BELOW IS MY FOLLOW-UP REVIEW… we’ve had magna-tiles, motorized dexlue duplo trains, and magformers for at least 3 or 4 years now. So I know what I am talking about! (At least with my kids! ;-)
Sorry Lego, Magna-tiles are better. They just are… better than legos! (Sacrilege! I know!)
At least if:
– You have multiple kids including a toddler who you don’t want eating or chewing legos or pulling off ALL the arms off minifigs. (And I do mean all.)
– You want to build a structure of some sort QUICKLY that will be playable with other toys (like dolls, stuffed animals, little cars, planes, etc)
– And Dad has fun too! IMPORTANT!
One can also do pretty well if you buy a TON of Duplo (Sorry again Lego, Duplo is totally interesting to kids MUCH older than 5, the age you put on the packages).
DUPLO CONS vs MAGNATILES:
– Not quite as easy to get big/tall creations going. (It still takes a long time with duplos)
– And not as easy for the little ones. The magnets work magic (and don’t worry… it’s safe… they are embedded in the big plastic pieces so no risk)
That said… You will be amazed at the stuff your 7 year old will build if given a mountain of duplo. And his little siblings won’t choke on the pieces.
Amazon has some big sets, but bricklink.com is an invaluable resource for gettings lots of long/bigger pieces that are in short supply in some of the standard sets one can buy thru normal stores.
So, for instance, our 8 year old and 4 year old can play together with our huge electric motorized lego duplo train collection for quite a long time. I bought a bunch of extra switches, and a bridge, and along with all the generic big/long duplo pieces, they can build some pretty cool tunnels and layouts.
Magformers are very good too. But I see that more as fun for older kids (and parents) interested in building buckyballs and Archimedian solids and other 3-d shapes. The issue being that they are a little “mushier” in terms of how their magnets hold and they are hollow (both useful for building shapes, but not for building playable structures).
What set? We have 2 of the “Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100 Piece Set”. That’s really the way to go. Then with 2+ kids there will be limited frustration.
OK, photos to come!