Best Building Toys for Kids (The Future Engineers) in 2017

With so many technologically advanced toys available today, you might feel like opting for them is a better choice for your little one. However, experts can attest that oldies are still some of the best goodies when it comes to toys. This is why there’s still a high demand for the best building toys nowadays.

The Best Building Toys for Kids - Our Picks

If you’re looking for the finest building toys for your little one, here are twenty of our top picks.

1. VIAHART Brain Flakes

Ideal for: Ages 3 and Above

Setting the tone of this list is this set from VIAHART. Brain Flakes is unlike other building toys as instead of featuring stackable blocks, it’s composed of slotted plastic discs that can be interlocked with each other with ease. Each set comes with more than 500 discs and a jar for storage.

What's Great About It: Your little one’s creativity and imagination will easily take center stage when playing with this toy. While it comes with a booklet that contains instructions in how you can make a Brain Flakes Ball, there are so many other things that your child can create with this toy.

2. Fat Brain Toys Squigz Starter Set Building Kit​

Ideal for: Ages 3 to 15

Fat Brain Toys’ Squigz is another adorably unique toy on this list. They’re a lot like colorful balls with suction cups, so you can easily allow each piece to connect with each other. A creation will actually remind you of those cute representations of chemical bonds you used to dread in Chemistry class.

What's Great About It: This toy is undeniably cute and interesting. The design alone will really excite your child and get their creative juice flowing. What we loved the most about it, though, is the suction cups. They made the balls more manageable and stackable.

3. Melissa & Doug Construction Set in a Box

Ideal for: Ages 4 to 6

If you want to take construction play a bit more literally, Melissa & Doug’s Construction Set in a Box has got you covered. This toy is composed of nuts, bolts, blocks, and building boards giving your child a variety of different items that they can build things with.

What's Great About It: This set is definitely not your typical building toy. Your little one will need to know more about putting things together which will give them a wide array of challenges and foster their imagination and motor skills.

​4. K’Nex 35 Model Ultimate Building Set

Ideal for: Ages 7 to 15

As many parents will know, K’Nex is not like any other toy manufacturer out there as they produce educational building toys that are really challenging, exciting, and unique. The 35 Model Ultimate Building Set is a great testament to this as it features 480 parts and pieces that will let your child create different interactive creations.

What's Great About It: Ideal for older kids, this set also comes with a booklet that contains instructions in how to create 35 unique toys and figures like trucks, helicopters, dinosaurs, and rockets among many others. It’s also expandable so your child can create more things and even learn more in the process.

​5. Tinkertoy 30 Model Super Building Set

Ideal for: Ages 3 to 15

If you think that the K’Nex is a bit complicated for your little one, the Tinkertoy is an excellent alternative that you can get. This building toy will also let your child create different toys and figures using the rods, wheels, joints, flags, and spools among many others.

What's Great About It: This toy is already suitable for preschoolers so you can be sure that it’s simple yet challenging and entertaining even for older kids. There’s just so much that they can do with this set so you can easily foster your child’s creativity and even introduce them to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) concepts.

​6. Edushape Marbulous Marble Run

Ideal for: Ages 4 and Above

If you think your child will enjoy a building toy with a game objective, the Edushape Marbulous Marble Run is an excellent product to consider. Composed of 202 pieces and 50 marbles, your child will have a fun time recreating the maze for the marbles to go through.

What's Great About It: While this toy is designed to be played with a certain goal in mind, it doesn’t mean that kids can’t use their imagination to enjoy this set as well. It will be a bit challenging for them to create their own obstacle course, but the build will surely be entertaining and exciting for them. And once they have successfully created a nice course for the marbles to traverse, they’ll feel more confident than ever.

I love the versatility of this game. It can be a great toy for structured and guided construction play but it can also be a challenging set for free play, making it worth a spot in any growing child’s toy collection.

7. ETI Toys Construction Engineering Blocks

Ideal for: Ages 3 and Above

Another construction toy set that will allow your child to make their own toys and figures is this product from ETI Toys. It may be designed specially for toddlers with its large pieces but it still has a lot of challenges in store for your little one.

What's Great About It: Composed of 90 pieces, this product will let your child’s imagination soar. It will also stimulate their minds in the grandest ways possible as they’re not just supposed to stack the pieces on top of another.

​8. Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears!

Ideal for: Ages 3 and Above

If you think your preschooler will enjoy a moving building toy but afraid the K’Nex ones are too advanced for them, this Gears! set is something you need to look at. It’s a unique construction play set as it uses gears to compose different toys and figures. With 150 pieces of gears and other construction pieces, they can build different creations easily.

What's Great About It: This toy set is really designed to encourage your little one’s creativity because the instructions that come with each set only tells you how to create basic shapes instead of large, major works. Your child can spend hours with this toy and take great pride in what they can create with its pieces.

​9. LEGO Juniors Easy to Build Construction

Ideal for: Ages 4 to 7

This is another toy that takes construction play literally because the LEGO Junior’s Easy to Build Construction set is a LEGO set that features a construction site. So, your child won’t just build his own toys, but the toys can also be used to play pretend that they’re building something else as well.

