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This was a bit of a stocking filler present for my eldest son last Christmas when he was 5 years old. My sons are both really into construction, whether that be lego or duplo, or just plain building blocks. I thought the concept of introducing magnetism into this was quite a nice idea, and I thought he would enjoy playing with a geo mag set. I bought the smallest set available which was a colour set containing 22 pieces for around £10. 10 pieces are round silver balls that are used as joints in your construction. There are then 6 orange rods, and 6 yellow rods which are all a couple of inches in length, and quite strong magnets. To say this is such a small kit, my boys have played with it quite a lot. It is quite limited in what you can construct as there is only so many shapes you can make with the limited pieces you have, and once you run out of pieces, that is it. However, it seems that small boys will always be fascinated by magnets. I have found them making long rods, sticking these to my fridge to make it spikey, and constructing shapes they are familiar with from school. The only frustration is they don't have the more grown up knowledge adults do about opposite poles on a magnet attracting, so if they try to put two 'like' poles together and they are seeing them push apart instead, then they find it frustrating. This mostly seems to annoy them when they are trying to put the pieces back into the polystyrene tray they came in. An initial worry of mine was that my dog might get hold of the small balls and swallow them. Luckily, these bits are not magnetic, and he hasn't found them that tempting, and we still have all the balls we started with. As a result of the fun we have had with the small kit, I have invested in a larger set for this Christmas so we can expand on the fun and tackle some larger scale buildings. As well as the rods, you can get panels to make more solid looking shapes. I find this kit hard wearing, and popular. This is recommended for age 3 plus due to the small parts being a choking hazard. It is also recommended that adults supervise play as if children swallow magnets it can be very dangerous and cause intestinal blockages and tears. I also watch my two in case they place these near anything electrical that might be affected by magnetism. I have a little memory of my first year of teaching when I told the children to look around my room and find 5 things that a magnet would be attracted to, and one of my year sevens tried it on my computer monitor. Luckily no permanent damage was done, but if they had tried the tower it might have been a different story.
It's amazing how satisfying playing with magnets is, even at my age there's something about their repelling and attracting properties that I like. I can spend ages clicking magnets together and trying to force the repelling ends to stick- sad eh? anyway I bought my son the Geomag colour 20 piece set for Christmas one year. I see on Amazon they retail for £8, I think I paid a bit more than that at the time. Geomag is an magnetic toy comprising of magnetic rods and nickle plated steel balls which can be assembled into geometric shapes. The rods are plastic coated 1 inch or so long bars with a south-polarised magnet at one end and a north polarised magnet at the other. The balls are the size of an average marble. This is a very good quality toy that hasn't damaged in anyway and the magnets are still strong. The red box it comes in is easy to spot, the information you get with it is explanatory and interesting. This toy is recommended for children aged six and over but not for the under threes due to small parts. This is an educational toy that teaches magnetism, construction and basic physics. Basically you build geometric 3D shapes by connecting the rods together magnetically using the balls. This is very simple to do you just stick a rod to a ball and so on and so forth until you've got your shape. You can then make your shapes spin and move by using repel or attract magnetic force. My son found all this very easy to do, we all enjoyed snapping the magnets together and then pulling them apart. To put the Geomag away back in it's box is easy too, it literally just pull's apart. The instructions suggest shapes to construct or to just try your own, but obviously with this being only 20 pieces the models you can build are limited but even a simple triangle or box has it's fascination value. My son enjoyed playing with this set, but would have benefited from a slightly larger version. I would recommend this toy 5 stars from me.