Buying Guide for Building Blocks
Why buy building blocks?
The best toys for kids are the ones that inspire fun and creativity in kids while helping them to learn and grow at the same time, especially if those toys are the sort that children will return to again and again. Building blocks check all of these boxes. Since building blocks don’t come with a concrete set of rules and instructions and layouts the way that board games or card games do, anything goes—kids can arrange and play with them however they want. This helps to fuel creativity, abstract thinking, and problem-solving skills in children of all ages.
Young kids can hone their motor skills, dexterity, hand-eye coordination, spatial skills, and object permanence. Just make sure the blocks aren’t too small; otherwise, they could be a choking hazard.
Building blocks are great group toys as well, so if friends or siblings play with them together, kids can learn about cooperation, compromise, sharing, and taking turns.
What should you look for in building blocks?
- Kit Size: Building blocks are available in various sizes and shapes. A good set includes anywhere from 40 to 80 tile pieces, granting enough pieces to use without overwhelming a child. However, larger sets can still increase your odds for greater usage and fun.
- Child Safety: For the concerned parent who would prefer to avoid breakage and a potentially dangerous situation overall, consider a building block kit that caters to your child’s health. Seek out an option that features tiles constructed from nontoxic materials, like ABS, which have no melting point and cause no serious threat if accidentally exposed to an external heat source. You’ll also want to avoid sets with small blocks for children under the age of 5, as these are a choking hazard for infants and toddlers.
- Education: At the end of the day, it’s crucial to remember that building block bundles satisfy two critical roles: education and bonding. Building blocks provide your child with a sea of perks, from motor skill development to acquiring a strong sense of color coordination, geometric shapes, and magnet polarities. Perhaps most importantly, these are all perks that can be further enhanced when a sibling, friend, or parent builds alongside them.
Are there any other factors worth considering in building blocks?
Be sure that you buy a set of age-appropriate building blocks for your child(ren). Beyond the aforementioned choking hazard of small blocks, infants, toddlers, and young kids tend to have an easier time grabbing bigger objects. When buying for younger kids, large but lightweight and stackable blocks are ideal, while older kids will benefit from more detailed, intricate, and smaller-sized blocks such as Legos.
Durability is also an always-worthwhile consideration for kids’ toys. Children aren’t always the most careful or gentle creatures, so you want a set of blocks that can hold up to being knocked over, dropped, and slammed together. They should be strong enough to hold up to daily use.
Finally, blocks that are easy to wipe clean or are even dishwasher safe will be a huge boon, especially if you have an infant or toddler who will almost certainly stick their blocks in their mouth on more than one occasion.
Our Picks for the Best Building Blocks for Kids
Melissa & Doug Wooden Building Blocks Set
This mixed 100-piece set brings size, color, and first-rate construction to the table (or floor).
Pros: You get excellent bang for your buck with these highly stackable wooden blocks. You get 100 building blocks in the set, but they come in four bright colors and nine geometric shapes, and more shapes mean more possibilities and creativity for your child. Even though these blocks are made out of wood, they aren’t heavy or bulky in the slightest and are suitable for playing with on the table and the floor.
Cons: Though this toy is advertised for ages 2 to 8, the pieces are too small to be safe or easy to grasp for toddlers; some of them will pose a choking hazard. And the blocks themselves don’t lock together the way some do, so they’re at greater risk of being knocked over and falling apart by mistake.
Bottom Line: With 100 pieces to its set and the ability to create several objects or one mammoth of a building, these colorful, stackable wooden blocks are a first-rate choice for children. All your little one will need to bring to the table is creativity.
Mega Bloks Big Building Blocks
This bundle of colorful jumbo building blocks is the perfect first set for infants and toddlers.
