The Magnetic Maze provides a fine motor exercise combined with an early exploration of magnetism.
A small 'pen', with a magnet in the tip, is used to attract the magnetic balls. As the pen moves the balls are pulled along and they can be transferred from the start to the end of each maze.
This pen can be carefully tucked into the top corner of the board to keep the entire activity self-contained.
The use of the pen can help to encourage the development of a pincer grip. The lines and curves of the various mazes can also be seen as indirect preparation for the movements involved in writing numerals and letters.
In my own classroom this Magnetic Maze is enjoyed primarily by our two 1/2 to three year olds. At this stage the Maze seems to engage their attention for all of the repetitions required to maneuver all of the magnetic balls along all four of the mazes.
Slightly younger children (18 months to 36 months) also enjoy working with it but they tend to engage in quicker attempts rather than comprehensive completion. They might just 'catch' the magnetic balls with the magnet or may try some early sliding back and forth to discover the correct amount of pressure and speed required to keep the balls attached to the pen.
For older children, of 3 years of age, this is an enjoyable remedial or relaxation activity. It is a low-pressure experience that a child can revisit when they are in need of some cognitive rest. It seems almost a little meditative - like raking sand in a zen garden!
The wooden board measures approximately 28cm x 28cm.