20 Best Building Toys for Kids In 2017

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best building toys for kids

One of the most developmentally important toys you can ever provide any kid, be it as a gift on his or her birthday or as a present on any special occasion, is a building toy. Some parents and toy manufacturers call these kinds of playthings as construction toys. However they are called, these kinds of toys are excellent in terms of developing and enhancing the psychomotor, emotional, cognitive, and social skills of children. It is for this reason that, if you really want to see your child to grow and develop to his or her full potential, then you simply have to get him or her a building toy.

Which building toy, you ask? That’s the problem because there are literally thousands out there claiming to be the best building toy ever. We are not toy manufacturers but we do love toys. And we understand your predicament as a parent so we have come up with a list of the 20 best building toys for kids.

Our 20 Best Building Toys for Children

1Brain Flakes by VIAHART 

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Age range: At least 3 years old

The Brain Flakes building toy is not your ordinary construction set. Instead of colorful bricks that kids will be stacking one on top of the other, they will be locking plastic discs to each other. The set comes with more than 500 colorful plastic discs each measuring around 1.3 inches in diameter. The toy comes with a clear plastic jar for storage.

What We Like about It – This is a very unique building toy as the rounded shape of the disks lends the finished model a more curved shape. It’s great for enhancing creativity, problem solving, and imagination, not to mention hand-eye coordination. It’s also ideal for exploration and experimentation. 

2Squigz Starter Set Building Kit by Fat Brain Toys

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Age range: 3 to 15 years old

The Squigz is a different kind of building toy characterized by unique building block pieces. Instead of the usual brick or disk or even tile form of building block, Squigz Starter Set Building Kit features soft, highly elastic, and high quality rubber materials made of silicone. Imagine a soft ball with arms that are tipped with suction. The starter set comes with 24 pieces of these building materials.

What We Like about It – It aids in the enhancement of children’s hand-eye coordination, creativity, and fine motor skills. It also helps foster experimentation and exploration of what these miniature pieces can do.

3Construction Set in a Box by Melissa & Doug

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Age range: 4 to 6 years old

Designed for preschoolers, the wooden Construction Set in a Box is a great way to stimulate creativity. It comes with 48 pieces of safe and high quality wooden blocks in different shapes, colors, and forms. There are bolts, building boards, and nuts to go along with the wooden storage box and the 6 building blocks. It is designed to be capable of building a race car, a crane, an airplane, and a motorcycle.

What We Like about It – Since it’s made of wood, there’s no issue of harmful plastics. Additionally, the toy set is excellent for reinforcing fine motor skills, problem solving skills, and imagination.

435 Model Ultimate Building Set by K’Nex

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Age range: 7 to 15 years old

With more than 480 construction and building pieces, K’Nex’s Ultimate Building Set can provide kids with the opportunity to build up to 35 construction models from vehicles to robots to infrastructure and other objects in the real world. It also comes with a treasure chest for easy and convenient storage especially if you are planning to expand your child’s collection of K’Nex playsets.

What We Like about It – It’s one of those playsets that you can keep expanding. The more sets your kids collect, the more varied are their creations. It’s ideal for optimum experimentation, creativity, and imagination.

530 Model Super Building Set by Tinkertoy

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Age range: 3 to 15 years old

With more than 200 pieces of assorted building and construction shapes and forms, Tinkertoy’s Super Building Set can be a great alternative to LEGO and other mainstream building toys. The variety of building pieces make it extra ideal for stimulating creativity and absolute imagination. It comes with rods, washers, spools, end caps, and flags among other things. It includes a portable box for storage.

What We Like about It – It’s great for stimulating experimentation with the different building materials. Also great for enhancing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

6Marbulous Marble Run by Edushape

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Age range: At least 4 years old

Building a tower of maze and obstacles can be a challenge for kids. However, with an easy to follow instruction, any kid can build their very own Marbulous Marble Run tower. The set comes with more than 200 building pieces and 50 marbles. The objective is to build a structure where the marbles can be dropped and allowed to roll through the maze.

What We Like about It – It helps foster the development of problem solving skills as kids will have to think of ways how to redesign the tower to make it more fun and interesting. It’s good for enhancing hand-eye coordination as well as spatial intelligence.

7Construction Engineering Blocks by ETI Toys

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Age range: At least 3 years old

Educational Toys, Inc.’s Construction Engineering Blocks is designed primarily for toddlers. The 85-piece building toy can be the perfect gift for young children as they try to create their own figurines, trucks, robots, and helicopters.

What We Like about It – The building blocks are large enough to be held by small hands. It’s great for stimulating creativity in younger children while encouraging mastery of fine motor skills and color recognition.

8Gears! Gears! Gears! by Learning Resources

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Age range: At least 3 years old

Almost every machine relies on gears to operate. With the Gears! Gears! Gears! building toy set, kids will now be able to make full use of the functionality of gears while at the same time build something creative. The set comes with gears in 6 different colors as well as six-way axles, square pillars, interlocking square base plates, and pillar extenders.