What's Great About It: This is a highly versatile play set that you can get any LEGO-loving child. It will surely add more ways how they can play with their other toys, making it an excellent addition to their collection.

​10. Wonderbricks 1000 Building Bricks

Ideal for: Ages 3 and Above

It’s no secret that branded toy bricks can be expensive, so what’s a practical parent or adult gift-giver to do if all they want is to expand their little one’s toy brick collection? Get a Wonderbricks 1000 Building Bricks is always a solid option. This set will provide your child 1000 more toy bricks to play with, letting them create more things without costing you an arm and a leg.

What's Great About It: Aside from its affordable price, these bricks are compatible with LEGO, Mini Mega Bloks Tyco, and Kre-O blocks so if your child already has a few pieces on hand, they can still play with this set easily. The number of blocks this set offers is also great as it might just let your little one create a large piece de resistance.

​11. ZOOB BuilderZ 500 Piece Building Set

Ideal for: Ages 6 to 10

Another excellent alternative for building blocks is the ZOOB BuilderZ. This 500-piece 3D modeling play set is composed of pieces that resemble joints and balls that easily connects with each other.

What's Great About It: This set comes with an instruction guide for building specific figures but a creative child will surely find more ways to play with this toy. With parts that snap together, it can also create figures with articulated parts. This can allow your child to better express their creativity and explore more ways to learn and have fun.

12. Tinkertoy Wild Wheels Building Set

Ideal for: Ages 3 to 6

Building toys with different pieces can be too complicated for toddlers but it doesn’t mean that they can’t be simplified while retaining their core design. This is what the Tinkertoy did with its Wild Wheels Building Set as it offers the benefits the brand’s products are known for but is made suitable for young kids with simpler designs and construction.

What's Great About It: This set comes with 11 building ideas that will thrill, excite, and entertain toddlers. It’s also a great bonus that by letting them create their actual toys, they also get to refine different developmental skills in the process.

​13. Click n’ Play 300 Piece Wooden Domino Blocks Set

Ideal for: Ages 1 to 8

A classic toy like a domino set will definitely get a nice spot in our best building toys list. Why? Because they’ve already proven their worth. This Click n’ Play 300-piece set may not have the numbered dots actual domino sets have, but the pieces come in different colors providing a way to sort them in groups and organize them.

What's Great About It: Being a domino set, the pieces of this product can be used to create the domino effect. They can also be just stacked on top of one another or be used in a multitude of other ways. I particularly love that they’re color coded as they can also help teach kids different colors or give them a way to sort the pieces in groups. In any case, they’re great for a child’s imagination, as well as their motor, spatial, tactile skills.

​14. Awesome Choice Unlimited Creation Cubes

Ideal for: Ages 3 and Above

Here’s another take in building blocks for kids. Awesome Choice’s Unlimited Creation Cubes is a play set that makes use of interlocking cubes of uniform sizes to create different toys and figures. It’s basically a mix of your traditional stackable blocks and LEGO bricks.

What's Great About It: This set is ideal for young players who are still getting the hang of interlocking blocks. They can create different shapes and toys with this set, adding more fun and versatility to their play time.

​15. Magformers Standard Set

Ideal for: Ages 3 and Above

Perfect for kids who want to build seamless creations and don’t want to be limited by slots, the Magformers Standard Set will let them create different masterpieces without fussing on the linkages. This magnetic building toy set is composed of flat pieces that are available in different shapes (triangle, square, and pentagon).

What's Great About It: Magformers make use of magnets to connect pieces together so they can be easier to handle for young users. However, they’re not just about easier construction play because they also bring a lot more benefits than just that. You can also use these toys to introduce your child to scientific concepts, making it an even more attractive gift idea for little kids.

​16. Melissa & Doug 100 Piece Wood Blocks Set

Ideal for: Ages 3 to 8

What’s a “best building toys” list without a classic wood blocks set? This Melissa & Doug product is certainly one of the finest options you have for construction play as it comes with 100 different wooden shapes in various colors to entertain and educate your little one.

What's Great About It: With 100 blocks in 9 different shapes, your child can build different creations with this set. There’s no way to lock them together, though, so this set also requires a good amount of precision, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity.

​17. LEGO Duplo My First Cars and Trucks

Ideal for: Ages 18 months to 5 Years

If you want to get your child enjoy construction play early on, LEGO’s Duplo line is an excellent option that you can go for. This set will let them create their own toy car and truck complete with painted characters that are drivers or passengers of their vehicles.

What's Great About It: These simplified LEGO sets are great for encouraging a child’s motor, spatial, and problem-solving skills without overwhelming them with complicated parts and different pieces. As they’re also very easy to put together, they can boost your little one’s confidence every time they complete building a toy car or truck on their own.

​18. Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag

Ideal for: Ages 1 to 5

Like LEGO’s Duplo line, the Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag is a construction play set for young children. It’s composed of large bricks that are safe for young kids to use and play with.

