**Updated 11/13/16: We have a newer list of the 15 best building toys that went live this evening. Check it out for newer toys.
Kids love to tinker. Basically, if you give children anything they can build with, they’ll keep themselves amused for hours. It’s actually quite incredible if you think about it; building things seems to be naturally embedded within our DNA.
So, needless to say, kids love building toys. Sure, there are the everyday run-of-the-mill LEGOs, K’Nex, and Magformers out there, but we all know about those. They’re great in their own right, but what if your child wants something more advanced to build with? From erector sets that have been around for over 50 years to LEGOs to the latest in STEM learning toys, there is something for every type of kid out there. (Also, check out a separate post for the best toddler toys).
So without further ado, here are the top 5 best building toys available.
1. LEGO Architecture Studio Playset
One of the most impressive new building toys we’ve seen on the market as of late is the LEGO Architecture Studio Playset. It comes with 1210 pieces and an inspirational 272-page guidebook. Think of this LEGO set as the top-tier building set on the market. It takes out all of the colors, as all of the bricks are white or transparent, so the focus is solely on building and design. Not only will it drive your child’s creativity, it’ll help fuel their interest in architecture. The LEGO Architecture Studio Playset is less about the play, and more about the design.
2. Scientific Explorer Young Architect Building Set
What makes the Scientific Explorer Young Architect Building Set different than the other building sets is that it comes with an 18-inch x 24-inch reusable work mat that allows your child to draw on it to blueprint their buildings, drawing and coloring in their plans. It includes stick-on windows and doors, too. The kit allows children to design rooms of all shapes and sizes. It requires just 3 easy steps for your child to build their own 3D building. It’s the perfect building set for aspiring, young architects who will want to build, destroy, and then rebuild new structures.
Price: $42.42 (54 percent off MSRP)
3. MindWare KEVA Contraptions
The KEVA Contraptions set is a good way to get your chidlren interested in engineering, architect and design. The kit provides a fun opportunity for your child to learn how to create ramps, funnels, chutes, bridges, and crazy contraptions, and best of all, there’s no glue. That means there’s no mess for you to clean up. The KEVA Contraptions Set includes 200 identical wooden planks and 2 specially designed ping-pong-like balls for your children to create a track for. It’s like an erector set, except there aren’t any gadgets or dohickeys. This building toy is more about the teaching and learning. Your kids will be learning while having a blast not only creating new contraptions but destroying them as well.
4. OWI 14-in-1 Solar Robot Kit
If they’re less into building buildings and more into building robots, check out the OWI 14-in-1 Solar Robot kit. The 14-in-1 Solar Robot kit is the most versatile robot kit on the market, and gives the most bang for your buck. It’s solar powered, so you won’t have to worry about running to the store for batteries. The kit shows your child how to build 14 functional robots, and it will teach your kids the basic concepts behind alternative energies and how they work. As far as the fun factor is concerned, they’ll be building cool robots — how could they possibly not have any fun doing that? We also included the OWI kit in our list of the best cool toys for boys.
Price: $25.99 (33 percent off MSRP)
5. Meccano Erector Super Construction Set, 25 Models, 640+ Parts
You’ve probably heard of an Erector set by now. Meccano-Erector has had an erector set of some sort on the market for over 100 years. This Super Construction set shows your children how to build 25 different motorized models, safely. It uses a 6V electrical motor, and comes with 640)+ real metal parts. It uses just two tools (included) to build its models, and includes a storage case. The Erector set will teach them the basics of engineering and design, and it’ll certainly get the gears in their head turning as they try to figure out how to get the gears on this building toy turning.