Kids love to build! Whether it’s a tower to knock down or an elaborate castle, building sets allow kids to use their imagination and creativity. They’re also a toy that can grow with your child since they can be used in so many different ways. Gone are the days of plain old blocks or the super common LEGO sets. There are so many different types of building sets that will inspire your child to play in different ways. Here’s my list of the best building toys for kids that allow your child to build to their heart’s content.
Best Building Toys for Kids
(Most traditional — $)
Why it’s great: Melissa & Doug manufactures all kinds of toys specifically geared to encourage imagination and creativity. These blocks are made of solid wood and offer a great, eco-friendly building experience. The brightly colored blocks come in different shapes and sizes, giving your child a wide variety of building options. These blocks will keep little ones engaged for hours. They’re lightweight and have rounded edges, preventing your child from getting hurt while playing.
Keep in mind: These blocks are pretty small, so they’re best for ages 3-8 years old.
Good for: Parents who want their children to have traditional building blocks.
(Most colorful — $$$)
Why it’s great: This 100 piece tile set is full of brightly colored pieces. The tiles are all magnetic, allowing your child to easily connect and construct something amazing. Because they’re tiles, rather than blocks, your child can build in 3D! Picasso Tiles are highly rated and have multiple sets available, making it easy to add on to your collection if your little one loves them. STEM approved, they also provide your child with the opportunity to improve their engineering and mathematical skills.
Keep in mind: This set comes with 100 pieces, which may not be enough if your child really loves to build.
Good for: Kids who love bright colors and need a little more challenging building set.
(Most educational — $)
Why it’s great: This set comes with a booklet with 42 designs that your child can construct. It comes with long connectors and flat connectors, as well as wheels and balls. It’s perfect for kids who don’t like just stacking blocks and want to be able to create all different types of objects, such as cars, animals, houses, and more. The connectors all attach fairly easily by pushing or snapping them together. It also comes with a clear storage tub to make cleanup easy.
Keep in mind: Although this is recommended for ages 3 and up, this may be too difficult for younger children.
Good for: Scientifically minded children that are ready to build intricate designs.
4. Brain Flakes 500 Piece Interlocking Plastic Disc Set – A Creative and Educational Alternative to Building Blocks
(Most creative — $)
Why it’s great: These Brain Flakes are little plastic discs that have slits for connecting. This set comes with 500 pieces, a clear storage jar, and an instructional guide that shows your child how to make a ball. There are also a bunch of other designs available online that your child can build. These discs are a great alternative to blocks, as they’ll force your child to improve their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. At an affordable price, you can easily purchase a couple of sets, allowing your child to build bigger designs.
Keep in mind: This set is safe for children 3 and up but will be easier for ages 5 and up to actually use.
Good for: Parents who want a large building set at an affordable price.
(Most adorable — $$)
Why it’s great: Kid K’nex allows children to build all different kinds of creatures. They come with fun pieces like eyeballs, tails, and noses, so your little one can build cute buddies. This set comes with 100 pieces in varying shapes, sizes, and colors. It also comes with a booklet with 50 building ideas, from creatures to different structures. It also has basic designs for younger kids and more advanced designs for older kids. Of course, your child can also come up with their own unique designs, too. It also comes with a bucket for storage, making cleanup a breeze.
Keep in mind: These are geared towards preschool-aged kids and are not compatible with the regular K’nex for older kids.
Good for: Younger kids that want to build unique and adorable creatures and structures.
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(Most unique — $$)
Why it’s great: This is by far the most unique building set on the list. It consists of 856 straws and connectors and 16 wheels. The straws bend and flex, allowing your child to create more elaborate designs like a playhouse or giant heart. The straws push into the connectors and offer a snug fit when properly attached. Your child will love using their imagination and coming up with all kinds of different designs. This set comes with a tub for storage and the lid even has a handle for portability.
Keep in mind: This doesn’t come with any guidance, so the building will all be left up to your child’s imagination.
Good for: Kids who want to be able to build larger structures and fully utilize their creativity.
(Most unique — $$)
Why it’s great: This set is one of my favorites for young kids. It’s recommended for kids 18 months to 6 years old, so it’s a great first set. The blocks are all foam, so they’re super soft and won’t hurt your child if they knock them over. They’re also magnetic, making it easier for younger kids to learn how to put them together. The best part is that these are waterproof, so your little one can play with them in the bath! They’re also dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. There are multiple sets available, so you can choose how many pieces you’d like to collect.
Keep in mind: These are a bit pricey in comparison to the other choices on the list, but they’re so versatile that they’re worth it.
Good for: Beginning builders and kids who want to build in the bath!
FAQs about Building Toys for Kids
1. What are the benefits of building toys for kids?
Building sets encourage your child to use their imagination. They spark creativity, as well as promote motor skills and spatial awareness. As your child gets older, building sets allow them to use engineering and logic, building their problem-solving skills.
2. What age can my child start playing with blocks?
Babies as young as 6 months old can pick up blocks and practice holding and examining them. Around a year old, your child should be able to start stacking blocks one on top of the other. The great thing about building sets is that they grow with your child, allowing older kids to explore and construct more detailed objects.
3. What types of building sets are best for kids?
This will vary based on the age of your child and their interests. Younger kids may need larger pieces that are easy to stack or put together. Magnetic blocks or tiles are great because toddlers can easily manipulate and build with them. For older kids, more advanced sets with smaller pieces will help them to get creative. If your child loves building huge buildings, you’ll want extra-large pieces or something like the straw builders. Think about what types of things inspire your child, and you should be able to find a set that will suit their needs.
4. Are LEGOs the best building option for kids?
LEGOs are great. They come in many different sets with different themes, so it’s easy to find something your child will love. However, most come with directions on how to build certain things. While this is great, it doesn’t promote the open-ended type of play that’s so vital to building kids’ creativity and imagination. Kids love to engineer and build, and finding a building set that leaves them free to construct their own ideas can help them to gain self-confidence.
5. What are some tips about finding a good building set for kids?
Look for something with a lot of pieces or one that is compatible with other sets. 50 pieces may seem like a lot, but when your child really gets into it, this may not be even close to enough to construct the ideas they have in their head. You may want to buy a small set and see if your child likes using it before you go all out. However, if they like it, it’s best to get them more of the same type than to have a bunch of smaller sets of different styles.
Building blocks or sets are toys that will never go out of style. Children love them, and so do parents since they help kids develop all kinds of skills. They’re also a great investment because they can be used by toddlers and all the way up to older elementary-aged kids.
If you’re looking for a toy that will get your child’s creative juices flowing and keep them occupied for hours on end, a good building set is just what you need.