Types of Construction and Building Kits
There are so many different types of building kits for children. Here, you will find an outline of what you can expect from each type of kit, so you can see what would best interest your child.
Magnetic building toys are great for slightly older children, and are not recommended for toddlers due to the risk of magnets being swallowed. There are loads of different magnetic toys – some are different metal shapes which stick together with magnetic balls, Other sets are purely made of the balls which can be stuck together into different shapes.
Building sets are a great way to occupy children of any age. You can find sets to build just about anything, so there’s sure to be something to keep your child interested. There are sets to build animals, robots, buildings, and just about anything you can think of.
K’NEX toys are great for older children who love to build. They consist of sticks and connectors which can be put together in every way you can imagine, to create a whole range of structures.
Building blocks toys are a good introduction to building toys, and are perfect for older babies and toddlers. They tend to be brightly colored and might feature numbers or letters, to help your child learn early counting and language skills. Building blocks come in all different shapes and sizes, so you can get smaller blocks as your child’s fine motor skills develop.
Wooden building toys are perfect for children of all ages. Classic toys remain popular today – parents will love playing with wooden toys from their childhood! Toys in this category might include blocks of different shapes and sizes, wooden houses or traditional sets like Tinkertoy.
Metal construction toys are ideal for older children who love to make things. There are kits to build all sorts of objects, from cars and helicopters to ferris wheels and bridges. Meccano is a great choice if you are looking for a metal building set for your child.
Plastic blocks toys are ideal for children of any age from toddlers right up to teenagers. For younger children, choose something like Mega Blocks or Duplo, with large chunky pieces which are easy to stack together. There is a huge range of LEGO sets available these days, so ou are sure to be able to find something to suit your child’s age and interests.
Educational building toys are ideal for children of any age – there are toys tailored to kids of different ages and stages of development. Some kits will teach your kids about basic physics, for example. Parents and children can work together to build to toy, to help teach the kids about what is happening.
Building sets for girls are great for encouraging young girls to learn basic STEM skills. Whilst any building kit can be used by girls or boys, some girls might be more interested in toys specifically targeted at girls. They might enjoy using building blocks to make princess castles or doll houses for example.
Building games for kids can be great fun for the family to play together. There are classic options such as Jenga, or choose something different such as a tangram game like real-life Tetris!
Build a toy car kits are ideal for older kids and teenagers. There are loads of different models available, so kids can build their favorite car. Building a toy car is a great way for dads (or moms) to spend some quality time with their kids.
Age Guide: How to Choose the Right Building Toys for your Child
The type of building toy you should choose for your child will largely depend on their age and skills. Here, we have outlined what you should be looking for in a building toy, depending on the age of your child.
Younger children will benefit from a toy with chunkier pieces. Ensure there are no small parts which could pose a choking hazard. Toddlers love bright, bold colors and interesting shapes. Don’t choose something which is too advanced, as this will cause young children to get frustrated. Instead, go for something which they will be able to build anything they choose rather than having to follow complex instructions.
3 to 6 Year Old Kids
Children aged 5 years old can follow simple instructions, with help from parents. You can choose something with more parts now your child is older too. Kids this age will probably enjoy building games, too.
7 to 9 Year Old Kids
Children around 8 years old can enjoy just about any kind of building toy safely. Magnetic toys and K’NEX and Meccano type toys are ideal for kids this age. LEGO is also good for children this age, and there are many kits suitable for this age group.
12 Years Old and Above
Teenagers will enjoy a more advanced building kit, where they can make something to display proudly in their bedroom. LEGO offer a range of kits with hundreds, or even thousands of pieces. This is a great way to keep teens entertained for hours, as well as helping them follow complex instructions.
Top Building Block Brands
The first brand that comes to mind for most of us when thinking about building bricks is LEGO. This classic toy remains popular today, and is a great choice for kids of any age thanks to the huge range of products they make. Other great, classic bands include K’NEX, Magformers, Meccano and Playmobil. There are plenty of building toys now featuring kids’ favorite cartoon characters. For example, you can find characters such as Mario, Ninja Turtles and even the Peanuts Movie.
