I love toys that challenge my children’s creativity and imagination, so when SmartMax asked us to review some of their magnetic discovery toys, we were happy to accept.
The company’s mission is to help children explore magnets safely, as well as improving their creativity, motor skills and logical thinking. All their construction sets consist of large, brightly coloured magnetic tubes, bars, panels and balls for little ones to stick together and pull apart.
We received the SmartMax Playground XL magnetic building set (£44.99), a 46-piece set where you can build an obstacle course for the silvery-grey plastic balls to run through. We were also sent Lighting Larry (£8.99), a green and blue light-up car, and Loading Luke (£8.99), a truck with a pull-back mechanism. Both the cars can be constructed and de-constructed in the same way as the bigger set.
SmartMax toys are aimed at children aged 1-6 and all three of my children – Little Miss E, almost 7, Little Man O, 5, and Toddler Boy I, 2¾ – absolutely love the sets they’ve been sent. They’ve been playing with them a lot since they arrived.
I didn’t have to explain what they were supposed to do, it was obvious from the pictures on the box and from looking at the contents inside, that they are designed to be stuck together. And even though there’s a booklet of ideas, my children were happy to use their imaginations and create their own playgrounds.
The recommended retail price for the Playground XL is £44.99, and this is one of the mid-range sets, so it is admittedly a little on the pricey side. However, the toys offer good value for money because they have kept all three of my children entertained. The toys will also grow with them, so it’s not something they will easily get bored of. I can already see the way they use the sets will change as they grow. For example, while Toddler was happy pushing the cars around and sticking the balls onto the magnets at the front of the cars, Miss E and Little Man loved using the various tubes and poles to create intricate constructions for the balls to travel through.
One slight downside is that sometimes a little bit too much pressure put onto the construction sees it tumbling down. It’s not as robust as a tower of Duplo, for example, but my children soon learned to be light-handed.
I really like that the Playground XL set is gender neutral. There are other sets which contain just construction cars or a Home Sweet Home set, both of which seemed a little more gender specific.
Even Toddler quickly understood that while some of the poles stuck together, others repelled due to the magnets.
The 46-piece set sounds like quite a lot of pieces, but when three children are playing with it, it’s really not, so I was pleased to see that you can also buy extension sets of balls, bars, curved bars and so on, priced between £7.99 and £24.99. This offers a great way of expanding what you already own without having to buy a whole new set.
In fact, my children have enjoyed their SmartMax magnetic discovery toys so much, I think I’ll be sending Santa a request for some more for Christmas.
Thanks to SmartMax for giving us the toys to review. This post contains affiliate links.