Every year, around the holidays, it can be a scramble to find great ideas for all of the gifts for boys and girls that you need to buy Christmas gifts for. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, crunch time is upon us, as we’re already seeing some of the year’s hottest toys selling out (like Hatchimals and the NES Classic).
Luckily, there’s one toy category that never seems to sell out because of the sheer number of toys available; I’m talking about building toys!
Do your kids love to tinker? Does he/she love to build things? If you stick LEGOs in front of them, are they able to create masterpieces without any instructions? If this is the case, your child is in love building and construction toys, and these types of toys can not only be super fun but also useful in their development.
For example, LEGOs teaches kids to think in three dimensions, improves creative thought, boosts motor development, and more — all while they’re having fun building cool stuff.
But what type of tinker toys are right for your child? Here are the top 15 best building toys for kids:
1. LEGO Star Wars Poe’s X-Wing Fighter Building Kit
Every year, LEGO keeps pushing out new (and more intricate) Star Wars building toys that allow young Star Wars fans to build cool things from George Lucas’s sci-fi universe. With last year’s successful launch of The Force Awakens, we were given some incredible toys.
One of my favorite from last year’s line of LEGO toys is the Poe X-Wing Fighter Building Kit (75102). It measures over 4″ high and 14″ long, with a wingspan of 12″. It’s a super cool LEGO toy, with a mostly black and orange design with spots of gray. It has 717 pieces and comes with a BB-8 and three small figures.
There’s a reason that LEGO sets are always included in these lists of the best building toys for kids: there’s a set based on WHATEVER fandom they’re currently into!
Price: $63.99 (17 percent off MSRP)
2. MAG-Genius Tiles Set (182)
So, Mag-Genius Tiles are award-winning, creative tiles that allow your kids to explore their imagination and creativity with ease. With a set of 182 (there’s also a set of 60, for the record), the possibilities are endless.
The mega set also comes with 2 car bases and wheels, as well as 13 different shapes that snap together with the power of magnetism. Your kids will be able to make both 2D and 3D figures, buildings, and more with ease.
The tiles are also brightly colored, and they come with a plastic latch storage bin.
If there’s one construction toy we recommend for kids in 2018, it’s these MAG-Genius tiles.
3. LEGO Friends Amusement Park Roller Coaster Building Kit
This year, LEGO introduced us to the LEGO Friends Amusement Park Roller Coaster Building Kit, and I have to note that it’s INCREDIBLY fun. Building your own roller coaster is easy when you have all of the tools you need to do so, and this kit comes with 1124 pieces.
It includes numerous accessories, including two tickets, two photographs, boxes of popcorn, a map, sunglasses, and various food you’d find at a theme park. It has enough track to build a 27″ long roller coaster, and it includes 4 carriages. The kit also comes with a cool rotating Ferris wheel that stands a foot high and 11″ wide. It’s one of the best gifts for 8 year old girls because there’s a lot you can build with it.
Price: $79.76 (20 percent off MSRP)
4. K’Nex Model Building Set
LEGOs aren’t the only popular building toys in town, as K’Nex also has numerous building sets for kids. In the K’Nex lineup, they have a basic set of 480 various pieces that gives your kids the proper tools to fuel their creativity and imaginations.
With this construction toy, your kids will be able to build an infinite number of different creations. And unlike most LEGO sets, the K’Nex set allows them to create moving parts, including rotors, wheels, and tracks. They can build everything from moving bridges to amusement park rides to planes, which is why we think it’s one of the best toys under $25.
Price: $16.79 (40 percent off MSRP)
5. Tinkertoy 30 Model Super Building Set
Along the same lines as the K’Nex, the Tinkertoy Model Super Building Set is more of a generic, create-whatever-you-want kit. It uses basic spools, rods and connectors that gives them enough tools to create many items, including trucks with wheels that actually roll, a windmill that actually turns, and other basic structures.
Price: $36.49 (21 percent off MSRP)
6. Lincoln Logs 100th Anniversary Tin
Lincoln Logs are a classic building toy, so it’s no surprise that the company is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Seriously, I played with these when I was a kid (20 some-odd years ago), and my parents say they even played with them, too.
So when a toy stands the test of time, it’s undeniable that it has a universal appeal. And now, they’re cheaper than ever, and you won’t find a better toy deal than what they’re on sale for now, which is $29.99.
Each tin comes with 111 all-wood pieces, and they’re an American made toy that is made from real, high-quality maple wood. It’s super rare to find high-quality American made wooden toys, but Lincoln Logs are always a popular choice.
Price: $29.99 (33 percent off MSRP)
7. Meccano Meccasaur
Meccano’s popularity skyrocketed last year with the Meccano Meccanoid, and it was a toy that sold out virtually everywhere.
This year, they’re back with the Meccasaur, a programmable T-Rex robot that interacts with you and your kids. It responds to yes/no questions, reacts to being pet, and stomps around. He’s a great gift for 10 year olds, and one of the hottest toys of 2016.
