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The Best Building Sets

Last updated on September 1, 2021
Best Building Sets

Our Review Process

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Our Picks For The Top Building Sets

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Best All-Purpose Pick

IQ BUILDER STEM Building Set, 164-Piece

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STEM Building Set, 164-Piece

This 164-piece STEM-focused building set with balls, wheels and connectors is ideal for any level of builder. It includes e-book instructions for beginner, intermediate and advanced players and will flex children's mental muscles.

Overall Take

For All Skill LevelsThis colorful geometric STEM set comes with instructions suitable for any skill level.

 Runner Up

PicassoTiles 3D Magnetic Building Set, 100-Piece


3D Magnetic Building Set, 100-Piece

These scalable, strong magnetic tiles are perfect for creative kids. The 100 tiles in this set come in eight shapes and bright, translucent colors, allowing for large builds limited only by imagination. They are also compatible with other magnetic tiles.

Overall Take

Creativity and ImaginationKids can create complex 3D structures with these geometric, magnetic building tiles.

 We Also Like

LEGO Architecture San Francisco Skyline Building Set, 565-Piece


Architecture San Francisco Skyline Building Set, 565-Piece

This Lego building set helps kids and adults re-create San Francisco landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, painted lady houses and various skyscrapers in miniature. The model is more than 11 inches wide and 6 inches high.

Overall Take

For Kids and AdultsCreate several famous landmarks with this Lego set featuring icons of San Francisco.

 Strong Contender

Brickyard Building Blocks BPA-Free Building Set, 163-Piece

Brickyard Building Blocks

BPA-Free Building Set, 163-Piece

This STEM-focused set includes over 160 pieces including blocks, wrenches, moveable wheels, nuts and bolts. Each piece is brightly colored and easy to use. Kids can invent their own designs or use the book of 42 ideas to inspire their play.

Overall Take

Book of IdeasSpark your child’s creativity with this STEM block set and its included book of ideas.

Buying Guide

Toys that encourage building provide kids of all ages with numerous benefits. For babies and toddlers, building sets help improve their gross and fine motor skills. In addition to stacking things on top of each other, kids scoot, crawl, grab and stretch while they build even if their creations may not be marvels of architecture. Linking pieces together and picking up individual blocks help them work on their hand-eye coordination as well.

Children preschool-aged and older can work on their problem-solving skills when they play with building sets. As they use the trial and error method to figure out which pieces will help them accomplish what they want to do, they’re learning.

Kids also get to explore their creativity when they play with building sets. They envision fantastical models, then work to bring them to reality. Whether they are constructing simple towers or complex cities, they can expand their horizons as they dream up unique features and new elements they can add to their masterpiece.

What to Look For

  • Building sets come in numerous varieties. While Lego-style bricks are always popular, there are other building materials kids can try as well. One option that is great for younger children involves magnets. Tiles with magnetic sides are perfect for helping young kids create fun shapes and buildings. The tiles often come in different shapes and colors so kids can learn new vocabulary while they play. Older kids may enjoy STEM-focused building materials that include gears, different shapes, levers and other features.
  • Consider whether your child might enjoy an open-ended building set, where they can build any number of items, or a set that is designed to create one specific structure. Some kids thrive on having unrestrained creativity while others prefer step-by-step instructions that lead to a known finished product.
  • Many building sets have dozens of pieces, so it’s important for them to have a permanent home. Otherwise, you may end up losing pieces under the couch or stepping on them as you walk down the hallway. Some building sets come with their own storage bin while others will require you to provide your own. A transparent container is ideal so kids can easily see the pieces they need.

More to Explore

If your little ones are new to playing with building sets, they may need some encouraging ideas. One way to inspire them is to incorporate other toys into their build. For example, if they love dolls, ask them to construct a castle for their dolls. If they love cars, see if they can make a garage for their cars. This way, they’ll think about how they can use the structure while they work on putting it together.

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