What We Like about It – It’s a unique building toy in that it utilizes one of the most common parts of today’s machinery. It’s great for enhancing kids’ imagination, experimentation, exploration, and creativity.

9LEGO Juniors Easy to Build Construction by LEGO

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Age range: 4 to 7 years old

The Construction building set by LEGO Juniors is something that every preschooler needs to have. The set comes with 160 colorful building bricks that are guaranteed to produce a construction truck, a wall section, and a crane complete with a wrecking ball. It also comes with other accessories to complete the scenario of a building construction project.

What We Like about It – It’s hard not to love LEGO products. With building blocks for all ages, it has become synonymous to continuous learning, creativity, exploration, and imagination. Great for enhancing hand-eye coordination, too.

10Wonderbricks 1000 Building Bricks by The Wonderland Company

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Age range: At least 3 years old

Cannot decide what building toy to give kids? The Wonderbricks 1000 Building Bricks is a worthy gift suggestion. With a thousand bricks in different colors, kids will surely have great fun building their very own dream creations. Be it vehicles, infrastructure, figurines, or any other model, kids will surely have tons of fun with these bricks.

What We Like about It – It’s compatible with LEGO blocks, Tyco blocks, Mini Mega Bloks, and KRE-O blocks. This means, it can be an excellent expansion set for these other building toys. Great for superb creativity, exploration, and imagination.

11500 Piece Building Set by ZOOB

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Age range: 6 to 10 years old

ZOOB’s Building Set comes with 500 pieces of colorful building rods which can allow kids to create their very own works of art. They can create a lizard model, a shark, or even a purse. The possibilities are endless. It includes 8 instruction guides and 4 building pads made of foam.

What We Like about It – The building pieces are quite large and with 500 different pieces to work with, the creations will be quite large. It’s helpful in stimulating creativity, experimentation, and imagination. Great for enhancing problem solving skills as well.

12Wild Wheels Building Set by Tinkertoy

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Age range: 3 to 6 years old

With the toddler and the preschooler in mind, the Wild Wheels Building Set provides simple building and construction fun and enjoyment. It comes with 76 highly durable plastic pieces that are also lightweight and easy to connect to one another.

What We Like about It – It’s an interesting building toy for young kids. While their creativity may still be limited, the toy nevertheless is successful in helping develop these kids’ imagination and use of their fine motor skills.

13300 Piece Wooden Domino Blocks Set by Click n’ Play

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Age range: 1 to 8 years old

Considered a game for all ages, dominoes are excellent gift suggestions to stimulate imagination. The Wooden Domino Blocks Set adheres to the traditional domino game with each block measuring 4.5 centimeters long, 0.7 centimeters thick, and 2.4 centimeters wide. The set comes with 300 of these colorful blocks.

What We Like about It – Dominoes are excellent for teaching kids about cause and effect relationships as well as help enhance their ability to predict. It’s also great for improving hand-eye coordination.

14Unlimited Creation Cubes by Awesome Choice

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Age range: At least 3 years old

With building blocks resembling colorful blocks, the Unlimited Creation Cubes allows just that – unlimited creation. Since there are no lengthy building bricks and every block is of uniform size, linking these cubes together can make for interesting structural creations.

What We Like about It – It’s a different take to the classic building block set. It is great for stimulating hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Among younger children, the toy can be great for encouraging independent play as well as for developing spatial intelligence.

15Magformers Standard Set by Magformers

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Age range: At least 3 years old

If you have kids who complain about not being able to fit building blocks into their respective slots, then you need to give them the Magformers Standard Set. These geometrically shaped tiles are duly magnetized for easier linkage. The set comes with 18 squares and 12 triangles with Neodymium magnet fully integrated into the tiles.

What We Like about It – It’s a very unique building toy in that it uses magnetism to connect different pieces. It is ideal for helping kids experiment with the placement of the different magnetic tiles to create something. It’s thus, important for fostering imagination and creativity.

16100 Piece Wood Blocks Set by Melissa & Doug

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Age range: 3 to 8 years old

One of the earliest forms of building toys are simple blocks of wood painted with different colors. Melissa & Doug’s Wood Blocks Set remains true to this traditional approach by giving kids access to 100 pieces of safe and high quality wood blocks in 9 shapes and 4 different colors.

What We Like about It – This is an excellent building toy to share with kids as there is no need for connecting one block to another. It’s as simple as stacking one on top of the other. This helps develop kids’ sense of balance, spatial intelligence, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination.

17Duplo My First Cars and Trucks by LEGO

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Age range: 18 months to 5 years old

If you have older babies who can already stand up or sit relatively well unsupported, you may want to give the Duplo My First Cars and Trucks. The large building blocks of Duplo can make for a safe building toy for smaller and younger children compared to LEGO. The set comes with only 36 pieces but enough to make a car, a fire truck, a dump truck, a crane, and a water refilling station.

