Building toys for kids to encourage fine motor skills

Mother and baby playing with building toys

by Laura Healy |
Updated on

Not only are building toys brilliant toys for boys and girls but there are plenty of benefits for your youngster too. Building toys for kids help with children's development including supporting their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and reasoning, which we think is a great reason to fill up your child's toy box with them.

Building toys for kids are also great for both independent free play and group play. Your little one will be equally entertained trying to build their own creation, as they will working together with either you, a sibling or a friend. Plus building toys work for all ages, while younger children will enjoy stacking and experiencing the consequences of blocks falling, for example, older children will love creating intricate designs and using them as part of their imaginative play.

Best building toys at a glance:

Best magnetic building toy: Connectix Rainbow mega pack, £180

Best building toy for toddlers: Mega Bloks Classic Big Building Bag, £19.99

Best portable building toy: LEGO Classic Creative Suitcase, £13.99

Best wooden building toy: VATOS Wooden building toy, £23.99

There are so many building toys to choose from including plastic, wooden or even magnetic and they are suitable for a variety of ages and interests. To point you in the right direction, we've pulled together the very best building toys for your youngster across a range of price points.

The best building toys for kids 2024

Best building toy for easy assembly

Stickle Bricks Amazon
Price: $38.98

This much-loved building set combines a variety of different coloured and shaped bricks that children can stick, stack and construct with easy to assemble pieces that lock together any way they fancy. The packaging doubles as a handy storage container to keep all the bits together.

Review: "Great buy, I bought these for my 15 month old. I loved these as a child so I wanted him to experience them too.
Love the use of imagination when playing with these."

Pros

  • Packaging doubles as storage
  • Includes a good amount of stickle bricks

Cons

  • Some reviewers said they were a bit flimsy
Dimensions: 21.5 x 16.5 x 24 cm
Age: 18 months - 14 years
Material: Plastic
Number of pieces: Not stated
  • Bright and colourful
  • Easy to assemble for young children
  • Packaging doubles as storage
  • Helps develop hand-eye coordination
  • Supports imaginative play

Best building toy for imaginative play

Children Hub 100pcs Magnetic Building Set
Price: $29.90

This magnetic building kit recieves rave reviews from parents on Amazon. The set contains 100 pieces of different geometrical shapes and patterns with bright colors that your child will instantly be drawn to. The bigger magnets are easy for little hands to hold as well as being durable with raised the edges to avoid scratch problems.

Review: "What can I say.... four hours after receiving this, my children (aged 10, 5 and 4) are STILL playing with it and I felt compelled to write a review. I’ve even ordered another pack that will arrive tomorrow (thank you amazon prime) so they can get even more creative (and hopefully not argue over who has the most pieces as much!) So much fun for the adults too - a great way to play and interact with your child. I will be buying more of this for birthday presents for friends children, every child needs this in their life!"

Pros

  • Inspires creativity
  • Includes 100 geometric pieces

Cons

  • Not enough standard square tiles included
Dimensions: ‎40 x 31 x 6 cm
Age:3 years +
Material: Plastic and magnets
Number of pieces: 100
  • Suitable from 3 years
  • Compatible with other magnetic building sets
  • Bright and colourful
  • Sturdy
  • Develops imaginative play

Best colourful building toy

With over 90 pieces colourful shaped blocks, this building toy can be combined into all manner or random shapes such as flowers, animals, cars and more. Easily snapping together and designed to withstand rough play, your little one can explore their wild imagination while developing their cognitive and practical abilities.

Review: "This toy was a hit, not just because of the beautiful colours, but a bit like the beloved Magna Tiles, the creative opportunities it offers. They can make wonderful shapes with these. They are very good quality with a nice weight to them and easy to handle by little fingers. Challenging enough without being too difficult for the 3 year old. Both the 5 and 3 year old love them."

Pros

  • Great STEM toys
  • Comes with handy storage bag

Cons

  • Difficult for toddlers to connect the pieces
Dimensions: 20.32 x 17.78 x 6.86 cm
Age: 3 years +
Material: Plastic
Number of pieces: 100
  • 100 pieces
  • Durable
  • Develops cognitive abilities
  • Colourful
  • Includes storage bag

Best building toy for the bath

If your little one loves cars, this set is the one for them as it comes with high quality building blocks and four, allowing your child to assemble different 3D models and they can then can push and continue to play with.

Review: "Absolutely brilliant! My extremely hard to please 3 year old has been playing with this all day, he loves it!
Good quality as well."