The Reviews: Top Building Toys for Kids
Here, you will find reviews of what we feel are some of the best building toys on the market. They have been broken down into 3 age categories, so you can quickly and easily find something to suit your child.
Best for 5 Years and Under
Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears!
This fun, educational building toy is ideal for introducing young children to STEM skills. The bright, bold colors and chunky pieces are ideal for toddlers. The 150-piece set will provide your child with years of building fun, growing with them into the preschool years.
The gear building toy is great for developing young children’s fine motor skills, as well as helping them understand cause and effect. The set is compatible with any other Gears! Gears! Gears! set, making it perfect for starting a collection. The gears come in a handy storage container, to make tidying up quick and easy. Also in the box are bases, connectors and crank handles.
Tinkertoy 200 Piece Building Set
This classic building toy is great for preschoolers. It features 200 pieces to keep little ones entertained for hours. There are instructions to build 30 different models, or your child can use their imagination to create anything they can think of! This means the toy is great for growing kids – younger children can build the pieces together in any way they wish whilst older kids can learn to follow the instructions.
The building set is great for developing motor skills, hand-eye co-ordination and analytical skills. There are a range of different pieces which can be used in all sorts of ways, such as spools, rods, flags and washers. The pieces are easy to put together and are flexible to bend into the structure being made. However, they will stay together well after building, enabling little engineers to play with their creations afterwards.
PicassoTiles Bristle Bricks
These building blocks are great for toddlers – they are easy to stick together at any angle. There is a range of shapes and sizes, meaning the blocks can be used to make just about anything your child can think of.
There are 120 pieces for endless possibilities. The set also includes some wheels, so children can make vehicles, too. The set is compatible with all other PicassoTiles Bristle Brick products, so you can easily add to the collection to make even more different models. Other sets available include farm scenes, so you can find something your child is interested in.
Mega Bloks Build ‘n Learn Table
This building table is great for toddlers who love to make structures with their blocks. The large plastic bricks can be easily built on to the table, and the base of the table can be lifted up allowing the building blocks to be stored inside it. The table can be easily folded and it has a carry handle, allowing it to be easily taken to another room, or even a different house for your kids to play anywhere.
The building brick table comes in a choice of two colors, either blue or pink, so there’s something to suit everyone. There is a track running around the surface of the table, perfect for when your little one builds a car or a train. The blocks are ideal for children as young as 1 year old, and will continue to provide entertainment for several years.
SGILE Wooden Blocks
These wooden building blocks are great for toddlers. The set includes 100 pieces of all different shapes and sizes so your child can build just about anything. Some of the blocks have numbers or letters printed on them to help with early number and letter recognition skills.
The building bricks are made from 100% natural wood and have been painted in bold colors, sure to capture young children’s attention. The set comes in a handy plastic container, which can be reused to store to blocks when playtime is over. The blocks are safe for young children to use as they have slightly rounded edges and corners, so they are less likely to cause injuries.
Melissa & Doug Wood Block Set
This traditional wooden block set comes in either 100 pieces or 200 pieces. They come in 4 different colors, and 9 shapes to allow your child to create a range of different towers and models.
Wooden blocks are great for developing various skills in young children such as counting and sorting, and color and shape recognition. The paint on the block is chip-resistant, so they will last for years. The blocks come in a box with a handy carry handle, so storing them neatly is easy. The blocks are quite small, so they are great for developing fine motor skills.
Melissa & Doug Wooden Town Play Set
This wooden building set is great for encouraging toddlers to use their imagination. It is perfect for using with a road or railway set, so kids can build their own imaginary town.
The wooden block set includes a range of different pieces, including different types of buildings, road signs and trees. All the pieces can be stored in a wooden tray with separate compartments for the different types of piece, to ensure they stay in great condition.
This building toy is perfect for using along with a road mat, for kids to design their own unique town. There are 32 pieces in the box, meaning there are plenty of possibilities. Kids will have years of enjoyment from this set and will love creating new games with it as they grow older.
