My girls tend not to have a particularly long attention span for toys. They love them for a day or two and then they move on. So when I was asked to review SmartMax construction toys, I didn’t have high hopes for them. Amazingly though, since the toys arrived, the girls have consistently asked to play with them every day.
SmartMax Start Plus
The SmartMax Magnetic Discovery Start Plus 30 piece set is a starter set containing 30 pieces. This includes long and short straight poles, curved poles and balls. Each piece is magnetic and the magnets in the cold coloured poles – green, blue, purple and white – have their individual north poles facing outwards. The warm coloured poles – red, orange, yellow and pink – have their individual south poles facing outwards.
This is great for allowing children to explore magnetism. All poles are attracted by the metallic balls, regardless of the direction of their magnets. The set is perfect for building anything from basic animals to towers.
SmartMax Playground XL
The SmartMax Playground XL Magnetic Discovery set is based on the same pieces as the SmartMax Start Plus, but it also contains tubes and stabilising pieces to allow you to build a marble run for the magnetic balls to run down.
For my two, a marble run is the ultimate toy. We build one together because it’s quite difficult at the moment for them to see how to construct something that will stay upright. But every day they play with it, they’re doing more and more of it themselves. I can literally see their skills developing in front of my eyes.
Combining SmartMax Sets
As soon as our SmartMax toys arrived, they were taken out of the boxes and the two sets were combined. This is the beauty of SmartMax – all sets are compatible with each other. For us, this means that we now know what to ask for at Christmas – the girls would love more sets so that their masterpieces can grow even bigger!
What Makes SmartMax Toys So Good?
Every day this week, my girls have not only asked to play with their SmartMax toys, but asked us to turn the television off so they can concentrate. This is unheard of in our house, because we do limit their screen time. So when they’re able to watch television they usually make the most of it.
I think the reason the toys are so popular is because children feel a real sense of achievement when they’ve built something. Construction toys for little tots tend to be a bit basic. Perhaps wooden blocks or large Lego type pieces – things that push together without too much thought.
SmartMax toys are very different because they use magnets and they have to really concentrate to build something. The magnets are very strong, but if they get it wrong or don’t put supports in the right place the structure will collapse. Whatever they decide to make, it’s a real achievement when they finish.