We got Avila these magnetic tiles for Christmas this past year and she LOVES them! The only problem is that they’re so fun to play with, you want more and more tiles so you can build more and more things. We plan to add sets as we go along and I have a feeling we’ll have these for many years.
We originally bought the “MagnaTiles” brand, after suffering some serious sticker shock at the price, but I happened to have a BOGO (Buy One, Get One) coupon for half off the second set, which reduced the price-panic a bit. Then when we found we wanted MORE of these great tiles, I found this set of Picasso Tiles on Amazon. The reviews made it clear that they were compatible with the MagnaTiles and while these are still certainly not inexpensive, they do cost a good bit less and by all accounts seems just as good. (A very few reviewers differed, but they seemed pretty substantially out-numbered.)
There’s also a 100 piece set available if you just want to jump on in with both feet. (They come out to about the same price-per-piece, at least at the current pricing, so the decision is mostly just how many you want and what your budget of the moment is!)
She also got a Magformers Rainbow 30 Piece Set which is different and they’re a lot of fun, too. Being only an “outline” of the square or triangle shape (rather than solid) they’re lighter and work well to make 3-D shapes like balls and fancy towers. They come with an instruction book showing how to lay out the complex designs flat on the table and then lift them up (in stages) so that the pieces can snap together and form the shape. Avila and Poppy have fun with these, too, and they’re good for counting out and following the directions.
If you do buy any of them, let me know in the comments how your little one liked them!