We live in a technologically advanced world where even little ones have access to tablets and other smart devices. If you are looking at toys to buy the children in your life, you may think you’d be best investing in one of the fancy techno-driven products.
According to experts though, seemingly old-fashioned, traditional toys like building bricks are still great for kids. There is evidence that they can help kids in a variety of ways, including their development of spatial awareness and reasoning, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, cognitive flexibility, engineering skills, social competence, language skills, divergent and creative thinking.
Clearly, they are more than just a bit of fun.
10 Best Building Toys for Children
As the building blocks help children to create diverse and interesting structures, playing with them helps to build them into very creative and capable adults. So they may not hold all the keys to your children being successful in later life, but they will help them along the way.
Are you on the hunt for the best building toys for your young ones or a friend or relative’s children you can’t wait to spoil? You’ve come to the right place as in this post the team here at Utterly Home have looked at what we feel are 10 of the best.
For in our guide we have the rather ingenious Crazy Forts, 69-piece kit. If you have never come across Crazy Forts before, where have you been hiding?
Like all the best toys, the designers and makers of Crazy Forts started with a relatively simple concept – all kits include rods and toggles that can fit together in almost infinite ways to create impressive and interesting structures.
There is no hard science, no hard-to-decipher instructions. They even give you ideas about what you can do with them in the instruction manual and various places online.
The award-winning building toy is very addictive and there is no limit to what you can do with them. 69 pieces is just a great starter kit. What if your kids already outgrow it? Don’t worry, just order another pack or three and watch them create a whole mini-universe of Crazy Fort-style abodes and structures.
Next we have the hugely successful K’NEX and the number 70 Model Building Kit. This is a whopping 705-piece kit and as displayed on the box can be used to build a beautiful truck.
Again, K’NEX, for the uninitiated, takes a rather simple premise like LEGO and Crazy Forts and just keeps expanding and evolving it. Each kit comes with multi-colored pieces that all attached to one another in different ways.
One of the aspects we find particularly cool about K’NEX, in a similar way to LEGO kits, is the fact your kids can create moving things. If they want to make that truck, for instance, they can and guess what? It’s not an ornament – it will move.
As with all great building toys, K’NEX is versatile and all packs and kits can be used together, thanks to the universal shapes and sizes of their pieces.
So far, we’ve had rods and toggles and plastic components of all shapes and sizes. How about colorful transparent plastic tiles. That’s what you essentially get with Picasso Tiles.
There are so many things to love about the Picasso Tiles set. We particularly like the fact that they all connect by incredibly strong magnets. Like other building blocks and toy sets, there is virtually no limit to what your kids can achieve with these Picasso Tiles.
Well, other than the limitations of their imagination.
Like the Picasso blocks, the AILUKI building blocks kit is made up of 110 pieces of magnetic blocks. They are made from high-end ABS plastic and are extremely hardwearing.
They connect to one another in interesting patterns and designs via the high-powered magnets. There are a variety of both 2D, and 3D shapes your kids can create with these blocks, whether it’s a pony, dragon or an airplane.
As you’d hope with toys that might inevitably end up in kid’s mouths, these are smooth-edged and completely non-toxic. This is a great cost-effective variation on the building block kit.
Infinitoy are the company behind Zoom and this 250-piece kit that we are featuring in our guide next. This large container of plastic pieces can be used to create, among many other things a ZOOBcycle or the ZOOBasuraus.
The style of this building set is like K’NEX with the different shapes of components. Like all good building sets, also, it can be combined with other ZOOB kits to make even more impressive structures and items.
Though a 250-piece kit is a very good start, especially if your kids are just getting into ZOOB.
Mega Bloks, if you have never come across them before, are essentially a larger, chunkier, toddler-friendlier version of Lego. The same principles are at work – blocks that can be stacked together.
With this kit, you get 80 bright and colorful blocks, with plenty of conventional pieces alongside some special blocks too. As anyone with kids or who looks after kids will know, even Mega Bloks can be sore when you tread on them unexpectedly.
That’s why we love this low-price pack that comes with its own storage bag that means you can tidy them away when it’s time for your kid’s nap or they have finished playing for any other reason.
Okay, so we are moving towards a more grown-up and older kid building toys, in the form of this exquisitely designed Empire State Building model from the Lego Architecture range.
