50 ways to play with Connetix Magnetic Tiles
Connetix tiles are versatile and open-ended, with strong magnets to connect each piece together. Need some ideas for more ways to use them? Here are 50 ideas for the whole family to play (and learn!) with Connetix tiles.
Build near a window and allow the sun to create a rainbow reflection on the floor. Leave it to observe how the sun’s changing position shifts the shadows throughout the day. Does the rainbow look bigger and brighter in the morning or in the evening?
Gather loose parts and sort them on a rainbow Connetix grid. This seemingly easy activity is rich in learning, developing understanding of colours and hues, as well as the foundations of one-to-one correspondence required for counting.
Posting activities are usually a hit with younger toddlers, and great for hand-eye coordination and bilateral coordination. To make it more challenging, use tweezers or a scoop to pick up and transfer the pompoms.
Two-piece puzzles are a great way to introduce puzzles to beginners. Print photos or cut pictures from a magazine, slice in half and use blu-tack or tape to stick onto tiles.
For more advanced puzzlers, cut up a larger picture to create a puzzle that requires a bit more problem solving to complete! This picture is a page from a magazine.
Use cardboard and a glue gun to create a shape sorting board for the different square, triangle and rectangle tiles. Here, the shapes are labelled in two languages for some extra opportunities for language practice and development.
‘Build the picture’ puzzle
On cardboard or a large piece of paper, outline the tiles to create a picture and invite your child to fill it in with colourful tiles. Here’s a tip: trace the tiles with a pencil first before going over it in ink, to avoid staining the tiles with permanent marker.
Turning 2D to 3D
As an extension to the picture puzzle activity, encourage your child to use the outline as a guide to turn the puzzle into a three-dimensional construction.
Coloured lens paddle
Cut a square hole, the same size as a tile, in a piece of cardboard and use the paddle to see the world in a different light. Go on a walk to explore and search for different colours in nature!
Coloured lens camera
Using cardboard, paper roll, button and ribbon, create a camera with a gap for tiles to slide into.
Practise fine motor skills by scooping pasta, rice or beans into towers. Baking trays are usually magnetic, so they help hold the tiles in place. The sound of pasta clinking as it hits the tiles and the tray is a sensory experience for the ears too!
Drop and slide
Watch the pompoms fall down the chute and slide off the isosceles triangle tile. As an extension activity, older children can try to create a multi-level drop and slide with two or more levels!
Loose parts sorting
The window and fence tiles lend themselves well to being used for size and shape sorting. Find items that only fit in one or the other (like flat round discs and wooden acorns) to encourage visual and size discrimination skills. As an extra option, add in a car to transport the pieces from one end of the track to the other!
Giant rainbow drop
For the ultimate posting activity, try a 3D rainbow with a gap between the tiles on top or on the side. Drop wooden discs, counters or pompoms in and watch as they fall to either side. Retrieve items by removing one tile from the bottom corners, then repeat posting again!
Use tiles to spell out each letter and create a giant nameplate on the floor. Will it be a rainbow-coloured name, one colour for each letter or in an alternating pattern?
Known as consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words, these three-letter words are often the first ones children learn to spell. Choose a single colour for the vowels to make it visually clear which letters are vowels and build words together. Dry-erase (whiteboard) markers can be used to write on tiles. To wipe off, use a dry tissue or paper towel.
Explore word endings and rhyme using different letters at the beginning of each word. To build understanding and comprehension, you or your child can draw or act out each word. This is also a good way to check if the word is an actual word!
Write different nouns, verbs and adjectives on sticky notes (or straight on the tiles with a dry-erase marker) and join tiles to create sentences. The sentences can be simple or silly for a bit of fun!
Sight word pictures
Ask your child to read the words and build it. For a challenge, create 3D versions that can stand upright!
Make the number
Use tiles to create giant numerals and encourage number recognition and familiarity. Numbers like 2 and 3 provide good opportunities to explore and discuss curved and straight lines.
Build one-to-one correspondence by placing and counting small objects, one at a time, on each tile. The ladder shows how each subsequent number has one more than the previous, and that each number represents a collection of objects that can be counted individually. This concept is fundamental in early number learning.
Paper clip counting
Use paper clips as magnetic counters to place the correct number on each tile. Model addition by joining two tiles together and adding up the total number of paper clips.
Create a reusable addition board by writing the blank equation on a piece of cardboard as pictured, then applying clear tape or contact paper over. Write numbers on with a dry-erase (whiteboard) marker and drop the required number of pompoms in the left and right to work out the sum. Erase with a paper towel and repeat!
Learn about symmetry by completing the picture to create two mirror-image halves. Set up one side for the child to complete on the other side, or take turns creating a picture together by laying one tile at a time.
