Toddler-Safe Fridge Magnets

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About: Electrical Engineer by trade, tinkerer by heart.

Intro: Toddler-Safe Fridge Magnets

My toddler loves playing with the magnets on the fridge, but most of them are either too fiddly for his little fingers or too delicate for his indelicate play.

This project is a bit of a deviation from my usual long-and-involved tech-heavy Instructables, but it ended up being one of those simple ideas that just worked out really well. When I saw the "Three Ingredient Competition" it gave me the final impetus to share the project.

The TL;DR is: stick some magnets in some bath toys (tada!), but I will present a few thoughts I had on how to do it and how to ensure that they are toddler-safe at the end.

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

There are three ingredients

Bath Toys

Find some nice bath toys that you think will appeal to your little person. Specifically look for ones that squeak, because they will have a handy hole in the bottom with a little whistle.

String Rare-Earth Magnets

The magnets need to be strong or they won't hold the toy on the fridge. I chose some 20x10x2mm NdFeB magnets, which I got from Aliexpress/DealExtreme, but you can probably get from Amazon or similar if you are feeling more rushed/less adventurous (expect shipping times of 6 weeks minimum from the Chinese "free shipping" sites).

SAFETY NOTE

I think it is important to make sure that the magnet is bigger than the hole, this way it is impossible for it to come out, even if the glue fails. You really don't want you toddler to swallow a powerful magnet, chances are he won't even develop any super-powers.

Glue

I spent a whole long while looking for a glue that was food-safe for my first ones and chose "Bostik Silicone Sealant" (I have attached the datasheet where you can see that it claims to be safe).

However, the glue actually didn't stick very well inside the toys, I would recommend using hot-glue from a glue-gun. I think it is pretty safe (but make up your own mind, its your kiddo), besides, its kinda locked away inside the toy.

Step 2: Remove Squeakers

This is self explanatory, but I took the pics, so it's a step now ;-)

Step 3: Insert Magnets

We purposely chose magnets that were bigger than the holes, so they can be tricky to get in there. I used a heat-gun (a hair-dryer would work too) to warm up the toys which made them a bit more pliable.

Step 4: Glue!

Try to shake the magnets to the base of the toy, then squirt a whole lot of hot-glue through the hole all at once (you can't go too slowly or it will set before you are finished) and then stick the toy down on something metal so that the magnets are pulled into place while the glue sets. I found that the glue doesn't really stick to the plastic, but if there is enough it forms a plug that locks into the internal shapes and prevents the magnet moving around.

That's it. Now you can put them on the fridge and your toddler can ignore all your hard work and go and play with something else like mine did.

Three Ingredient Challenge

Runner Up in the
Three Ingredient Challenge

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    8 Discussions

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    MystiicThePanda

    2 years ago

    I have a minifridge in my bedroom, and my little brother is constantly coming in and pulling off the small magnets and I am afraid that he will choke. I made these and now he won't leave my room... they work great though!!

    2 replies
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    ossumMystiicThePanda

    Reply 2 years ago

    That's awesome :-D if you can post a picture I'd love to see it.

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    MystiicThePandaossum

    Reply 2 years ago

    I don't have a phone at the moment, but when I do I will be sure to post some!! :)

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    arleyramos

    2 years ago

    Gonna do some research on that to make for my boy. I still not confrtable with the magnets. Did you have a photo what look above? Where the hole are? You put the little noise stuff back?

    I am positive that your last words are true =)

    2 replies
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    ossumarleyramos

    Reply 2 years ago

    I added some pictures to step 4 to make it clearer, the magnets are way bigger than the hole, I think the only way I would be able to get them out is by cutting the toy open.

    I didn't put the whistle back, I actually think those are more of a choking hazard than anything else!

    Of course you must choose what you are comfortable with, but I think these are totally safe :-)

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    arleyramosossum

    Reply 2 years ago

    Many thanks for the new pictures. That´s shows a lot! I will try it and post some photos in the future.

    I share the same feelings about the whistle. Dangerous!