It is made up of 1767 pieces and the finished result is a fully 360-degree model of the Empire State Building that can be displayed anywhere. With surrounding roads, some iconic yellow taxi cabs, the silver-colored antenna right at the top of the tower and 4 finely detailed facades.
This is suitable for ages 12 and up, as there are a lot of small pieces. We had to have at least one Lego set in our guide because it’s Lego.
Back again to the younger end of the market, the Tinkertoy 200-piece building kit has been designed with kids 3 years old and up. This is another that is very similar to some we have featured. Its components resemble those used in K’NEX kits.
The 200 pieces can make in excess of 30 different things. That’s just to start with, as there is the option to expand the kit and make it more prominent.
Like any good building block kits, the pieces come stored in their own box. So, when your kids or those you are looking after are finished work, the components and pieces can be simply tidied away.
Another more grown-up kit, makes full reference to STEM, which is the study of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The idea is to help your children understand how complicated buildings and structures are designed and erected.
There is just so much to learn, from the levers that can be used to adjust the speed of the creations to many other interesting and cool features.
The last product on our list is something that will be perfect for any Lego fan who loves the Ninjago range of kits.
This one gives your kids an opportunity to build the mighty Golden Dragon, complete with a mouth that opens, hidden stud-shooting component and wings, tails and legs that can be posed.
This helps your little one to set everything up for a battle royal between the Ninjago characters like Overlord and Ninja Lloyd and the evil beast. We really like this because it’s a building toy, but it’s a building with an action-packed theme.
Tips for Choosing the Best Building Block and Construction Toys
Hopefully, we have helped to make the task of choosing between the many building and construction toys a little easier. However, if you are still struggling to decide which is best out there, even from the 10 we’ve presented to you, we don’t blame you.
Especially if you are trying to make the right choice of toy that will have the most positive impact and help them develop their skills further. The best way we would suggest that you handle this task is by focusing on the qualities and actual features of the toys.
To help you with that we’ve put together the main features and aspects of the toys that you should be focusing on.
The quality of the design of a toy, in any category, is always important. It’s not worth investing in a toy that promises a, b and c but because of its poor design only deliver one or two of those things.
Therefore, we would also warn against inadvertently buying inferior and cheaper products, thinking you are getting a bargain. The quality of the toy will impact just how much fun it is to play with and build with.
Potential to be Educational
It really depends on the age of the children you are buying for, but they will fall into one of the following categories, that they are either developing brand-new and fresh skills, evolving and improving their existing skills or depending and widening their understanding of a specific subject.
Therefore, you should always be looking at toys from the point of view that they should have the potential to be educational. You want your kids to enjoy themselves, that’s true and no-one’s disputing that/ However, you also want to know that their time is being spent well.
It’s not all about work and development, as any toy you choose for your kids, needs to be entertaining. If it doesn’t appeal to them, for whatever reason, they are less likely to play with it and gain any of the developmental benefits.
So, while the developmental factors are important, if you don’t buy an entertaining building toy that your kids will love, they are not going to connect with it as well, if at all.
Instructions Are Self-Explanatory or Very Clear
Another thing you need to look at when choosing toys for kids, especially building toys is that understanding how to use them is very self-explanatory or that there are clear instructions supplied.
The last thing you want is to overwhelm or confuse your child. If they don’t understand how to make use of the toy or how the different pieces fit together, they are unlikely to engage with it.
With building blocks and construction toys, it’s vital that there is a degree of scalability to them. You want to be sure that as they improve their skills with the toy, that there are different sets and more expansive products that can be bought to grow with your child.
If they can’t do much beyond one single pack of the toys because there is not much variety out there, they will just get bored quickly. So, even if you don’t intend on investing in lots, to begin with, look out for additional sets you may want to buy in the future.
Building blocks and construction toys are not only a lot of fun but as we’ve hopefully shown, a very important tool for your children’s development. Whatever products you decide to invest in form the above, we know your kids are in for a treat.
One thing we would warn though is that you are careful that you don’t catch the building bug, because many of the above toys and sets are just as addictive to adults as they are to children.
We’re only joking of course, as anything that encourages interaction between you and your children is surely a marvelous thing!