Homemade Upcycled Magnetic Tangrams Toy

 photo 100_6807_zps49b4294b.jpgDo you have a bazzilion magnets lying around the house, or cluttering up your fridge? You know, those magnetic advertisements that so many companies hand out, that you don't really want anymore and probably didn't even want to begin with?
Instead of them cluttering up your fridge- make a fun creative toy for your kids out of them.
Make magnetic tangrams!

Ok, I don't know if these can definitely be called tangrams, because they're not puzzles, but they're close enough that that's the name I chose for them.

Just pull off the paper layer of the advertisement from the magnet and you'll be left with a white layer. If you don't mind more work, you can pull off all the white so yours is entirely black, but I didn't bother.

Then cut into different shapes of different sizes.

I made circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, semi circles, arcs, quarter circles, diamonds, ovals, cloud shapes, etc... in all different sizes and dimensions.

Once they're cut out, get designing!

The possibilities are limitless.

Rainbow and beginning of a train and a man.

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A more complete train with tracks and clouds in the sky.

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A house, car, tree, and sun.

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Somehow that picture below contains a robot. I don't see it, but thats what my kids claim.

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You can make more or less sophisticated pictures with these magnetic shapes. My 3 year old enjoyed making pictures with this, my 5 year old enjoyed it, and heck, even I am enjoying playing with it.
Fun for the whole family.

And free too!

Best of all- even though it has little pieces, they don't get lost as easily as other toys with little pieces because they are stuck onto the fridge.

The other thing I really like- my 5 year old son Lee is a wonderful artist, drawing beautiful pictures far beyond his age capabilities. Because of that, Ike, 3, feels he can't live up to his brother's drawing skills and flat out refuses to draw anything because "I can't do it as good as Lee".
But magnets?
He'll "draw" with magnets.
Finally a way he's willing to let his own creativity shine through! He was the one who made the "robot".
(I'm trying to work on this issue with him, don't worry- I am not content to leave it as is that he refuses to do something because he compares himself to his brother and thinks he isn't good enough.)

P.S. This wasn't my idea originally- I first saw this idea on a blog a couple of years back, just don't remember which blog.

Do you have any extra magnets lying around the house? Does this look like something your kids (or you) would enjoy? Do you think you'll make this?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Well...I'll figure this is good if you have small kids. Because honestly, your fridge looks like a cluttered eyesore (sorry!). Guessing the kids love it though and probably gives you something else to entertain them with.

  2. ^ since when does a fridge need to be a statement piece? It's a refridgerator and if its a good opportunity for them to play and learn then who cares what it looks like. I think this is a great idea! My son loves magnets, I'll have to try it

  3. Something else that's nice to do to your fridge- CLEAN IT!

  4. Wow, if it is not useless ads... it is mean spirited insults to Penny.
    Why do I even bother with the comments!

  5. Whatever happened to "If you don't have anything nice to say...."? My kids are all grown, or I would do that. Instead, I cover photos of my grandkids with clear contact paper and glue them onto the magnets. The kiddo's are happy to see their pics on the frig and use them to hold their artwork.

  6. This is an awesome idea! All kids I know love magnets and they are expensive to buy as toys.

    I actually don't think your fridge looks cluttered because the magnets are white. But if it bothered someone, they could always be taken off and put away like any other toy.

  7. I do not believe my honest response was mean. The question was: Do you have a bazzilion magnets lying around the house, or cluttering up your fridge? No, but in this post, the author is cluttering it, although for educational/recreational purposes. Get a life. This blog author is open and honest and I am sure my open and honest reaction did not cause her mental duress.

  8. I like the idea, it reminds me of "magnetic poetry" (sets of words which you can combine and make poems and sentences on your fridge). I bet you could make that yourself, too, just write words on little magnet squares - maybe when the kids are little older: it is educational and fun!
    too bad there are no magnet advertisements in my country :(

  9. What a fun idea! I'll bet my older kids would love to paint the shapes different colors and give them to the younger kids as a gift. We do lots of homemade gifts for special occasions. Thanks for this idea.

  10. If I was posting a blog entry for hundreds to see I would probably have wiped down my fridge a bit first. It looks a bit gross. But that's just me. Anyway I am sure your kids had fun.

  11. The paper isn't smooth like the one originally covering the magnets. It's going to get really gross within a few minutes. You can already see some food-y fingerprints on some. I have a few promotional magnets sitting at home. I'm trying to come up with a way to cover them. Contact paper won't hold, likely. Clear packaging tape from both sides, like laminating, would work, but it might compromise the magnetism.

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