Price: $69.59 (30 percent off MSRP)
8. LEGO Star Wars First Order Transporter Building Kit
I really tried not to clog up this list of the best building toys with LEGO Star Wars toys, but it’s a hard task to accomplish when they have so many cool toys available. The First Order Transporter is massive, standing 12″ long, 5″ high and 5″ wide.
It comes with a gear that lowers and raises the ramp, and it also comes with six figures, including Captam Phasma, a couple of flametroopers, a couple of stormtroopers, and a resistance soldier.
Price: $71.84 (20 percent off MSRP)
9. Thames & Kosmos Geckobot Wall Climbing Robot
The Geckobot Wall Climbing Robot by Thames & Kosmos is just one of their many fun building toy kits. It’s great for ages over 8, and it allows kids to build seven different robots.
There are step-by-step instructions to build each one in the 24-page full color manual, and before you know it, they’ll be able to build a robot that can climb up smooth surfaces. A wall climbing robot for under $50? Count us in.
Price: $39.96 (20 percent off MSRP)
10. 4D Cityscape 4D Batman Gotham City Time Puzzle (1000 Piece)
4D Cityscapes are a unique puzzle, so I’m not sure if you consider that a building toy or not. Personally, I think puzzles of this nature offer similar benefits that construction toys do. I love Batman toys, and this is another one to add to my list of favorites. 4D Cityscape Batman Gotham City Time Puzzle is best-suited for ages 14 and up, and it creates an interactlve puzzle-map of Gotham City, complete with a mini-LED bat light.
It’s a great Batman-themed gift for comic book fans, and they challenge of putting together a 4D 1,000 piece puzzle will give them a since of accomplishment once it’s complete.
Price: $55.78 (38 percent off MSRP)
11. Thames & Kosmos Remote Control Machines Kit
Making buildings and constructing structures is cool, but building custom cars is even cooler! Check out the Thames & kosmos Remote Control Machines Kit, which teaches kids how to create their own remote-control car.
It comes with an 80-page guide and instruction manual that’s easy to follow, and parts can be reconfigured to create other vehicle types. The kit comes with 260 building pieces, including an IR steering motor box, four-channel IR remote control unit, and cool decals to decorate your car with.
Price: $91.97 (8 percent off MSRP)
12. LEGO Large Creative Box
The LEGO Large Creative Box is especially great if they don’t yet have a massive LEGO collection. It comes with a whopping 1500 pieces of all varying sizes and colors, and it comes with an idea booklet to get their creative juices flowing. It’s recommended for ages 4+.
13. Meccano Micronoid
The Meccano Meccasaur is a bit advanced, but there’s a smaller, less-complicated model that’s great for those around 8 years of age. It’s called the Meccano Micronoid, and it’s one of the hottest toys under $50 this year.
There are a few different models on the market, but the coolest is clearly the green MicroNoid Switch. It comes with 139 pieces and complete instructions, and it takes much less time to put together than the Meccasaur (or last year’s Meccanoid robot).
Price: $27.99 (30 percent off MSRP)
14. KEVA Contraptions by MindWare
If you’re looking for construction toys that are a lot less technically-oriented, check out the KEVA Contraptions Plank Set, a super highly-rated kit on Amazon that allows kids to build Rube-Goldberg type contraptions using wooden blocks.
It comes with 200 pine wood planks, and they’ll use each one to build the biggest contraption they can, creating funnels, ramps, chutes, and more.
Price: $40.00 (27 percent off MSRP)
15. LEGO Mindstorms EV3
LEGO Mindstorms EV3 was a one of the biggest toys a couple of years ago, and it’s still one of the best LEGO offerings out there. It’s the same idea as the Meccano build-it-yourself robot toys, but it’s super advanced.
It’s recommended for ages 10 and over, and with it, they’ll be able to program the robot with their tablet/smartphone. There’s an included guide that shows builders how to create a handful of incredible robots (including a snake robot). If they’re an advanced builder, the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 is top-notch. Brilliant.
16. LEGO Star Wars Clone Turbo Tank
The Clone Turbo Tank is a beastly LEGO toy that features 10 rolling wheels and flexible suspension, allowing those who play with it to traverse tough terrain with ease. It has a lot of bells and whistles, including super cool rotating weapon turrets, spring-loaded shooters, extending observation posts, and dual cockpits.
The kit also comes with 4 minifigures, including Luminara Unduli, Clone Commander Gree, Quinlan Vos, and an Elite Corps Clone Trooper. It also includes two battle droids.
Price: $75.19 (32 percent off MSRP)
17. Mobilo 120 pc Set
One of the construction toys you’ll frequently see in pre-school to early grade school classrooms are Mobilo sets. These use large, colorful pieces with varying shapes and sizes, including wheels, that allow kids to have moving parts in their creations.
Mobilo sets are great for children ages 4-7 years old. They’re durable, but unfortunately this set will arrive in a plastic bag (so you’ll likely want to buy a storage bin along with it).
Still, you can’t beat Mobilo toys for the younger crowd when it comes to imagination exploration.