Use Magna-Tiles® to Build Problem Solving Skills with These Challenges

Whether you’re designing learning activities for the classroom or at home, problem-solving challenges can be uniquely difficult. Activities must present a genuine challenge without being too hard for the intended age level. Fortunately, with Magna-Tiles® magnetic blocks for kids and a little creativity, you can create problem-solving challenges children will be motivated to solve.

The Importance of Problem Solving

Building a strong foundation of problem-solving skills early in life can help kids prepare for the more difficult challenges ahead. These activities support logical reasoning, creativity, analytical thinking, and grit.

Fun, low-stakes opportunities to unravel problem-solving challenges will help children develop a can-do mindset and the cognitive skills needed to find solutions in all areas of life. A good problem-solving challenge includes:

  • Understanding a problem
  • Creating a solution
  • Identifying the best solution
  • Using the solution to solve the problem

Ready to get started? These Magna-Tiles® problem-solving challenges can help.


Classic tangrams are Chinese puzzles made with a variety of shapes. To solve the puzzle, players must arrange the shapes in the correct placement. These puzzles can be completed individually or in groups and adapted to suit learners of all ages.

Parents or teachers can design their own tangram puzzles or find many resources online offering free, printable forms. Providing outlines for shape placement makes this activity accessible for younger kids, while older children can try to solve puzzles in multiple ways or even create designs for one another.

Solve the Magna-Tiles® Labyrinth

This problem-solving task includes two challenges: creating the maze and solving it! You’ll need a variety of Magna-Tiles® magnetic shapes, plus a marble or other small ball. First, each child will receive the same selection of tiles and create a maze within a given time limit. An adult can help younger kids build their maze. Once the maze is complete, children swap with a classmate, sibling, or friend to solve.

To solve the maze, the player must roll a ball through its corridors without making a wrong move. If the ball rolls in the wrong direction, they’ll have to start over. Mazes can be designed with sequences of colors, letters, or numbers to give younger players hints, and you can challenge kids to solve them in reverse once completed start-to-finish.

Shape Sudoku

Great for individual play, shape Sudoku follows the same rules as the traditional game using numbers. To play:

  1. Create a 3 x 3 or larger square grid.
  2. Make a selection of shapes using Magna-Tiles® blocks.
  3. Place them in select squares.

Per the rules of Sudoku, no shape can repeat horizontally or vertically within the grid. Ask kids to build the remaining shapes and fill out the puzzle, first without a time limit and later in a race against the clock as their skills grow.

Match the Model

Usually, this challenge requires at least two children, but a parent or teacher can also set up a model for a single player. Each individual or team will be given an identical assortment of blocks and a specified period to build. During that time, they are challenged to create a 3D design that rises as high as possible.

The complexity level is up to each team or player, but there’s a twist. Once the model is complete, they’ll swap with the competition and have to rebuild their model without taking the original apart. The first to recreate the other team’s design wins.

Explore Problem Solving with Magna-Tiles®

With bold colors, strong construction, and powerful magnets that snap together with a satisfying click, Magna-Tiles® magnetic blocks for kids are a great addition to any problem-solving challenge. And because they’re so versatile, you’ll use them again and again to teach counting, colors, shapes, patterns, STEM concepts, and more. For even more ideas, check out our educator resources, explore magnetic construction sets, or contact us today.