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Review: SmartMax Magnetic Discovery

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AS a mother of three, I am always looking for suitable toys to get my girls to play together, rather than use my phone or the tablet PCs at home.

It’s not easy finding the right toy as the options are many and most of them are for the different age groups. In addition, it’s hard to find one that keeps the attention of all three children; gadgets and apps seem more appealing to them.

SmartMax Magnetic Discovery was different. It impressed them, and me, with its cool features. Most importantly, it offered maximum fun with magnets for all three of them!

What caught my attention was how all the parts were big and chunky (more than 3cm). So, I did not have to worry about my toddlers chewing or swallowing bits and bobs. In addition, the size made it comfortable for them to grip.

Another thing I noticed was the quality of the parts. Everything is sturdy; SmartMax uses high grade material – not the type that would break easily – and all the parts are neatly glued together or rather, ultrasonically welded together for strength.

My kids tested out SmartMax not just by playing with it, but also “experimenting” by dropping the parts at a certain height and, to a point, throwing them against the door/wall! But that’s another story ….

The concept of this toy is it’s an open-ended bar and magnetic build set which encourages creativity, logical thinking, problem-solving and hand-eye coordination for players from aged one and older.

Since my girls love construction-based games (think: building blocks like Lego), this was perfect for them. With its 30-piece plastic and magnet set using ball and bar connectors, including eight metal balls, four curved bars, 12 medium bars and six long bars, we had fun constructing different structures in 2D and 3D. There is also an instruction guide with examples and advice to get things going if you’re not sure where to start.

SmartMax Magnetic Discovery allows kids to learn about the effects of magnetic attraction and repulsion, challenging them to overcome the difficulty when the pieces repel magnetically. Warm to warm colours or cool to cool colours repel each other.

The magnets have the strength to hold the ball or each other securely and yet it is easy enough to pull apart and put together again.

What I loved about this toy is it goes beyond connecting the parts provided. My girls experimented using the magnetic parts against other metals, like the door frame and table, to see if they would attract or repel to each other. This was followed by a little “science” lesson as they asked why.

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SmartMax Magnetic Discovery promotes open-ended play, offering endless fun where one could connect the pieces to make different structures. There is no wrong here, only right.

It boosted my girls’ self-esteem when the structures they made could “stick” together or even stand (3D structures).

Teachers might also find SmartMax useful to teach about magnets, atoms and structures using the pieces in their classroom.

As it’s made from plastic, cleaning was also easy. Just wipe down the parts with a damp cloth.

Storage wise, it doesn’t take much space and that is a bonus! You can keep it all together in the box or just chuck it all in a Ziploc bag, making it easy to manage, keep track of and even take along when travelling.

Pros: Endless fun; educational; no batteries necessary; there are expansion collections like Basic Stunt, Mega Ball Run and Playground XL to keep the fun (and laughter) going; promotes quality time in the family.

Cons: 3D structures built tend to collapse easily when moved; price.