Pros: You can’t go wrong with a good set of jumbo building blocks for infants, toddlers, and younger children, and this set fits the bill perfectly. This tile bundle comes with 80 pieces perfectly sized for small hands to grasp with ease and stack into tall towers or any other shape that strikes their fancy. The blocks are all brightly colored, sure to delight your little one and hold their attention, and they have some shape variety beyond the usual squares and rectangles to better stimulate creativity. The blocks slot together with ease, yet your child shouldn’t have any issues separating them when it comes time to take apart or rebuild their creation. As a bonus, this set comes with a convenient storage bag, so you don’t have to worry about the block being thrown into and scattered in a toy chest or drawer.
Cons: Due to its size and relative simplicity, this set is really only suitable for younger kids. As the listing states, its target audience is aged 1 to 5 years old; any children older than that will likely find this set not engaging or challenging enough to keep them interested.
Bottom Line: Featuring bright, eye-catching colors and a large but not overly bulky design, these jumbo building blocks make for an exciting purchase for toddlers and young children. They’ll have a blast stacking and building with them without becoming frustrated by the blocks sticking together too tightly.
Oaktown Supply Building Blocks for Toddlers
This wooden building block set features an assortment of pictures, numbers, and letters to help young children learn as they play.
Pros: Offering numbered and lettered wooden blocks, this set will keep your children engaged for hours on end. Unlike many other building blocks, they’re multi-sided, stackable from every side and angle, with a picture or number or letter on each side. It’s easy to sneak in a quick lesson about numbers or letters as your child is playing or have them identify the other pictures stamped on the blocks. There are also two different quantity options to choose from and an included wooden storage wagon that not only safely holds the blocks when not in use but allows your child to wheel them from room to room for some extra fun.
Cons: All the blocks in this set are the exact same shape and size, limiting the variety of shapes and designs they can be built into. And while there are two quantity options available, neither is particularly large—only 30 or 36 blocks, and the set of 36 doesn’t come with the wagon.
Bottom Line: You may not think of building blocks as the most educational of toys, but this set is here to break that preconception. Children will be able to absorb and practice their numbers and letters as they’re stacking and building without even realizing that they’re learning.
Infantino Press & Stay Sensory Blocks
This building block set features 24 vibrantly colored, unusually textured pieces that are extra stimulating for infants.
Pros: This set is an excellent choice for a baby’s first building blocks. They’re hollowed out to be lightweight and reduce the risk of your little one hurting themselves during use. The bright, contrasting hues are certain to grab babies’ attention and intrigue them. Most notable about these blocks is their textured sides. This serves two purposes: to help stimulate and enhance an infant’s sensory skills while also allowing the blocks to slot, stack, and stick together.
Cons: While the textured aspect of these building blocks makes them unique and easier to stack from all sides, they aren’t quite as effective as classic building blocks’ slots. You and your infant may find that their stacks have trouble sticking together at times. And the set is on the small side at only 24 pieces.
Bottom Line: Unique in look and design, these building blocks were designed specifically with infants in mind. They’ll stack and slot together like standard blocks, while their most striking and unique feature—the texture—will help build sensory skills for children as young as six months old.
Prextex 150 Piece Classic Big Building Bricks
This high-quantity set hits all the classic beats of plastic building blocks so you know they'll stand the test of time.
Pros: These blocks are, through and through, plain and wonderful. With 150 different blocks in two different shapes, there’s plenty included in this set to build items large or small. These cubes let their rich colors do the talking while your child handles the story of their next masterpiece. Additional perks you’re getting out of this building block set include the likes of being easy to stack, easy to store, and durable enough to take the occasional drop. Storage is especially easy since they come with a handy carrying case that’s large enough to secure them all with ease and bring them to a friend’s house for a playdate. They’re also compatible with many other brands of building blocks, such as Legos.
Cons: Since you do get a higher than average amount of blocks with this set, the price tag will be a little higher, though they shouldn’t break the bank. And you may find that these building blocks don’t stick together quite as well as you might like.
Bottom Line: This set is arguably most true to the “building block” name. They’re great for kids as young as 3 years old while still providing entertainment for older children as well.
Building blocks are classic daycare and home toys that come in many different forms and styles. You’ll be amazed at how many hours of fun your child will get out of their building blocks, no matter their age.