What We Like about It – It’s one of the safest and most versatile building blocks for very young children. It helps with color recognition while developing kids’ fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

18First Builders Big Building Bag by Mega Bloks

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Age range: 1 to 5 years old

If Duplo’s large blocks are not large enough for your young kids, then you might want to give them Mega Blok’s First Builders Big Building Bag instead. This 80-piece set comes complete with several wheelbases should kids want to build their own vehicles. The set comes with a PVC-free colorful container bag.

What We Like about It – The large building blocks allow for safer playtime among very young children. It helps develop mastery of fine motor skills, allows reinforcement of color recognition, and helps enhance hand-eye coordination.

19Construction Site Peg Puzzle by Melissa & Doug

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Age range: 2 to 4 years old

While it is not really a building toy in the strictest sense of the word, the Construction Site Peg Puzzle can be a wonderful addition to any building toy as an important preparatory toy for handling smaller building bricks. The 6-piece puzzle set nevertheless feature colorful construction vehicles.

What We Like about It – Can help develop kids’ hand-eye coordination, spatial intelligence, and fine motor skills. This should help them prepare for more complex building toys.

20100 Piece Clear Colors Magnetic Tiles Deluxe Building Set by Playmags 

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Age range: At least 3 years old

Inspire your kids with the Clear Colors Magnetic Tiles Deluxe Building Set. With 100 pieces of assorted geometric shapes like triangles, squares, and rectangles, as well as other accessories, the possibilities for wonderful creations are limitless. Each of these colorful tiles are duly magnetized for ease of connection while providing ample support to the whole structure.

What We Like about It – The building toy is ideal for helping kids develop critical thinking and logical reasoning. It’s also good for stimulating spatial intelligence and the mastery of hand-eye coordination.

(Hey! You May Also Want To Read: Best Magnetic Toys For Kids)

How We Chose the Toys in Our List

Coming up with a list is quite easy. Identifying which building toys should be included in the list is an entirely different matter. There are a lot of things our team of dedicated researchers have to scrutinize. For example, we have to make sure that the toy company has a sterling record, a reputation of making high quality, safe, and developmentally appropriate toys. We placed emphasis on what these toys can do for your child. We want to include only toys that are guaranteed to help your child develop to his or her optimum potential. Additionally, we have to listen to what countless parents have to say about these toys. We had to look at some of their concerns and whether these were adequately addressed by the toy maker. Feedback about how their children used the gift suggestions or played with the toys were duly noted.

With these, we were able to shortlist 20 building toys that we believe every parent should consider giving to his or her children.

Kids and the Many Benefits of Building Toys

It is without a doubt that building toys are one of the most fundamentally-beneficial toys any kid can have. These kinds of toys can help promote a variety of developmental skills which children can use later on in their respective lives.

First and foremost, building toys help develop, refine, and enhance control of motor skills. Even younger children can benefit from holding the different building blocks. The mere act of holding the blocks requires mastery of muscle contraction of the fingers and hands. Moving the blocks and slotting them into their place requires spatial intelligence or the relationship between objects and space. They will also have to master hand-eye coordination especially in the correct positioning of the building block.

Building toys also encourage experimentation and testing which can also be interpreted as creativity, imagination, and divergent problem solving skills. Sure, building and construction toys come complete with very detailed instructions on how to build the proposed toy or model but this does not necessarily prevent kids from experimenting with the different shapes and forms of the building blocks. In many cases, it’s like solving a puzzle except that, instead of having a single solution, you have a multitude of possibilities. This provides the basis for testing which can become a very significant stepping stone for divergent problem solving skills and counterfactual reasoning.

For example, if a building toy is supposed to produce a large robot model, is it not possible that it can be converted into another form like a building, a tower, a box, or even a spaceship? The possibilities are endless and building toys are teaching kids how to think out of the box. This is the essence of counterfactual reasoning. It encourages kids to think outside the box, to think in the “what-if” way of looking at things. It is like, “What if I use the different building blocks to create a totally different model?”

This fosters creativity among children. The more building blocks they are able to play with, the greater the number of variations in their creations. And with each creation comes imagination. Children tend to build character in their creations. They are now able to create fantastic stories about their creations. This can ultimately lead to better emotional health as they are able to express their ideas in a very constructive way. Additionally, this can also help foster better social relationships especially when the building toy is shared with playmates and friends. Cooperative play is the foundation of enhanced social skills among children.

Building toys also help children understand some basic principles of the design process as well as engineering and architectural sciences. These kinds of toys are also helpful in introducing kids to the different materials used in the real world. It also teaches them about the impermanence of objects as well as the importance of social interaction and cooperation in the building process.

Truly, building toys are one of the best kinds of toys you can ever give to any child. With our list of the 20 best building toys, we hope you are more empowered now to choose the correct one for your kid.

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Selina Marie
Selina Marie is our head of content for MyKidNeedsThat.com, mum of two and a self proclaimed toy geek. When she isn't juggling the madness at home, on a school run or baking her world famous blueberry muffins, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest toys and fun for our readers!
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