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The Best Construction Toys for Early STEAM Learning

young girl playing with red, blue, green, and yellow wooden blocks

Developing science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) skills through active play requires toys that support growth in motor skills, numeracy, and problem-solving and that also provide opportunities for imagination and creativity. With these construction toys, kids will have so much fun in hours of play they will never know they are building foundations for future learning!

Purchasing Construction Toys

When searching for a new STEAM toy for your child, consider these factors:

  • Use: Construction toys should offer more than one outcome and give children the chance to explore their own ideas! Free exploration of their own ideas will keep kids engaged and develop their curiosity and creativity. Look for toys that allow your child to take control of the toy’s configuration to work their imagination.
  • Involvement: Physical manipulation of construction toys refines motor skills, enhances spatial awareness, improves patience and focus, and promotes learning through trial and error.
  • Creative Expression: Construction toys that provide a platform for imaginative play are especially useful for developing creativity and emotional intelligence.
  • Teamwork: Construction toys that allow kids to work together to achieve a goal are especially great, particularly if one child can teach another a skill!

Best Wooden Blocks: Melissa & Doug Wooden Building Blocks Set

colorful castle made with painted wooden blocks

Melissa & Doug have over 30 years of experience in making toys that inspire kids! Their set of 100 sturdy wooden blocks come in four colors and nine shapes. They are great for pattern building, hand-eye coordination, and motor skill development, as well as for learning spatial reasoning and visualizing objects in 3D. Studies also show that wooden block play is linked to language development. And if kids build a very tall tower, they will learn all about gravity!

Best Wooden Blocks

Melissa & Doug Wooden Building Set - 100 Blocks in 4 Colors and 9 Shapes

These sturdy wooden blocks teach spatial reasoning and 3D visualization.

Best Magnetic Tiles: Magna-Tiles 32-Piece Clear Colors Set

A house made with colorful translucent magnetic tiles.

The Maga-Tiles 32-piece set of colorful translucent magnetic tiles can be used to make both 2D and 3D constructions. This open-ended construction toy gives kids two large and 14 small squares as well as eight equilateral, four right, and four isosceles triangles that can be used to make what they imagine, and it teaches them repulsion and attraction, the fundamentals of magnetism!

Best Magnetic Tiles

Best Stick and Ball Set: Obuby Kids Fort Building Kit

A child sitting in rocket made from ball and connecting sticks.

The Obuby fort building set includes 16 blue balls and 15 green balls that act as connectors, 54 reinforced sticks that measure 14.96 inches long, and a handy drawstring bag for building fun both indoors and out. Great for collaborative and pretend play, kids can work together to build a structure they imagine and use it as a prop in their make-believe.

Best Tube Set: BunMo XL Pop Tubes

Red and purple tubes being twisted to form a spiral.

BunMo’s extra-large pop tubes make sounds that kids love as they bend and twist them into tons of shapes and connect them by twisting the tube ends together. Kids are often most attracted to the simplest toys, and these vibrant and versatile tubes can be used in so many ways. Kids can enjoy learning about air and sound with these toys through fun in the tub for water play or freestyle sculpture and construction. As a sensory toy, these tubes work well for kids with autism. They also come in a mini size for easy storage.

Best Snap Together: EMIDO Interlocking Building Disc Set

A colorful bicycle made from knobby snap together disks.

EMIDO’s colorful knobby disks snap together to make all kinds of structures, from flowers and animals to patterned shapes and abstract art! Each disc is 1.26 inches in diameter and 0.35 inches high, making them great for practicing fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. The variety of bright colors make these discs perfect for creating patterns and exploring symmetry. For parents, it comes with a bag for easy storage.

Lisa Walenceus Lisa Walenceus
Lisa Walenceus has 20 years of research and writing experience as an educator, news reporter, and freelancer. She writes to learn and digs deep to find how things work. Read Full Bio »
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