Monday, May 16, 2011

Marbles and Magna Tile Building Toys

I did a posting called Magnificent Magna Tiles when I first began my blog, but not many people have probably read it because I had few followers back then!  If you want to check it out the post it is here and you can view some of the structures we have built with Magna Tiles! Magna Tiles are one of our all time favorite toys! They are magnetic building toys that encourage Creativity, Math, and Science. They are expensive, but worth every penny because Cassie played with these every day for a year when she first got them! We discovered these amazing building toys at Cassie's Preschool and rumor has it that all the kids fight over them!  We have recently brought new life to our Magna Tiles by adding marbles into the picture! We decided to create a marble run/maze with our Magna Tiles and it worked out pretty well!

We started out with a long path made from square tiles and added a small ramp built with triangular tiles. The nice thing about our tiles are that they are clear which makes them so much cooler to see the marbles or whatever toy you choose to put inside them! This was coming along pretty nicely so far!

We added another path with square tiles going perpendicular, but we needed to add a ramp there too. The square tiles limited us to only angular paths.

Cassie added a "rocket ramp"(the tall triangular structure) to the end of this pathway and she said the marbles could ride in the rocket!

Cassie added more rocket shapes to the structure.

Next we added another level on top of one path and the marbles would go down that path and come down the ramp to the bottom level. We were having great success!

The marbles are rolling down! It was fun to watch!

Here is  a close-up view of a marble going down the top level and in the back you can see through the tiles where a marble is on the bottom level!

This activity kept Cassie's interest for quite a while! I can't wait to see what other creations these marbles inspire!! It was fun to see all the modifications being made throughout the activity!

***Be sure to check out the Magna Tiles Website for inspiration here. There is a gallery of different ideas here.  Also there is a place where  you can submit pictures of your creations here. There is some amazing stuff!!!! Magna Tiles are usually sold at Educational/Specialty Toy stores.  We bought ours online through here, but you could always purchase them through the official website here.

What other toys could you use to create Marble Runs or Mazes?

Next time we will create our own Marble Run with cardboard or tubes!!

***Check out Tinkerlab here and here for some great cardboard Marble Runs!

*** Check out Hands on : as we grow here for some cardboard ramps to use with balls and toy cars!


  1. I remember when you posted about these before. I really want them. They are expensive, but I can see they are a great toy. I may have to start saving up for some!

  2. We love love love these! They are so worth the investment!

    We purchased 3 of the 125 piece pack, or whatever their largest pack was. We made the mistake of only buying 1 first and with 3 kids, they were fighting constantly over the 'good' pieces, so off we went to get 2 more!

    This is our magna tile post:

  3. This looks like a very good building toy. I like that the colours are bright, and as well the tiles are transparent, so the children can also see the inner workings.
    Adding marbles and creating a marble run is great!
    This just looks like so much fun!I'm going to look for these and suggest them as a possible purcahse for our center.

    (Melissa, I posted a picture of "geo boards", at my blog. You quite likely already have seen these, but if not it might be something Cassie would get a lot of play value out of. They can be handmade simply, and inexpensively. Mine cost just $5.00 each at a learning store. Just thought I'd let you know.)

  4. Looks like lots of fun!! Love the different ways you can play with them.... Thanks for sharing:)

  5. It's spooky - not only we have the same Magna Tiles set - we even have the same carpet :) We love our Magna Tiles as well - especially building "churches" with them.

  6. Oh, Melissa, I'm sorry you lost all your wonderful comments. I'm here to say that you got a lot of great feedback on this project!! I love this twist on the marble run, and need to get my hands on a few sets of magnatiles stat!

  7. Fabulous! Kids love marble runs, don't they? We have used cardboard tubing and plumbers piping to create marble runs. On Friday I borrowed an idea I saw on Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning, and we cut two pool noodles down the middle to create marble runs - worked a treat!

  8. I so want a set of these magna tiles. I remember when you first posted about them looking into buying them. They are so expensive, but I think worth saving up the money for them. They could take a kids imagination anywhere and a toy that is fun for parents is a plus too!

  9. I just looked on amazon. They have them available there and they are $1 cheaper than at the stores website with free amazon shipping too!

  10. Hi Melissa,
    It's great to have Blogger up and running again.
    I had posted a comment here, but I see it was lost. I lost comments off my last posting for both my blogs - that was interesting!

    I've never seen these magnatiles, they are great...I'll have to recommend them for our center when we're looking to purchase new things.

    I especially like these marble runs, and it seems like this has been a theme in the past few weeks in the "Bloggy" world of early childhood. Children love playing with marbles, and this run which Cassie built looks like so much fun, and a good learning experience.

  11. I am so far behind in my reader that I'm just not getting to actually read this post - how many of those sets do you have? They look awesome and might be something I'll have to get - I can see the kids playing with them now, but also into their teens!

    And a surprise to see a link to the cardboard ramps! You're so awesome :)

  12. This looks like such fun. There are endless ways to create runs.

  13. This toy is a good choice since it allows toddlers to develop and stimulate their senses.