STEM Skills targetted: construction, science, engineering
Recommended age range: 3+
SmartMax is a fun construction toy that uses magnetism to hold the pieces together, similar to Magna-Tiles but the pieces are also 3D and there are more variation in the type of pieces so you can make ball runs and other fun structures with balls, bars and pipes in any configuration your imagination can come up with.
What I love about SmartMax is that the pieces are really big and chunky so they’re great for pre-schoolers – small blocks and construction kits can be difficult for small children to handle as they haven’t developed their fine motor skills enough yet and this can be very frustrating. SmartMax is specifically designed to be easy for young children to handle and is suitable for kids from the age of three.
The SmartMax pieces click together like magic thanks to the strong internal magnets. All the pieces are strong and durable and the magnets are able to carry 60 times their own weight. Bars are color coded for easy construction and to help understand magnetism (warm colored red orange and yellow bars attract cool colored blue green and purple bars and repel other warm bars and vice versa.
All the SmartMax kits are compatible and come with colorful guides with sample designs.
This starter kit includes 42 pieces in total – 18 short bars, 12 long bars and 12 balls. A fun introduction to SmartMax that will enable your kids to build lots of towers, bridges and other constructions.
This kit includes 25 parts to build a fleet of vehicles including a firetruck, forklift, tow truck, pickup and van. The vehicles can then be combined with the other building sets for even more fun (use the forklift to carry balls and building materials!)
The smallest SmartMax set, which includes 12 short bars, 4 long balls and 9 bars. This is a fun introduction to the building kit for younger children and can be expanded and combined with other sets.
If you really want to have lots of fun with SmartMax, I advise buying one of the bigger sets like this 70-piece set that comes in its own storage container. There are so many things you can build with this kit and it’s great for encouraging STEM skills and creativity.
I think this is one of the most fun SmartMax kits – kids just love the magic of building a ball run and watching it drop down. Marble runs are tricky for younger kids as they’re a choking hazard but as this one is jumbo sized, it’s perfectly safe for toddlers. This set includes some fun funnels, tubes and slides that aren’t included in the other kits. The kit consists of 74 pieces and is a great addition to one of the other kits or in its own right.
This is another vehicles set that is a great extension to one of the standard building sets and enables you to build cars, trucks and airplanes. Build bridges, roads, or an airport and then create the vehicles to play on your new creation.
This is a combination of the building, ball run and vehicle sets and it’s great for younger kids.. Build a machine with ball tube and load balls in and watch them roll into the truck. A fun way to explore magnetism for even the youngest children.
This building kit includes 46 pieces to make both vehicles and fun ramps and runs to race them on. My little boy would be in heaven if I bought him this I think! As with all the other kits, this is an open-ended construction toy and there’s no one right way to build it. Experimenting with different structures helps to develop creativity and basic engineering skills.
There are a lot of expansion kits available for SmartMax and this is just one of many. What is most fun about this kit is that the bars glow in the dark. In my experience, kids love anything glow in the darks so this just further enhances the play experience – build a tower using a normal set and these bars and then turn the lights off to see your construction light up!