Engaging in hands-on activities is essential for a child’s cognitive development, and building kits are a fantastic way to foster creativity, problem-solving skills, and a love for learning. Here’s a review of the 25 best building kits catering to toddlers and preschoolers through to early elementary and middle school.


Importance of Building Toys For Kids

Building things is crucial to a child’s development, contributing to their cognitive, social, and emotional growth. Incorporating building kits into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) model further enhances these benefits.

Here’s why building is essential for kids and how building toys for kids aligns with the STEM educational approach:

1. Cognitive Development

Building encourages problem-solving skills as children plan, design, and troubleshoot their creations. It enhances spatial awareness and geometric understanding as kids manipulate objects and visualize structures.

2. Creativity and Imagination

Building fosters creativity and imaginative thinking as kids envision and bring their ideas to life. It allows for open-ended exploration, where children can experiment with different materials and designs.

3. Fine Motor Skills

Manipulating building components improves fine motor skills, enhancing hand-eye coordination and precision. Connecting small pieces and handling tools contribute to the development of dexterity.

4. Social Skills

Collaborative building activities promote teamwork and communication among children. Sharing ideas and working together on projects develop social skills and the ability to collaborate.

5. Confidence and Resilience

Completing a building project boosts a child’s confidence and self-esteem. Overcoming challenges during construction fosters resilience and a positive attitude toward problem-solving.


How To Use Building Kits For STEM

While there are many building activities that you can do with kids that use simple materials, don’t underestimate the value of building toys for kids STEM! Kids thrive with the opportunity to explore and interact with various building sets. Here is how…


Building kits often incorporate scientific principles, allowing kids to experiment with physics, chemistry, and biology concepts. Observing cause-and-effect relationships while constructing something also aligns with the scientific method.


Some building kits, like coding robots, introduce kids to technology by integrating programming and robotics elements. Kits that combine physical buildings with digital interfaces bridge the gap between traditional and modern technologies.


Construction kits encourage kids to design and build structures using engineering principles. Kits focused on gears, circuits, and structural integrity provide hands-on experiences in engineering concepts.


Building kits often require measurement, calculation, and spatial reasoning, reinforcing mathematical skills. Understanding shapes, patterns, and symmetry contributes to a foundational understanding of mathematical concepts.

Learn more about what is STEM and explore over 100 STEM projects for kids!


15 Building Toys For All Ages

These building kits cater to various interests and skill levels, making them perfect for kids from early elementary to middle school. Encourage young builders to explore, create, and dream big with these exciting and educational building kits.

Here are a few of our favorites that we have used over the years. I am an Amazon Affiliate.

LEGO Classic Creative Bricks Set: A timeless favorite, LEGO Classic Creative Bricks Set offers endless possibilities for imaginative building, making it an ideal choice for various age groups.

Note: There are so many fantastic LEGO sets available for building! Classic creative sets are perfect for building a box of loose bricks and pieces for LEGO challenges. Throughout the year, Walmart will have huge sales on select classic boxes.

K’NEX Education – Intro to Simple Machines: Introduce the basics of engineering with K’NEX Simple Machines Kit, allowing kids to construct and understand fundamental principles while having fun.

Snap Circuits Jr. Electronics Discovery Kit: Unleash the budding engineer with Snap Circuits Jr., offering a hands-on introduction to electronics through easy-to-assemble circuit projects.

Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100 Piece Set: Magna-Tiles encourage spatial awareness and creativity as kids build structures with magnetic tiles that easily connect to form unique designs.

Engino Discovering STEM Structures Constructions & Bridges Set: Focused on STEM learning; this Engino set helps kids explore structural engineering principles while constructing various bridges and buildings.

Osmo – Creative Kit for iPad: Blending physical and digital play, Osmo’s Creative Kit transforms an iPad into an interactive canvas for kids to experiment with drawings, shapes, and more.

Gears! Gears! Gears! Deluxe Building Set: Develop fine motor skills and an understanding of mechanical systems with this deluxe gear set that encourages endless creativity.

Botley 2.0 – Coding Robot Activity Set: Combining coding with building, Botley 2.0 engages kids in problem-solving through interactive programming, making learning to code accessible and enjoyable.

Straw Constructor Kit: Straw Constructor’s STEM-focused kit uses colorful straws and connectors to teach kids about geometry and engineering. Kids can build everything from simple shapes to intricate structures with its open-ended design.

Thames & Kosmos Physics Workshop: Ideal for middle schoolers, this kit introduces physics concepts through hands-on experiments building models that demonstrate principles of motion and energy.

