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Construction Toys Buying Guide

There is so much to learn from building and construction toys! Early learning blocks teach kids the fundamentals of balance and form. With a little imagination, kids can incorporate wooden building blocks into pretend play – creating their own playscapes, vehicles, and props with a clean slate of building options where imagination is the key piece of play.

And as kids grow they can experience so much more through play with complex building toys and sets. Toys like Erector Sets, LEGO® building sets and marble runs challenge kids to think logically and spatially, setting them up for success in math and science.

These lessons are invaluable for every child. And while people may think building toys are mostly for boys, we believe that they are perfect for all children! Boys and girls can benefit tremendously from exposure to the thoughtful, constructive play that gears, magnets and shapes offer, regardless of the theme or design of the set. Remember, it doesn’t have to be pink to make girls think!

Features to Consider

Early learning and preschool building toys are great for developing motor skills and introducing patterns, abstract thinking, colors, and shapes. For toddlers and preschoolers, building and knocking down block structures is a fun and thrilling activity that doesn’t have to be more than that to start a lifelong love of building.

As children grow mentally and physically, look for more challenging construction toys. Many kits come with step by step instructions to build working models. Nothing is more rewarding for young builders than watching their simple machines come to life! As kids learn more, they’ll be creating their own complicated contraptions and structures and will try to deviate from instructions—and that’s when learning really hits its stride!

Age Appropriate Suggestions

2 to 4 year olds
  • Chunky plastic blocks that snap together
  • Nesting blocks and stacking toys
  • Wooden building blocks
  • Simple building sets with chunky pieces
  • Gear-building toys
5 to 8 year olds
  • Marble Run Toys
  • Zoob Construction Sets
  • Magformers Building Sets
  • Erector Sets
  • LEGO® Building Sets
9 years old and up
  • Erector Sets
  • Electronic Building Sets
  • LEGO® Building Sets
  • Robotics Kits

Ways for Adults to Play

It’s easy for adults to get involved with constructive play! When playing with toddlers and preschoolers, you can demonstrate patterns or simple math problems with wooden building blocks. Lay out blocks of alternating shapes and colors and ask kids to repeat the pattern or ask them to build simple towers using differently shaped blocks. Adults can also guide block play by suggesting new structures, once young ones have mastered simple building. And, as kids grow older and take on the play of more complicated kits, adults can help guide them with the directions in order to successfully complete their designs.

Top Developmental Benefits

Physical Benefits
Building with blocks encourages kids to work small muscles and develops hand-eye coordination! Fitting pieces together takes patience and a steady hand. The manipulative play inherent in all age-appropriate building activities should provide a physical challenge for children!

Logical Learning Benefits
Building with blocks requires planning and demonstrates the rules of balance and gravity, among other skills. As kids become interested in more complicated building sets, they’ll learn how to turn small pieces into complex structures and mechanically functioning marvels. Planning and working through the steps from beginning to end is a great introduction to logical thinking!

Spatial Learning Benefits
Blocks make it easy to visualize and create three dimensional structures. Kids naturally use spatial reasoning skills as they build and play with construction toys!

Intrapersonal Benefits
The nice thing about these types of toys is they can absorb kids in play for hours! And often times, they really can explore these sets on their own with little interaction from others. An afternoon spent working with blocks can help kids develop a sense of independence and instill the value of exploration without limitations.

Types of Play

Creative Play
Think of it like drawing with big chunks of matter. Building blocks and construction toys are all about design and creativity! What will your kid create today?

Dramatic Play
Wooden blocks can represent anything! Pretending with blocks is an excellent exercise in abstraction, which is the first step toward understanding mathematics and reading. And many of our construction toys incorporate pretend play figures and themes right into the building play!

Manipulative Play
All construction sets are of a manipulative nature – whether they are big blocks that work on gross motor skills in growing toddlers or small pieces with intricate instructions to build a working model, these toys are all about manipulative skills.

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