Gifts for Kids Who Love to Build Things
Build a great collection for your favorite future architect with these exciting building toys.
Matt Harvey · about 1 month ago
So you’ve got a little one (or a medium one) who loves to build, crash, sort and squish — we’ve got you! The toys on this list are great for developing fine motor skills and even better for tapping into the glory of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (S.T.E.A.M). Give the gift of make-it-happen with any of these awesome building toys!
Usually we'd put the "big reveal" at the bottom for a list like this, but instead we’re coming in hot — Blockaroos are unbelievably fun and are definitely my personal favorite toy on this list! Build vehicles, buildings, and robots with articulation with these satisfyingly tactile foam blocks (they're even dishwasher-safe). Thanks to the magnetic ratcheting gizmos on each block, you can make stuff that moves without having to worry about your masterpiece crumbling at a whisper. You can even take them into the bathtub!
Just like Blockaroos, Clixos are fitted with magnetic ratcheting fasteners that allow you to make all sorts of fun abstract contraptions. Build a helicopter or design the fidget toy of your dreams — Clixos are a fun new alternative to the blockier options on the market, and they allow for all kinds of creativity!
3Doodler is a 3D modeling pen that lets you bring your doodles into the third dimension without the need for red and blue lenses! You can make anything from earrings to line sculptures — and you’ll love how easy it is to go from imagination-land to the real world. I don’t recommend this for smaller kiddos because the tip gets quite hot (melting plastic), but it’s great for older kids, or paired play with an adult who can control the pen while the little one gives direction.
Think Box Inventor’s Box
The Think Box Inventor’s Box is all about making stuff — useful stuff, experimental stuff, creative stuff! Your mini DaVinci will find endless ways to innovate, invent and stretch their “what if” muscles using the included guide book as inspiration and the plethora of components to build with — Shark Tank here we come!
This attractive building toy helps the builder think outside of the brick, and get into creating with polygons! Powered by magnets and imagination, your small friend will amaze themselves with their own builds. Heck, these things are just fun to connect and pull apart. Magnets are magic.
If you’re looking for your building toys to resemble an octopus foot — your search is over! Squigz are pretty strange — in a good way! Build abstract designs by attaching the colorful pieces together at the suction cups. You can also throw them at the ceiling for a satisfying game of “Will It Stick? And When Will It Fall?”
Invented around 1916 by John Lloyd Wright (the son of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright), Lincoln Logs are tiny logs that have notches cut in them, and you can use them to build cabins and forts and all sorts of fun stuff. These things are still around for a reason and the National Toy Hall of Fame agrees!
Crazy Forts: Flexi-Forts
Homemade forts have always had a reputation for having, shall we say, less-than-sterling structural integrity. and now we have a solution that eliminates the need for precariously balanced couch cushions — Crazy Forts! These things allow you to build yourself a sheet cave with all of the charm of a blanket fort without the worry of knocking down hours of work with a sneeze. You can now eat your watermelon Jolly Ranchers and read your Babysitters Club books in privacy!
Snap Circuits Jr. Electronic Projects Kit
Demystify the inner workings of a doorbell, an AM/FM radio, or even a voice recorder! Unleash the power of the electrical circuit with easy-to-follow guides and colorful pieces that snap together on the circuit board! Science and magic are the same thing — and this fun builders' kit proves it!
Magnatiles use basic shapes and magnets to form vibrantly colored structures. These translucent, shiny magnetic tiles are very popular with the preschool and kindergarten crowd — if you play with them, you’ll understand the appeal.
Build your own sprawling metropolis with the big city set from Areaware Blockitecture! Create skyscrapers, bridges, parks, lakes, rivers and more! Make the city of your dreams with this clever new spin on classic building blocks.
Little Tikes Big Waffle Block Set
"Waffle block" isn’t just a great schoolyard insult — it’s also a great schoolyard toy! Building forts, walls and tunnels is a snap with these uniquely designed blocks. You probably remember how fun they are from when you were a kid, and your child will love them just as much.
Mindware Q-BA-MAZE 2.0 Ultimate Stunt Set
Build sophisticated marble runs with the power of unlimited configurations — if you can dream it, you can make it with Mindware Q-BA-MAZE 2.0! It’s extraordinarily satisfying to watch the marbles flow through the courses.
Plus-Plus is basically the tiny version of waffle blocks! You can get them in a bunch of different colorways to suit your personal palette. They also help develop creativity, focus, and fine motor skills. Plus-Plus is a win/win for play and development!
Tegu blocks are a great building toy that scales super well with the growth and development chart! Made of Honduran Huesito wood and magnets, these super fun blocks are designed to work together to bring even the smallest friend’s imagination to life. These are some of our favorite building toys.
Ravensburger 3D Empire State Building Puzzle
Recreate the majesty of the Empire State Building in your very own home! This 3D puzzle is made of hard plastic, so it’s sturdy and is both a puzzle and a model. Glue it together or build it to tear it down and build it again — this puzzle rocks!
Open The Joy: Hydraulic Excavator S.T.E.A.M Kit
Don’t be fooled by the S.T.E.A.M in the name — it’s not actual steam, it’s an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math— but you knew that! Open The Joy is one of our favorite toy brands (we even gave them an award at the 2019 Toy Fair!). Your little builder will love creating their very own excavator with this kit! Open The Joy toys are designed to spark wonder and bring happiness in a way that doesn’t require screens.
You know ‘em, you love ‘em, you don’t want to step on ‘em with bare feet — LEGO is the world’s favorite building toy for a reason. These interlocking blocks have been around for ages and have inspired everything from games and movies, to theme parks. Get in on the action with some of our favorite building kits.
Squish it, squeeze it, flatten it, pulverize it — kinetic sand is the satisfying cousin of silly putty that you can use for anything from building structures to using as a stress ball. Warning, you’ll probably end up borrowing this toy for yourself.
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