LEGO Duplo My First Cars and Trucks
This set is the perfect introduction to LEGO for toddlers. The models are easy for younger children to build, and are all color coded so kids can easily find which parts belong to each vehicle. There are 3 vehicles which can be built with the set – a car, a fire engine and a dump truck. The set is compatible with any Duplo bricks, so can be used to build anything your child chooses as they get older. There are also accessories to go with the trucks, including a crane and a water refill pump.
LEGO Duplo products are known to be durable, and are the perfect size for young children to build with. There is a building card included to give kids ideas for other vehicles which can be made with the kit. The toy is great for encouraging imaginative play, as well as developing motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination.
LEGO Duplo Starter Pack
This 65-piece building kit is ideal for beginning a LEGO Duplo collection for your child. It comes in a choice of colors, and is fully compatible with all other Duplo toys. The kit includes all different pieces, allow children to create anything they can think of! There are a few figures of people and animals included in the box, and some of the bricks are numbers to help toddlers learn to count.
The LEGO brick-shaped storage container can be reused to store all the pieces together when your little builder is finished. The kit can be used to build a house which measures of 5 inches high, making it the perfect size for children aged around 2-5 years old. The pieces are a range of beautiful colors, so toddlers can also use the set to learn the names of colors, or to sort pieces for example.
Best for 5 to 12 Year Olds
This building game is perfect for children aged 6 years old and above. Once built, the tower measures over 3′ tall. The blocks are around 6 times larger than those of standard Jenga, meaning it’s much more fun, too! Each block measures just under 6 inches long and 2 inches wide, making it the perfect size for the whole family to enjoy.
The building game makes the perfect addition to family game night! It will keep kids entertained time and time again, and is perfect for using at parties too. For older children and teens, there’s an even larger version available, which can be stacked to 4′, or 5′ with an expansion pack.
K’NEX 70 Model Building Set
This classic K’NEX set contains over 700 pieces and can be used to make 70 different models. There are instructions included to make these models, to give your child some ideas to get started. Or, the kit can be used to create anything your child can dream up! The toy is great for developing various skills, such fine motor skills, hand-eye co-ordination and spatial awareness, as well as strengthening imagination.
K’NEX is a great building toy, as it can be used to create models which move. Kids’ dreams of making cars and fairground rides can be made a reality with a set such as this. The kit is compatible with all other standard K’NEX products, so you can start a huge collection, or add to an existing one easily.
K’NEX Light-Up Roller Coaster
This K’NEX set contains around 450 pieces. There is a motor included too, to bring the coaster to life. The structure glows in the dark, and the coaster car also lights up, making it great to play with in the dark!
The large number of parts make this building toy great for children aged 9 years old and above. However, it can be a great project to challenge younger children, and is the ideal way for parents to spend quality time with the children.
Once built, the roller coaster model stands at around 2’8″ tall. It needs a decent space on the floor too, as it is around 3′ long. Overall, this is a great construction set for kids who love to build exciting models. It requires only 2 AA batteries too, making it parent-friendly as well as great fun for the kids!
Magnetic Building Blocks
This magnetic building toy is ideal for children aged 5 years old and above. There are over 70 parts in the set, meaning it can be used to build anything your child can imagine! There are wheels to makes cars or other vehicles and there are components to make a Ferris Wheel.
The magnet building set includes all different shapes, making a range of structures possible. There are also alphabet letter cards to decorate the structures, and help with language skills. The pieces have two different colors on each shape, making it great for creating colorful structures. The set has been designed to be compatible with most other magnetic building kits, making it perfect for starting or growing a collection.
MingAo Magnetic Block Set
This huge magnetic building kit contains just under 400 pieces. It can be used to build just about anything your child can dream up, as it includes a huge range of shapes. There are pieces with windows and doors, as well as sticks and rods. There are even parts to make cars or other vehicles.
Parents will love the fact that the magnetic building set comes in its own handy carry case. All the pieces can be neatly stored when playtime is over , and there won’t be any mess left around the house. The toy is great for encouraging your child’s imagination, as well as improving skills such as hand-eye co-ordination and spatial awareness.