MindWare Q-BA-MAZE 2.0 Big Box: Stimulate spatial reasoning and logic with Q-BA-MAZE. This set lets kids build intricate marble runs, exploring physics principles visually captivatingly.

Ravensburger Gravitrax Starter Set: Explore the world of gravity, magnetism, and kinetics with Gravitrax, a customizable marble run system that encourages experimentation and problem-solving.

Squishy Circuits Dough Kit: Introduces basic concepts of electrical conductivity but also encourages creativity, problem-solving, and experimentation. Kit includes conductive and insulating dough for kids to mold and use with simple circuits.

ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run: Combining logic and engineering, Gravity Maze challenges kids to build intricate marble run structures based on provided challenges. This kit promotes critical thinking and spatial reasoning through the thrill of guiding a marble through a maze.

Thames & Kosmos Wind Power V4.0 STEM Experiment Kit: Educational and hands-on learning tool that introduces children to renewable energy and wind power principles. This kit allows kids to build a wind turbine through engaging experiments and activities and explore the science behind harnessing wind energy.

GEOMAG Magnetic Sticks and Balls Building Set: Build fascinating structures using magnetic rods and steel balls. With its unique magnetized design, this set enables endless possibilities for imaginative and geometric creations

Free Printable Tower STEM Challenge and Supplies Guide

Building Toys For Toddlers and Preschoolers

These building kits for toddlers and preschoolers are designed to provide a safe and age-appropriate introduction to construction play. They focus on developing fine motor skills, spatial awareness, and creativity while incorporating elements of early learning.

Parental supervision is recommended for safety with kids who may need extra support or put things in their mouths.

LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train: DUPLO blocks featuring numbers and characters, encouraging early counting and color recognition while building a train.

Note: There are many fantastic LEGO DUPLO sets for young kids to explore for space, ocean, farm, and more! Our Early Learning Brick Pack can be paired with DUPLO, too!

Geomag Magicube Magnetic Blocks: Geomag Magicube uses magnetic cubes to spark creativity in young builders. The cubes effortlessly connect, allowing kids to construct various shapes and structures while exploring the fundamentals of magnetism.

Melissa & Doug Wooden Building Blocks Set: Classic wooden blocks in various shapes and sizes, offering tactile exploration and imaginative play. Add this town play set for even more fun!

Shapemags 3+: Magnetic tiles that easily connect, allowing toddlers to create simple structures and explore the basics of magnetism.

TINKERTOY 3+: TINKERTOY’s larger pieces are perfect for little hands, promoting creativity and spatial awareness by constructing simple models.

Fat Brain Toys Tobbles Neo – Balancing Toy Stacking Game: Tobbles Neo features colorful, stackable spheres that wobble and balance, promoting sensory exploration and fine motor skills. Perfect for younger toddlers age.

Grippies Builders Set: Grippies feature soft, rubbery pieces with tactile textures, encouraging sensory play and early engineering concepts.

HABA Town Maze Magnetic Game Developmental STEM Activity: A magnetic maze that promotes spatial reasoning and fine motor skills as toddlers guide magnetic balls through the pathways.

SmartMax My First Animal Train: Large, colorful magnetic pieces allow toddlers to build a train with friendly animal characters, promoting creativity and early STEM concepts.

Board Games for Kids

Board games can be effective tools for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning.

Many board games are designed with educational goals in mind and incorporate STEM principles in a fun and interactive way. They encourage problem-solving, logic, math, communication, and collaboration skills! Here are some fantastic board game lists covering toddler to adult!

Helpful STEM Resources

Here are a few resources to help you introduce STEM more effectively to your kids or students and feel confident when presenting materials. You’ll find helpful free printables throughout.

Printable STEM Activities Pack for Kids

80+ Doable Engineering Projects in one convenient pack!

  • Full instructions with sample images
  • Activity-specific instruction sheets
  • Data Collection Sheets
  • Questions for Reflection
  • Architecture Building Cards: Try the tallest tower challenge
  • Bridge Building Cards: Explore different types of bridges to build your own.
  • Paper Chain STEM Challenge: Who can make the longest chain? Great icebreaker or quick challenge!
  • 3 Little Pigs Architectural Pack: Design a house that won’t blow away!
  • Great marshmallow challenge: A classic challenge kids love!
  • Real-world STEM challenge lesson but don’t know where to start? Our easy-to-follow template shows the steps!
  • What’s the difference between a scientist and an engineer?
  • Crossword and word search with engineering vocabulary.
  • Engineering vocabulary cards
  • Design a one-of-a-kind invention and write about it with this 5-page activity!