What's Great About It: This particular set has 80 pieces, which is already a good lot that will encourage your child’s creativity and develop his motor, problem-solving, and spatial skills at a young age.

​19. Melissa & Doug Construction Site Peg Puzzle

Ideal for: Ages 2 to 4

This entry is another literal take on the construction play as it actually features illustrations from a construction site. This is actually a peg puzzle game from Melissa & Doug, which means that your child can also easily use the chunky pegged pieces as figures for pretend play.

What's Great About It: Pegged puzzle toys like this one are great for refining a child’s motor and spatial skills. They can also double as the perfect toys for pretend play, so they’re very handy playthings for a child to have.

​20. Playmags 100 Piece Clear Colors Magnetic Tiles Deluxe Building Set

Ideal for: Ages 3 and Above

Let your child’s imagination take flight with this Playmags set. Composed of 100 pieces of flat, magnetized, colored plastic tiles, it provides ease of connection and the freedom for your little one to create their own toys and masterpieces.

What's Great About It: Aside from being very easy to work with, making them perfect for children to play with, I love the attractive colors this set comes with..

Our Criteria for Picking these Models

There are so many different building toys today that you can buy ten sets that are completely different in design and construction. This makes choosing the best ones a challenge and thrill for us as well.

So, how did we come up with twenty best building toys? The first thing we did is to prioritize quality. As we only want to ensure the best and safest playtimes, we made sure to only pick toys that are thoroughly enjoyable, beneficial for your child’s growth, and safe.

The next thing we made sure to do is to offer variety. There are so many different building toys available and we don’t want to shortchange anyone with limited options. As you will notice, the products in this list have different designs and gameplay, so you can definitely get them all without worrying about redundancy.

Lastly, we paid attention to product feedback. Some toys may seem great in theory, but there are lots of ways how they can fail in real life. We made sure that all of the toys on our list are well-received and guarantee hours of fun, so you can be sure that your child will get the most out of their playtime with these products.

Why You Should Let Your Child Play with Building Toys

Building blocks are some of the most popular toys for kids. Most people think that this is because they’re very simple, and, for the most part, it’s true. These toys are very basic. There are not a lot of rules involved in playing with them, letting little kids to just do their thing during playtime. However, what a lot of people don’t know is the fact that these toys offer more than just the opportunity for your child to stack a few cubes together.

Building blocks and other building toys are actually brimming with so many benefits for a child’s development. This makes it very important for you to give a few of such playthings to your little one as they can really help their growth. But what exactly are these benefits, you might be wondering? Let us go into detail below.

Mental stimulation is the first thing that your child will enjoy through these toys. The colors alone will already have great effects on their brain. Also, with stackable blocks to work with, they will have to think up of ways how to play with them. If they do come up with stacking the pieces on top of another, their logical reasoning and creativity will already be tapped right away. Having to translate what they have in mind to reality with the help of the blocks is another challenge that they’ll have to think hard about and will really get their minds to work.

This is where their problem-solving skills can also be honed. If they want to create a certain shape that they’ve never made before, they’ll have to find ways to get around to it. This can also practice their spatial skills as they will certainly need to work out the shapes in their mind before they decide which pieces to use for their masterpiece.

Motor skills are also developed by building toys. Since your little one will be using his hands and, also possibly, other limbs, when creating a structure from their colorful imagination, their grip and muscles will be strengthened and refined. If they are smaller parts that they can grab on to, their fine motor skills will also be targeted. Their hand-eye coordination will also be put to test and even be honed every time they play with building toys.

Your child’s math skills can also benefit from construction play. As most of these toys are incorporated with numbers, they can easily learn how to count. Some toys also have different shapes and lengths so those can also teach them geometry and sizes.

Scientific concepts can also be introduced to young kids with the help of building toys. Gravity is one of the most prominent concepts that they can get to know about as it can help them understand why their pieces fall down.

Social skills are also developed by building toys. As they can be easily shared with other kids, it encourages playing together. This will help your little one to learn how to interact with others, allowing them to know how to share and work with other kids. This can also help in developing their language skills as they can practice communicating with other children their age in their own way.

Building toys are also great for your child’s confidence. As construction play will let them actually create something, they’ll feel more capable after having a solid example of what they can do. With some positive reinforcement, you can also further encourage them to enjoy the activity more and feel better about themselves.

These are just a few reasons why you should let your child play with building toys. With so benefits that can lead from their construction play, you should definitely let your child take advantage of what these toys have to offer.


If you’re looking for ways to add variety to your little one’s playtime, the best building toys can help. We hope our top 20 picks help you out in finding the right products, as we believe that construction play should be encouraged because of its many benefits.

    Sandra Cobain

    Mum of two. Child psychologist. Ardent admirer of art, crafts and cooking. She is the head of content for BestForTheKids. When she's not busy crafting posts & researching about compelling content ideas, she can be spotted playing outdoors with her two adorable children.

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