.


The girls have had lots of fun using our MAGBRIX® tiles with our Mokulock bricks {we'll be getting Lego soon}. So far they've built a tree in a garden, a lava monster and a building playground. As soon as we get some Lego we'll be making some colourful creations too.

magbrix creations using mokulock building bricks

magbrix and mokulock lava monster

WHAT MAKES MAGBLOX® UNIQUE VS OTHER MAGNETIC TILE BRANDS?

  • Patented flower design - MAGBLOX® are the only magnetic tile company that have a flower pattern design.
  • 55% recycled ABS plastic - MAGBLOX® is the only Australian magnetic tile company using recycled plastic within the production of new magnetic tiles.
  • MAGBRIX® - MAGBLOX® is the only Australian magnetic tile brand that also have magnetic brick tiles compatible with building bricks like Lego and Duplo.
  • Twin car pack - MAGBLOX® cars are available in a separate twin pack if you just want to add more cars to your collection.
  • Clear magnetic tiles - MAGBLOX® are the only Australian magnetic tile brand that currently have clear magnetic tiles
  • Trapezoid tiles - MAGBLOX® are also the only Australian magnetic tile brand with a trapezoid shaped tile.


WHERE TO BUY MAGBLOX AND MAGBRIX

Magblox and MAGBRIX® can be purchased within Australia directly from www.magblox.com.au {use code FMY10 for a 10% discount} or from other online toy store stockists such as Nestling and Nook. Magblox are also available from selected stockists in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan, for a full list of worldwide stockists click hereMAGBRIX® only, can also be purchased in the US from Amazon, with the hopes to expand to more Amazon locations in the future.

You can also follow Magblox on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date with the latest product releases.
the ultimate guide to magblox magnetic tiles


MAGNETIC TILE PLAY IDEAS




Disclosure - This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience, which means I may earn a small commission at no cost to you, should you make a purchase. We were kindly gifted the Magblox & Magbrix products shown in this post for the purpose of review. All opinions are our own based on our experience using the magnetic tiles. Please note some colours may vary slightly to colours shown on device screens.

*Magblox discount code FMY10 is only valid at www.magblox.com.au and cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount or sale.

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