Pros

  • Can be used in the bath
  • Three different modes to build with

Cons

  • Doesn't include wheels to make the car featured on the box
Dimensions:27.5 x 20 x 13.5 cm
Age: 36 months - 10 years
Material: Plastic
Number of pieces: 72
  • Can be used in the bath
  • Colourful
  • Strong and durable
  • Suitable for all ages
  • Great for development and creativity

Best wooden building toy

Keeps your child entertained for hours with this 96 piece set which can be interlinked together to build models such as robots, brontosaurus or stegosaurus. Great for both solo and teamwork play, the VATOS wooden building blocks are designed with smooth round edges as well as also made from recyclable non-toxic beech.

Review: "This is a fantastic product for children who love creating things and building. My little girl is 2 and a half and loves it. She needed help as it is quite fiddly to put the nut and bolts together and tighten them up but we loved making to robot with her. It's ideal for encouraging children's imagination and fine motor skills."

Pros

  • A durable wooden building toy
  • Includes a wrench for building

Cons

  • A bit fiddly to use with nuts and bolts
Dimensions: 20.83 x 9.4 x 22.86 cm
Age: 3 years +
Material: Wood
Number of pieces: 96
  • Wooden
  • Includes nuts and bolts and a wrench
  • A great STEM toy
  • Colourful

Best building toy for toddlers

MEGA Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag Amazon

Rrp: $24.99

Price: $16.00
Alternative retailers
Walmart$16.00View offer
Kohl's$19.99View offer
Macy's$19.99View offer

These bright primary-coloured blocks encourage hands-on exploration for your child to imagine and create. Compatible with all Mega Bloks First Builders sets for endless building possibilities, it comes with an attachable wheelbase to create cars and trucks of all colours and sizes. And when playtime is over, zip the blocks up in an eco-friendly bag and stash them in the toy box until next time.

Review: "These are great blocks. To start with my son just liked to throw them around but after being shown how they work a few times he now likes to do basic stacking. He’s still only 14 months so I like that these are a toy that he will likely use for a few more years."

Read our full MEGA Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag review.

Pros

  • Good for basic building
  • Compatible with all MEGA Bloks

Cons

  • Not as engaging for older children
Dimensions: 12.7 x 30.48 x 35.56 cm
Age: 12 months - 18 years
Material: Plastic
Number of pieces: 80
  • Great for little hands
  • Colourful
  • Compatible with all MEGA Bloks
  • STEM toy
  • Includes storage bag

Best building toy for role play

LEGO DUPLO Classic Deluxe Brick BoxAmazon
Price: $59.80
Alternative retailers
Target$39.99View offer
Macy's$44.99View offer
Kohl's$49.99View offer
Best Buy$49.99View offer

A good option for very small children, DUPLO has been popular with kids for generations. With easy-to-hold pieces that excite imaginations and encourage open-ended play, this kit includes 1-to-5 number bricks with simple instructions that show how to build models with the toddler-friendly bricks.

Review: "Bought for grandson to add to his duplo collection. As always the Lego brand is a quality product. Can make numerous items and build with other lego products."

Pros

  • Includes Duplo figures
  • Encourages role play

Cons

  • Number of pieces is limited
Dimensions: 18 x 37 x 26.2 cm
Age:18 months plus
Material: Plastic
Number of pieces: 85
  • Includes figures, cars and flowers, dog and more for role play
  • Colourful
  • Includes 1-2-3 learning blocks
  • Includes a pictorial guide
  • Comes with a storage box

Best building toy for activities

Lovevery The Block SetAmazon
Price: $90.99

There's a whole lot for your youngster to enjoy in this set that includes 70 pieces in 18 colors, 18 shapes and tools including arches, wheels, cylinders, rolling ramps, and a shape sorter. Phew! Bound to keep your little one busy for ages, watch as they design towns, towers, and bridges, build a pull car for mobile play, learn new shapes and colours, stack it up and watch it tumble, play pretend, or make a domino trail.

Review: "This is top quality stuff, and the wee girl loves it. It's well thought out, with lots of nice touches like the magnetic axles to build the box into a little truck. It is not cheap, but I can't argue with the design or the build quality. Would recommend to anyone who can afford to get it! Delivery was fast and efficient. All in all a great product."