VIAHART Brain Flakes
This building toy is a great alternative to traditional wooden or plastic blocks. The set includes around 500 pieces in a range of different colors. The pieces can be joined together in a variety of ways, to create almost any kind of model your child can think of. There are instructions included to show kids how to build a ball, but the possibilities are almost endless with this set.
There are so many pieces that kids can build several models at once, without running out of a particular color. The set is also great for siblings to share for this reason. The unique building toy is perfect for 5 years old and above, and will continue to provide entertainment for many years.
LEGO Classic Large Brick Box
This huge, 800 piece LEGO set is great for starting a collection of the classic building toy. The pieces come in a range of colors and includes all different shapes and sizes. There are baseplates, tires and rims, widows and doors and plenty of classic bricks. This means the set is great for letting kids’ imaginations run wild, and can be used to make just about anything they can dream up.
The container the building bricks come in is great to re-use to store them afterwards. Children will have hours and hours of creative fun with this set. It’s also a great way for parents and children to spend quality time together, as parents can help the kids make the models they have in mind. It’s compatible with all other standard LEGO sets, so you can easily add to the collection at a later date.
LEGO Friends Roller Coaster
This LEGO amusement park set includes over 100 pieces, and it ideal for boys and girls aged over 8 years old. There are 4 mini-doll figures included, which can take a ride on each of the attractions in the park. The set is compatible with other LEGO sets, so it can be used to build anything you choose. There are other products in the LEGO Friends range too, which make a great addition to this set to build a huge amusement park for the minifigures to enjoy!
This building kit includes loads of fun, interactive elements which make it great fun to play with after construction. The product requires one battery, which activates a light at the front of the roller coaster when a mini-doll figure is sat inside. The Ferris Wheel also rotates, and the drop tower also has moving parts. Kids will have great fun both building and playing with this large LEGO set.
Roller Coaster Building Game
This single player building board game is great to challenge children aged 6 years old and above. There are 4 levels of difficulty, meaning it is perfect for growing children and will last for several years. The game involves building a roller coaster and also requires to use of logic skills.
The game can also be used for free play, meaning kids can construct their own roller coasters over and over again, without necessarily playing the game. Players must choose a card which shows how to start building the track. It also states which other pieces must be added to the track, but it is up to your child to determine where to put them. Then, put the car at the top of the track and see if it will successfully make it to the end.
Best for 13 Year Olds and Older
LEGO Architecture United States Capitol
This large LEGO model is ideal for those aged over 12 years old. It features just over 1000 pieces to keep teens busy for a few hours. The set is compatible with all other LEGO products, so it can be used to create other models and structures, too. The LEGO Architecture model includes a collectible booklet, with information about the history and construction of the building too, sure to interest older children.
The LEGO Architecture Capitol Building makes a great display piece. It measures around 17 inches long, and 6 inches high. It would make a great addition to any LEGO collection – there are other interesting buildings which can be built to make a great display piece. For example, the Lincoln Memorial or the White House, or ravel to another country with a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Eiffel Tower.
LEGO Ideas Nasa Apollo Saturn V
This huge LEGO set is the perfect present for older teens who love building models. It features almost 2000 pieces, which can be put together to create a model almost 1m tall! This makes it a challenging build, perfect to challenge a teen but not recommended for younger children. The box also includes an information booklet about the rocket and the mission it went on.
The LEGO set comes with minifigures in spacesuits – perfect to show the sheer scale of the spacecraft! The different stages of the rocket can be removed from the model, and each features realistic details inside. The set also includes 3 display stands, so the Saturn V can be displayed horizontally. There is also a lunar landed and orbiter included, so you can re-enact the moon landings!
Laser Pegs Dinosaur Building Kit
This building bricks kit is ideal for those who already have a collection of construction toys. The bricks are designed to be compatible with other major brands of building sets, including LEGO and K’NEX, giving your child even more building possibilities. The kit can be used to build 24 different dinosaur models, and has step-by-step instructions for each. There are almost 30 laser pegs and nearly 200 construction bricks in the kit, making it the perfect size for older children and teens.
The Laser Pegs work using an LED light, meaning they are long lasting. Once connected to the power base, the model will light up. There are 4 different settings to choose from, including flashing and sound activated, meaning the lights will respond to your voice or your favorite song.