Continue the pattern
Set up patterns using different shape and colour combinations. Keep it simple for younger learners or make the patterns more complicated by increasing the number of tiles in each sequence before it repeats.
Invite your child to build a shape or structure using a set number of each tile. A challenge to get creative juices flowing, this construction activity promotes STEM skills and suits both simple and advanced learners.
Represent the concept of multiplication in rows and columns using tiles to show multiple groups. This can also be used to demonstrate the commutative property of multiplication (ie. 3x4 is the same as 4x3).
3D shape nets
Create and explore three-dimensional shapes and their two-dimensional nets. This activity is a hands-on way to learn about shape edges, faces and vertices.
Use tiles to represent fractions as parts of a whole. There are several ways to turn this into an activity - You can create the visual representations and ask your child to label them, or present your child with the written fraction cards and invite them to create two ways using both square and triangle tiles.
Make cards with dot patterns on it and invite your child to create them using tiles, following the formation and colour on each card. Increase the difficulty by adding in more rows, columns and colours on each card.
Make a basketball-inspired hoop and take turns throwing lightweight plastic balls or pompoms in. To make things fair, use painter’s tape to mark a line on the floor that all players have to stand behind while throwing.
Build three or more structures and use the door frame tiles as rings to toss. Vary up the heights and stand further back to increase the level of difficulty. This game is best played away from the wall and on carpet or a rug, to avoid tiles causing damage to your home.
Create a grid-like frame on the floor and label numbers 1-4 on pieces of paper. Randomly assign them to different squares (you can choose to number every square or leave some blank) and take turns throwing pompoms in. Count how many points every player scores after each round. Here, each player received three of the same colour pompoms to throw per round but you can increase or decrease this number as you see fit.
Gross motor obstacle
Create hurdles on the floor for little legs to step or jump over. Design a course along the length of a hallway and alternate heights to make it more challenging. To include a race-day sense of excitement, use a stopwatch to time how quickly they can go over without knocking any tiles!
Create a domino run on the floor. Work together to create one using every single tile you have and wind it all around the room.
The fridge door is the ideal canvas to build on when everyone is in the kitchen waiting for dinner to cook on the stove. Create a picture or a pompom drop like this one to explore gravity, cause and effect.
Make buildings or pictures that stand up tall along the rails of a baby gate. The metal frame supports the tiles and provides stability.
Wrap up presents
As an alternative to wrapping paper, create a box to place presents into and watch as excited faces try to peek in and see what treasures are inside!
Road and garage
This one is for all the toy car collectors! Lay tiles to create a road and build individual or multi-level garages to park the cars after a long drive. This set of garages have a colour-sorting element to them too.
Use a low, anchored shelf or table as a take-off point for a big car ramp. Watch the cars slide down and see how far it rolls!
Sort the animals by size or fur colour, or just create a colourful display. Balancing the animals and placing them carefully on each shelf is trickier than it looks, developing focus, perseverance and hand-eye coordination too.
Land or Sea sort
This activity is rich in learning and opportunities for discussion - do the animals live on land or sea, or maybe both?
Design a doll house for peg dolls and use it to roleplay everyday family interactions and develop language and vocabulary. Roleplaying is valuable as it helps children process the world around them and build deeper connections and understandings about their own and others’ experiences.
Build some toy-sized furniture for stuffed friends to sit, sleep and work. With enough Connetix chairs and tables, this could lead to a tea party or pretend school imaginative play setup too.
Tuck cuddly friends into Connetix beds to role-play bedtime routines. This imaginative play activity may reassure toddlers who are going through a phase of feeling anxiety or fear at bedtime by building familiarity with routines.
Jingle bell tree
Decorate a Connetix Christmas tree with bells, pompoms or other loose parts. The bells can be used to prompt an exploration of where the magnets are on each tile and which materials they attract.
Design an outfit
On a whiteboard or piece of paper, draw a head and encourage your child to design outfits that suit different occasions or occupations such as a fireman’s suit or party dress. The larger the head, the more details the outfit can include.
Use tiles against a window to create a piece of artwork that can be admired from both inside and outside the house.
Display mini framed artworks for the fridge by cutting the drawing or painting to size and placing it between a solid tile and a door frame tile. Set up a mini art gallery that can be easily rearranged and refreshed with new artworks to nurture your child’s creativity and self-confidence.
Create a fishing rod by tying two fence tiles to a piece of string attached to a stick or pole on the other end. Draw fish and use blutac or tape to stick them onto tiles, lay them on a piece of blue fabric or a towel to create an ocean and invite your child to catch some colourful sea creatures!
Which activity idea will you try first? Shop our range of Connetix tiles here and leave a comment on this blog post if you have more ideas to share!
Creative content by Sheryl from @cardboard.kiddo exclusively for Dimple and Dot.