Pros

  • Montessori inspired
  • 20 plus learning activities

Cons

  • Some reviewers thought it was quite expensive
Dimensions: 40.64 x 15.24 x 12.7 cm
Age: 1 to 3 years
Material: Wood
Number of pieces: 70
  • Montessori inspired
  • 20 plus learning activities
  • Includes a wooden storage box and a cotton bag
  • Made of wood
  • Includes threading and a shape sorter

Best magnetic building toy

These magnetic building shapes will provide hours of fun. Designed in myriad rainbow colours, they will inspire imagination and creative play. Suitable for both younger and older children the possibilities are endless, especially with this mega pack featuring 212 pieces.

One reviewer said: "You can build most anything with these colorful magnetic tiles! We have made houses, bridges, automobiles, towers, and all sorts of anything you can imagine. These keep children busy for hours and they never seem to grow tired of playing with them. They are sturdy and well-made - after having them over two years I do not think a single tile has broken, even after being stepped on by an adult. I highly recommend this educational and imaginative toy."

Pros

  • A big mega pack with endless possibilities
  • Durable and strong

Cons

  • Some reviewers said the tiles get scratched
Dimensions: 47 x 32 x 9 cm
Age: 18 months plus
Material: Plastic and magnets
Number of pieces: 212
  • Includes 212 pieces
  • Bright, rainbow colours
  • Strong and durable
  • Lots of designs to make
  • Suitable for younger and older children

Best portable building toy

Alternative retailers
Kohl's$19.99View offer
Macy's$19.99View offer
LEGO$19.99View offer
Walmart$36.93View offer

Featuring a sturdy yellow suitcase with handy sorting compartments complete with a range of colourful pieces such as building bricks, shapes, wheels and eyes, children can easily take their LEGO anywhere. This is perfect for creativity on the go and the perfect starter set for children interested in building with LEGO.

One reviewer commented: "We bought this for my son as he was getting into the proper lego, and growing out of the duplo big blocks, and we didn't have much in the house. This case is great as it has a variety of lego in different colours, shapes and sizes, so great for starting out but also has some storage if needed, as the lego can be kept in this or it's great storage for other things such as nails, screws, and any small DIY bits. I would recommend this product for 5+ age groups, as there are some smaller pieces in this kit."

Pros

  • Great for building on the go
  • Good variety of pieces

Cons

  • Not suitable for younger children due to small pieces
Dimensions: 28.5 x 6.4 x 26.2 cm
Age: 4 years plus
Material: Plastic
Number of pieces: 213
  • Portable building set
  • 213 pieces
  • Great starter kit for children
  • Colourful
  • Compatible with other LEGO construction kits

FAQs

What is a construction toy?

Building toys or construction toys are designed to let children be creative. They normally only have basic components but children can build what they want, using their imagination, and then take them apart to build again. They are great for developing hand eye coordination, fine motor skills and creativity. Plus children of all ages enjoy them.

Are building toys good for kids?

Yes! They encourage creativity and imagination as well entertaining your little one for hours, as they build and rebuild their creations. They are also great for independent play as well as social play, and are often popular with Montessori education. If that isn't enough, they also support your child's development in so many ways by supporting hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, understanding of cause and effect, and reasoning, and they are great STEM toys.

What to look for in building toys for kids?

Age appropriate: Building toys range in how complicated they are, and you don't want to frustrate your little one by giving them a set that is too fiddly, however building sets are great educational toys. Similarly, an older child will enjoy the challenge of a set with more intricate parts. Ensure your little one is safe and cannot put any pieces in their mouth as well.

Durability: Whether you buy a plastic set or wooden building toy for your kids, ensure the pieces can withstand lots of rough play and will last. Some are compatible with other sets as well so if you plan to grow their collection you will want them to be durable.

Material: Building toys are made from plastic, wood and even magnets. Choose the material you prefer and which you think your little one will enjoy. Younger children might be attracted to the bright colours of plastic, while older children might like using nuts and bolts, or magnets to create their constructions and wooden building toys also have the appeal of being sustainable toys too.

What is included: Some sets include basic shapes and blocks, which are great for toddlers. However, other sets have figures, wheels, windows, screws and lots more which will encourage role play and challenge older children.

Education: All building toys support children's development and help them towards milestones, but look at the activities they can do and think about how they will work as a learning toy. Building toys can provide so many benefits being both fun and educational.

Laura Healy is a Commercial Content Writer for Mother&Baby. She is a mum-of-two girls and loves writing about all things parenting, she is particularly interested in the toddler years and eco-friendly baby products, as well as children’s literature. She has a PhD in Creative Writing and has published short stories in the UK and Ireland, as well as previously writing freelance for her local paper.

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