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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Geomag Magnetic Rods – A Great Way To Spend An Afternoon

Geomag makes creative building sets that use the power of magnets. I’ve reviewed two different types of Geomag products – sets that allow you to build a contraption that uses magnet power to make a ball move through a track (it’s awesome when you get it to work) and sets that are more about creativity than following directions. This time, my 4 year old and I got to playtest two sets that fall into the second category, which is good because sometimes she lacks the manual dexterity and precision to build a specific model without help.

The sets this time were magnetic rod building sets. Essentially, the set is comprised of a pack of metal balls and magnetic rods. The rods are all the same size and are made from 100% recycled plastic (yay Earth!). The set also comes with some bases and a nifty carrying case for the rods and balls.  What sets the two sets we played with apart from other magnetic rod building sets is the nifty new rod colors – glow in the dark and glitter. When I put them both in front of my daughter she immediately chose the glitter set to start with.

So, are these sets fun? In a word: Yes. In more than one word, see below:

4 year old’s take: Immediately after I opened the box, my daughter exclaimed “It’s so cool!  I can build whatever I want.” While the set does come with a sheet with some models you can build, you really can do whatever you want with these neat little rods. My daughter got absorbed in building things (I stopped timing after an hour of engrossed play). The pieces were a good size for her little fingers and seemed to spark a lot of creativity, from the ‘house’ she built to the ‘ice cream cones’ she made and proudly showed me.  Unprompted, she looked up at me and said “I love my new toy!  It’s so sparkly!” When we finally packed everything up for dinner, she made me promise to let her play with them again later, which is probably the biggest endorsement a toy can get.

45 year old’s take: After watching my daughter play for a half an hour, I kinda got jealous. I asked her if I could borrow some pieces and she kindly agreed. There is something oddly calming about making geometric shapes and then moving the pieces around to make something different. While the magnets can sometimes pull your rods in different directions than you intended, they are easy to manipulate. We were having such a good time messing around with the set that we had to break out the other set to have enough pieces for both of us to create with. That’s another cool feature about the Geomag magnetic rods – they are interchangeable with other sets.

Overall, this set is more about creativity than building something specific. You can build different shapes, but you aren’t building something specific like a Lego set. This allows for a lot of creativity, but you aren’t going to keep or display what you build. You are going to take it apart and make something else.  If you are looking for a frustration free toy to spark your child’s (or your) creativity, I recommend Geomag’s magnetic rods. From a dexterity standpoint, I’d say these sets compare to Magnatiles. One note of caution, sometimes the metal balls rolled off the table and we had to hunt them down. If you keep them in their case this shouldn’t be a problem, but if your child likes to dump them all out, you risk losing one!


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Darren Shulman
Darren Shulman
Darren is a professional lawyer and amateur movie/comic/TV reviewer who is lucky enough to have found a wife who is into the same geeky things he is. Darren has been making the trip from Ohio to San Diego Comic-Con since 2009. Other interests include, in no particular order: monkeys, LEGO, dinosaurs, and playing basketball poorly.

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