If your child isn’t interested in dinosaurs, there are loads of other Laser Pegs construction sets to choose from. There’s sure to be something your teen will love, with options such as space, cars and geographic landmarks.
Eiffel Tower 3D Puzzle
A 3D puzzle is the perfect way to keep teens busy for a few hours. There are just over 200 plastic pieces in this puzzle, and they click together easily without the use of any glue. This puzzle features LED lights on the base, which can be used to illuminate the tower in a choice of 5 colors once completed.
The puzzle is recommended for those over the age of 12. It comes with instructions and the puzzle pieces are numbered, so it required a bit of concentration to successfully complete. The Eiffel Tower measures 18 inches high when completed, making it the perfect size to have on display. There are several other models available in this edition – why not start a collection and have your very own city skyline?
K’Nex Thrill Rides
This massive K’NEX set is perfect for keeping teenagers entertained. It features over 5,000 pieces, which can be used to create a roller coaster standing 5’7″ tall! The coaster includes 3 chain lifts and a motor, so when you add 2 AA batteries the coaster comes to life. The track measures over 50′ long when built. It includes 5 cars and 14 figures to ride in them.
There are also speakers included with the construction set, so you can really make your amusement park come to life. Play your favorite songs through a smart phone or MP3 player, simply by adding some AAA batteries. The coaster is easy to build, with color coded instructions.
This K’NEX set is the perfect addition to any collection. There are loads of other products in the Thrill Rides collection, so you can build your very own amusement park at home! Ensure you will have enough floor space before purchasing this set – the model takes up around 8′ x 6′ on the floor.
Meccano Super Construction Set
This large Meccano building set can be used to create 25 different models. Of course, the pieces can be mixed up and used to create anything you wish, too.
The motorized Meccano includes over 600 parts, including a 6V motor so the models can be brought to life. Parents will love the handy carry case, which means all the parts can be stored neatly and not left on the floor.
The Meccano set is perfect for older children and teens, as it comes with detailed instructions for building the models. It also includes 2 real tools to help put the models together, which is great for teaching teens physical skills.
Mi Robot Building Kit
This smart robot building kit is perfect for teens who love to keep up with the latest technology. It features just under 1,000 pieces, and can be used to create 1 of 3 different robot designs. The robot is compatible with an iOS or Android app, so it is ideal for those who already have a smartphone or tablet. It can be used by young teens and adults alike – there are three different modes offering different levels of control, perfect for beginners or experts.
The robot has a self-balancing system, to ensure it can stay upright on is wheels even on more difficult terrain. The toy is great for introducing kids to early programming skills. Simply drag and drop to teach your robot new skills, right from your smartphone. There are even tutorials on the app to teach teens how to program the robot.
WREBBIT 3D Hogwarts Great Hall Puzzle
This 850 piece 3D puzzle is perfect for teens who love Harry Potter. The puzzle is a great size once built, measuring around 19″ high. There are a range of other puzzles in the Harry Potter range, which can be combined to make a huge model of Hogwarts and other favorite areas of the series. This makes it a great display piece, which would look perfect in any teen’s bedroom..
The 3D puzzle comes with instructions, to make it easier to complete for those who aren’t used to 3D puzzles. However, if you are looking for more of a challenge, the puzzle can be built without checking the instructions. The unique puzzle would make the perfect gift for teens to practice their concentration skills, and keep them away from their gadgets for a few days or weeks!
Scientific Explorer Young Architect Set
This kit allows the user to create 3D models of rooms of all shapes and sizes. Everything you need is included in the kit, such as tracing paper, room templates, walls and decals. The kit can be reused, so you can redesign he house as many times as you like.
There are 3 simple steps involved in creating your own building with this kit. First, use the papers to create a floor plan. Then, using the furniture guides, decorate the room as you choose. The final step is building the walls. There is a manual included in the kit which teaches users about the basics of architecture.
This educational building kit would make a great gift for young teens who are interested in learning more about architecture. It’s also a great, fun way to design and create 3D models.