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Are Magnetic Toys Safe... Even for Toddlers?

Les jouets magnétiques: sécuritaires, même pour les tout-petits?

Is your little one attracted to magnetism and magnetic toys? That's marvellous, but not surprising… he’s not the only one!

Playing with magnetic toys helps build fine motor skills and coordination, sparks your child's curiosity and develops visual memory. But above all: it's lots of fun!

As parents, educators and informed consumers, some questions arise: how does magnetism work?Are toys that contain magnets safe for little ones? And why should they be offered as toys to 2-year-olds?

Let’s dive into the topic and find out what the fuss is all about!

How does magnetism even work?

Magnets attract or repel each other due to magnetism. Magnetism is caused by the movement of electric charges.

All magnets have a north and a south pole, and, as the cliché goes, opposite poles (a South and a North pole) attract, while similar poles (two South poles, for instance) repel each other.

The north and south poles of SmartMax bars are easily recognizable by their colors. Warm-colored bars have their South pole directed outwards, while for cold-colored bars, it's their North pole that's directed outward. That's why a green and a blue SmartMax bar will always repel each other, while a pink and a green one would attract.

What do children learn by playing with magnets?

Magnets are very impressive to younger children who don't quite understand yet how it works. But they're fascinated by the fact that it does!

They love to test out their possibilities, like sticking magnets to (any) metal surfaces and then pulling them off. By repeating these manipulations, they exercise fine motor skills in their hands and develop hand-eye coordination.

The educational benefits of magnetic toys

Magnetic toys offer much more than entertainment; they are also great educational tools. Here are some key benefits that children, toddlers and school-aged children alike, can gain from these innovative toys.

Development of fine motor skills - Manipulating magnetic pieces helps children refine their fine motor skills. By grasping and placing pieces precisely, they strengthen hand-eye coordination and dexterity. These skills are essential for everyday activities like writing and drawing.

Stimulate creativity - Magnetic toys encourage children to use their imagination to design and bring to life various structures and shapes. This creative freedom allows children to explore architectural and artistic concepts while having fun. The creativity thus developed can have a positive impact on their approach to problem solving.

Shape and color recognition – Often colorful magnetic toys help children identify and differentiate colors and shapes. By sorting and assembling the pieces, they strengthen their visual perception and memory. These skills are crucial for cognitive development and academic readiness.

Developing social and verbal skills - By playing with magnetic toys in groups, children learn to share, cooperate and communicate. Group activities encourage them to express their ideas and listen to those of others, thereby strengthening their social and language skills. This helps them interact better with their peers and develop essential skills for life in society.

Exploration of mathematical concepts - Magnetic toys allow children to discover the basics of mathematics in a fun way. By putting pieces together to form structures, they learn to count, understand proportions and recognize patterns. This hands-on approach to mathematics promotes an intuitive understanding of abstract concepts, making learning more engaging and meaningful.

Learning about scientific concepts – Playing with magnets introduces children to the basics of magnetism and science in general. They discover how opposite poles attract and alike poles repel each other, which may spark their curiosity about physics. This early understanding of scientific concepts lays the foundation for future interest in science topics and pursuits.

Criteria for choosing safe magnetic toys

When purchasing magnetic toys for your little ones, it is crucial to ensure that they are not only fun but also safe.

Here are some important criteria to take into account to ensure your child's safety while maximizing the educational benefits of toys.

  1. Security certifications. Make sure that magnetic toys carry recognized safety certifications, such as those of the European CE standard or the American ASTM standard. These certifications ensure that toys have undergone rigorous testing and meet strict safety standards. A certified toy is more reliable and reduces the risk of accidents.
  2. Size of parts. The pieces must be large enough to avoid any risk of suffocation. In general, toys intended for toddlers should not have parts less than 3 cm in diameter. Larger pieces are not only safer, but they are also easier for little hands to handle.
  3. Strength of magnets. Magnets used in toddler toys should have limited magnetic strength to avoid risk of ingestion and internal injury. Magnets that are too strong can cause serious problems if swallowed. Make sure toys are designed to limit these dangers.
  4. Secure assembly. Check that the parts of magnetic toys are properly assembled, glued or soldered so that the magnets cannot be removed easily. Secure assembly prevents children from disassembling toys and accessing magnets, reducing the risk of accidental ingestion.
  5. Age-appropriate. Choose toys specifically designed for your child's age. Age recommendations stated by the manufacturer take into account the complexity, safety and educational relevance of the toy. A toy adapted to the child's age will not only offer more safety but also more fun and learning.

Are SmartMax toys safe?

The answer to this question is YES, they are certainly (and certifiably) safe!

Here are some of the quality features that make SmartMax magnetic toys perfectly safe for children aged 18 months and up:

  • All SmartMax toys undergo rigorous safety and quality testing to ensure they are suitable for toddlers and preschoolers.
  • These toys do not contain magnets strong or powerful enough that could be harmful to your little one.
  • SmartMax play pieces are glued and soldered during final assembly, making it impossible for your little one to reach the magnet.
  • In addition, the pieces are extra large, to make them easier to handle for little hands. And, thanks to their size, the added benefit is that they cannot be swallowed.

Final word

In conclusion, magnetic toys that are age-appropriate, have been tested for quality, and do not contain unnecessarily powerful magnets are generally safe for your toddler.

Additionally, these toys provide rich playing and learning opportunities and contribute to the development of many skills. Playing with magnets stimulates cognitive skills, such as balancing and stacking, logical and even mathematical thinking, and promotes shape and color recognition even from a young age.

So, ready to add the magic of magnetism to your toddler's playtime?

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