I was looking for a Father’s Day present for my husband. I wanted something that would be interesting to both him and the kids. Something they could explore together. So I went to the bookstore with both kids in tow and had a look around.
In the children’s section there are often toys along with the kid books. We decided that Daddy would like the wooden robot. My husband is all about robots. The idea that he would build with them tanked as soon as it was open. Apparently he had to wait his turn. Clearly, it was theirs.
The toy is simple. It consists of a set of wooden blocks of different sizes and shapes, each with at least one magnet inside. You can build the robot, one of the other suggested designs, or your own creation out of the blocks. It won’t fall down or apart because the magnets hold it together.
There’s no manual and no real instructions. All there is are pictures of the Magbot and 5 suggested designs. No step-by-step instructions, you just figure out what to do from the picture. Take the blocks out and build, it’s that easy.
The magnets are strong enough to keep structures from collapsing, but weak enough for a toddler to easily dismantle it. And kids learn about magnets. The pieces won’t stick together if the polarity is off and it’s a simple, but important lesson in problem-solving to turn the piece over to make it work.
Much to my dismay, my 3 year old still puts everything in her mouth. Magbot’s parts aren’t so small that they’re a choking hazard and are made with a non-toxic finish. The parts are sturdy and durable. My kids are hard on their toys and I can see this one lasting for years.
I am all about toys without batteries, but I don’t want to be the mom who only gets boring, educational toys. The Tegu Magbot doesn’t just keep my 4 year old son entertained, it helps him express his creativity. Unlike regular blocks, the structures made won’t fall down so a good deal of frustration is averted. Bonus for parents, the pieces are large and have smooth edges so they’re not as painful to accidentally step on as other blocks.
My son loves to build and create. At first he wanted me to build the suggested designs, but was soon trying the designs himself and making his own creations. He was so proud. His birthday is coming up and he asked for one of the other models we saw in the store.
One thing I should have considered before buying it was sharing. There are not many pieces and it’s practically impossible for two or more children to enjoy it at once.
The only limit is your imagination. Cliché, I know, but it’s true. Tegu makes a lot of other models including specific item types (like a car or helicopter) or collections of plain blocks. Like Legos, one set is completely compatible with others. With the regular blocks, you can choose natural wood or various color schemes. Truly a gender-neutral toy for all ages.
Annie Nickum is a blogger, personal trainer, and librarian in North Dakota. You can follow her at www.bookishtobadass.com
Pictures and video by Annie Nickum, featuring the little Nickums