STEAM play is an essential part of learning for young children. it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics and as I’m sure you’ll agree, the world we live in today demands that learners are competent across all of these areas. We’ve been testing out the Connetix Tiles 62-piece starter kit in our STEAM play and we are very impressed. Here’s our review.
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What are Connetix Tiles?
Connetix Tiles were developed in 2019 by two parents who wanted to create their own version of a magnetic tile toy for their primary school-aged children. They set out to design something with strong magnets, a unique bevel design and a better quality product. Unlike other magnetic tile brands, Connetix tiles have stronger magnets and stronger materials making them less likely to snap and therefore ensuring they are safer for the younger child. Another extra safety feature is that there are no small parts that can pose a risk to younger children. The Connetix range offers clearer refractions which open the door to a dazzling world of infinite possibility. The high-quality tiles are made from non-toxic materials and come in a variety of shapes and different colours to inspire the child’s imagination.
Essentially, Connetix Tiles are magnetic tile toys. They are high quality educational toys made from non-toxic abs plastic and they are great at promoting imaginative play. They can be used by kids of all ages, my children are aged 10 and 5 and they both love playing with them. The sets contain a variety of shapes including f large squares, 24 small squares, 12 equilateral triangles, 8 right angle triangles, 6 isosceles triangles, 4 window pieces and 4 door pieces as well as an ideas booklet.
What are the benefits of Connetix Tiles?
Connetix Tiles are, in my opinion, the best magnetic tiles as they seem a lot sturdier than others we have tried. They are great for open-ended play and really allow children to use their imagination. The different sizes of tiles allow children to build much more complex creations than if the tiles were all the same size or shape as other magnetic tile sets often have. They are very easy to grasp in little hands so are a great way for younger children to develop those all-important fine motor skills as well as developing hand-eye coordination.
The company prides itself on encouraging creative thinking through free play. Ask different children to make a dinosaur with the tiles and you will get lots of different kinds of dinosaur. For us, it was a simple two-dimensional dinosaur from my five-year-old while my ten-year-old created a much more complex three-dimensional dinosaur. That’s the beauty of them, they become a much more complex toy as the child’s critical thinking develops with age.
Connetix Tiles STEAM Play Ideas:
1. Life cycle activity – using sticky tack or sticky notes, put pictures from the life cycle of a creature such as a frog or a butterfly onto small square tiles then ask the child to put them in order in a circle
2. Magnetic scavenger hunt – take a magnet tile on a walk to see which objects are magnetic
3. Explore cause and effect with bowling – stand some tiles up in a bowling pin formation then roll a soft ball at them to see what happens
4. Flower or leaf pressing – pick some flowers or leaves and place them between two tiles to examine the details
5. Compare textures – make open-topped boxes with the tiles and use them to sort items by texture
1. Make vehicles – create different vehicles such as a boat, rocket, car, train or tractor, the possibilities are endless!
2. Make domino style structure then knock it down – use the small square tiles and lie some on the surface in a line then stand more upright on the edges then knock them down
3. Build a simple ball run – ball runs are lots of fun and allow for lots of creativity, you could even build two and have races!
4. Design a coin drop – coin drops are as much fun as ball runs and can be as simple or as complex as you like
5. Ball maze – use a baking tray to stick some of the shapes on to create a maze to roll a ball around
1. Build the tallest tower you can – work together or in competition to build the tallest free-standing tower, you could even make some big castles with towers
2. Build a bridge and test its strength – make a bridge structure and see how many items you can place on it before it collapses
3. Build a village with different-sized houses – use all your tiles to create lots of different-sized houses, the different sizes will present different challenges
4. Build a track for small cars – create a track with obstacles for small cars to navigate
5. Build a ramp to race cars down – does the size or angle of the ramp affect the speed of the car?
1. Colour sorting boxes – make different coloured boxes and sort objects into them
2. Light colour mixing – hold different coloured tiles up to a light source and see how the colours change when you put one behind the other
3. Make a stained-glass window – build a design up against a window to create a stained-glass window effect
4. Colour matching – stick some different coloured tiles to a baking tray then find objects that match the colours
5. Build a rainbow – build a 2d or 3d rainbow then put it near a light source to see if you can see the colours on the floor
1. Create repeating patterns – use the tiles to make patterns that repeat in size, shape or colour or even all three!
2. Organise tiles by shape or by size – set a challenge to organise the tiles as fast as possible by one characteristic
3. Compare 2d and 3d shapes – create 2d versions and 3d versions of the same shape and spot the differences and similarities such as a square and a cube
4. Addition and subtraction – use tiles in a line to practice adding and taking away
5. Create symmetrical designs – create half a design whilst explaining symmetry then ask the child to create the rest of the design