Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review + Giveaway: Super Magnetics: A Pocketful of Science

Magnetic putty attracts children too.  photo: Iridescent Learning

WHAT:  Super Magnetics by Crazy Aaron's Puttyworld
DOES: NEWLY IMPROVED for 2013- a magnetic putty that is more appropriate for younger kids, safer and more flexible- thus further allowing you and your child to learn about magnetic forces in the most HANDS ON way possible!!! It's just super fun to explore this toy
INVEST:  $14.95 MSRP
AGES:  8+ (I have gone lower but please exercise caution)
TOOLS: This Like A Scientist/Engineer, My Body Needs to Move, Father Day Ulterior Motives Gift (Hey, play with the kids a tad more.... with something Daddy will love)
EXPERT OPINION: Paige Teamey, Director, Engineers as Teachers, Iridescent Learning 
GIVEAWAY:  Win your own tin of Super Magnetic Putty! You can choose the color! Reactive Razz (magenta), Tidal Wave (electric blue), Strange Attractor (black) and Quicksilver (silver)

I have always watched the videos for magnetic putty but I never purchased it. I guess it always felt like a luxury item to me and you know, luxury items always brings on the guilt. Putty is definitely great for kids.  There's no question about that but does it need to be magnetic?  My wallet always said NO.

Still, my curiosity never faded.  Everytime I stumbled upon a new magnetic putty video, I watched it.  This year, I found some putty at the Toy Fair, saw it do the snake charm dance and for a minute, I wanted to just grab a chunk and run away. Thank goodness I didn't.  The folks at Crazy Aaron PuttyWorld sent samples to Numbers 1, 2, and 5 and boy were they thrilled.  This kind of science is mesmerizing. 
Sculpt with magnets?  Now that would be cool.  Please note that the magnet used here is not from the company. I used the one that came in the tin but I also used my own.  photo: Iridescent Learning

Will This Be the Summer of Scientific Fun?

So of course I found a super science teacher to talk to me about the learning aspects of magnetic putty.  While this is flashy and cool, I knew that the science component shouldn't be dismissed as a mere novelty.  That's right... SCIENCE.....  Remember science? Yes, our minds are fading away into Summer Summerland but before you go, I suggest you take this pocketful of science with you. It comes in a handy tin from Crazy Aaron's Puttyworld and it will be your constant reminder that science is not owned by the state, nor textbooks nor tests.  Science is owned by the thinking child- your child.

To get back to the basics of the science-learning opportunities with putty, I asked Paige Teamey, Director of Engineers as Teachers at Iridescent Learning.  Everyday, Paige pays homage to the STEM Goddess by bringing science education to children in economically struggling neighborhoods.  If she's not busy with that, then you'll find her teaching budding engineers how to share their love of science with children.

Note the time.
A little over an hour later and look what it did!

Our Reactive Razz is slowing down....but look how much it moved on its own?

The folks at Crazy Aaron's Puttyworld sent some tins of Super Magnetics to try out with her students ages 8 to 18 at the Science Studio in the South Bronx, New York City.  Paige said the kids were completely entranced. "Kids and adults love squishy malleable objects that do not make their hands dirty," she said and noted that the kids and adults were playing with putty and appeared more focused as they listened to her speak.

What Did This Sci-Tech Class Try To Do?
  • Hmmm.. Let's hook it up to a battery and see if could light up an LED?  Ok, that didn't work. (psst. I tried that too)
  • Let's watch magnets slowly sink into the putty... FUN!
  • Hey guys, let's try to roll a putty ball with a magnet under the table? Well, they found out this was better achieved in a bowl of water instead.  (Gosh, I wish Paige was my science teacher... I think I dropped Physics in high school)
  • Let's heat the putty outside! What might happen? Result: when warm, putty defies gravity and jumped into the air onto the magnet.
  • Paige made a small field of little putty globs and then make the entire field sway back and forth with a magnet. 
What Else Can Be Learned? 

After listening to Paige, Super Magnetics were shedding its luxury toy image and now moving into royal geek tool status.   Paige had lots of cool things to say but here are a couple of the best science-learning opps she shared with me:

Kind of crater-like yes?  Dirt sort of looks like this too. Your other putty can't do this. photo: Iridescent Learning
The photo definition of mesmerized or captivated   photo: Iridescent Learning

  • when the magnets were inside of the putty you were able to see the magnetic field lines emerge from them
  • playing with putty allows you to explore elastic properties
  • some materials have the capability to behave as something in between a solid and a liquid
"It is so interesting to see how malleable materials can be molded and changed," she told me explaining that some materials may behave differently based on the type of force applied to them.  Additionally, temperature change affects the viscosity she told me.  Wow, I actually never saw it that way at all.

photo: Iridescent Learning

Where Does This Toy Fit in the realm of School Science?

In New York, Paige said that magnetism and electricity is a topic on the state exam in 4th grade (oooh, super good news to me... Number 1 is going to be in 4th grade next year!) Paige said that it is part of New York's state standards and core curriculum.  (Gee, suddenly, I feel like poring through the core curriculum and seeing which toys can support the lessons. Oh, if I only had a faster brain!!!!)

There is no wrong way to play with putty!

Irregardless, previous exposure is a good thing. "The students will enter the topic with prior knowledge that may make them feel more confident in talking about what they are learning and connecting deeper to the content in general," said Paige. With putty especially, Paige said that students might become more creative in their approach because putty has so many possibilities for different variations. Toying around with
Super Magnetics will have allowed them to already explore some of those variations.
This makes sense to me... Rome was not built in a day...  Foundations have to start somewhere... Science toys may not fit neatly into any school curriculum but prior exposure, especially when it has fun memories attached can only help, right? We may never know how much but we'll have a putty good time trying!
photo: Iridescent Learning

If You Understand This Quote, Give Yourself A High-Five

Well, it can't be a science story unless there is at least one thing that makes me feel like the girl sliding back in her seat when the Physics teacher randomly calls on kids to answer questions. Here is what Paige said, "You can float the putty in water and have it hover above a magnet and it will stay attracted and hovering regardless of water disturbance. It made me think of how a maglev train works as well as the basic idea of gravitational pull of our sun in reference to the planets that orbit it." 

I wish I could say I was thinking of maglev trains too but all I know about gravity is that it makes me feel like I need to go on a diet.

And now here's your chance to win your very own  Super Magnetic Putty, each tin comes with it's own ceramic magnet!  How cool is this???  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to buy on Amazon right now? Use my link to support Toys are Tools.  (Remember that you want to make sure that you are getting the New 2013 Super Magnetics.  Reactive Razz and Tidal Wave are definitely new because these colors came out this year and will come with the new square-shaped ceramic magnets but with the old colors: silver and black, you may want to double check unless you are buying directly from Crazy Aaron's Puttyworld

Disclosure: Toys are Tools has not been compensated by the manufacturer for the publication of this review.   Review units were submitted to testers and expert to facilitate a review. Reviews are never promised.


  1. i'm a teacher of children with special needs (learning differences!) and realized years ago I have ADD. My district has monthly trainings for us and their instructors were incensed that some of us knitted during class. We collected and sent them research on why children and adults need 'fidgets', but they just don't Get It. I now carry inexpensive putty with me to those meetings. If my hands are busy, my brain hears and remembers. I just found Crazy Aaron's Putty on fb and ordered a tin for my classroom. I also keep a drawer of magnets for kids, so this putty sounds perfect! Thanks for the detailed review. You make me WANT some!

  2. favorite summer science activity for backyard, camping, parties: good ol' vinegar, soda, balloons, dishsoap, plastic bottles, corks, paper twists, volcanoes sculpted in the sand or dirt, food color, swimming pool or lake. Use items to make erupting volcanoes, bottle rockets, bottle boats, inflated balloons, and whatever else creative minds come up with. Inexpensive, easily available, cleanup with a garden hose!

  3. just have to tell you I LOVE the picture of the girl intently watching putty and magnet. I think she sold me on the product before i read the review!

  4. that was paige's student. I have yet to see her science studio but really can't wait now!!!

  5. okay, can you come over my house or can I send my kids to yours, you can keep them if you like. they will prefer you over me for sure.

  6. It's not me... it's the putty... it's very attractive!!! I mean seriously, it's mesmerizing. I tell my kids all the time, there is energy inside a magnet. It's like it is alive.

    and kisses to you for being a teacher of special needs (learning difference is a great term!!!!) Special ed is Super ed!

    Get on Crazy Aaron's mailing list. I'm sure they'll have discounts coming up. They had a teacher's appreciation discount and an OT week discount not long ago. Maybe one day they'll have a Learning Difference discount! We need that!

  7. The only science activity we do in the summer is grow our own vegetable garden but we take do take him to our local OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) where they have lots of hands on science activities for children.

  8. The only putty I have ever purchased is Silly Putty.

  9. YES!! My grandkids live in Oregon and I'm in WA, but this summer when they come to camp, we'll do these things. My sister started it on camping trips a few yrs back, and I've got the ingredients starting to pile up for this year's trip. The nieces and nephews love it, and my grandkids are just big enough to enjoy it this year. Send your kids over anytime, we can do science in my huge backyard!

  10. oh, thanks for the tip! We're winding down the year in our district, so the kids have had the magnets out a lot. Great for social skills, exploration, cooperative play, and fine motor, besides science. I LOVE my job! It's the kids. brilliant, quirky, and like little puzzles I get to figure out how to teach effectively. So much fun!

  11. My son loves science experiments... his favorite so far is watching baking soda and vinegar "volcanos" We are now watching tad poles grow into frogs.

  12. I LOVE putty! I use it all the time as an OT. I have purchaes through Therapro and School Specialty. I have also used Silly Putty and Nutty Putty but its hard to get a good amount. I generally use 1lb at a time and hide various games pieces.

  13. Growing plants. (Gianna)

  14. I've never bought any before. (Gianna)