- 10 Innovative Building Sets For Boys & Girls To Take Everywhere They Go
- Unique Building Sets
- Magnetic Blocks For Growing Builders
- A Backpack for Lego Fans
- Pin it for later!
When I was a kid, building toys meant Lego or Lincoln Logs and not much else. So I think it’s awesome that there are so many different kinds of buildings sets out there today, and so many are made to appeal to both boys and girls.
Here are a ten open-ended building sets that are innovative and will spur creativity and develop problem-solving skills in kids aged from 2YO to 12YO. They all come in forms that your young builder can take with him or her wherever you travel.
They are flat tiles or compact shapes and they have magnets or suction or parts that clip together. They fit easily in your child’s backpack and can be used on an airplane tray table, grandma’s coffee table, a restaurant. They can even play with a few in the car.
10 Innovative Building Sets For Boys & Girls To Take Everywhere They Go
1. OMGOD Sticky Puff Balls
I saw these Sticky puff balls at a toy fair and kids from 4YO-8YO were gathered around a box of them, completely engaged. Parents couldn’t drag them away.
Take a bunch of each color from this pack of 640 for your next airplane or car ride, along with a few accessories. Kids can make bugs, animals or silly monsters wherever they go.
You might even hold some accessories back to change thrings up on the return flight or drive.
I wouldn’t go younger than 4 with these. They’re small enough to go in kids’ mouths and i’ve heard of toddlers getting them stuck in their hair!
2. Bristle Blocks building toys from Battat
Kids are never too young for the educatinal benefits of a good STEM toy.
Readers have told me they like these bristle blocks because they are colorful, kids love the textured feel and they’re easier than some other interlocking blocks for little kids to handle.
They’re perfect for the toddler to Kindgarten age group.
Some sets come with their own carrying case, but the 36-piece, which is best for travel, does not.
The Lay-n-Go drawstring bag is soft to fit easily into a backpack or tote and it opens to provides a play area.
3. Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks
I’ve long been a fan of Tegu’s colorful wooden block with magnets and my readers like them, too. They aren’t inexpensive but they’re nicely made, just the right size for small hands and they appeal to both girls and boys.
The block sets come in a few different size sets that work for travel. The 8-piece classic or travel kits, which both come with their own case are ideal for toddlers and preschoolers while slightly larger sets can travel with young school-age kids.
They’re handy for building in airplanes and cars or anywhere that you don’t want blocks spilling over and getting lost.
Unique Building Sets
4. Plus Plus Puzzle Blocks
The absolute most popular building set with my readers right now are these tubes of puzzle-shaped pieces from Plus Plus.
The Open Play tubes come in 11 sets of colors; choose the one most likely to spur your kid’s creativity.
You probably won’t travel with all 240 pieces. There are also 70-piece tubes in the Plus Plus store with very gender-targeted themes.
5. Squigz by Fat Brain
Fat Brain always has something cool on offer. Squigz, come in shapes that have two, three or four suction cups. Secure one to an airplane tray or restaurant table and you’re ready to build up, over around.
The 24-piece starter tube is just the right size for your child’s carry-on and another reader favorite.
They say they’re fine for ages three and up. But make sure your kids have the dexterity to get the suction cups to stick together.
I liked these because they don’t need a flat surface and my kid could use them in the car.. You just have to not care if the the kids stick them to the backseat windows, which they inevitably will.
6. Clip Connect by Chichalk
Clip Connect‘s atom-shaped pieces let you build out in six directions. A box of 100 seems like a lot but it’s not actually that big. With a Lay-n-Go sack kids can easily travel with some or all of them.
This is also a great construction set for the car since, again, you don’t really need a flat base.
Magnetic Blocks For Growing Builders
7. Classic Magna-Tiles
My daughter started using Magna-Tiles when she was 7YO or so and kept using them into middle school (they even staged a brief comeback during quarantine).
I can say these tiles stand the test of time. And it was worth paying a bit more for them instead of cheaper imitations.
The 2-D pieces make kids think about building in a different way, encouraging them to build around as well as up.
And they can be organized into a flat stack that fits neatly into a backpack or suitcase.
8. Q-Bix by Magna-Tiles
I will admit that I bought a Magna-Qubix 3-D building set by accident while trying to expand my daughter’s Magna-Tile collection.
But these are like traditional blocks, without the loud tumbling. And the mix of cubes, pyramids and pentagons is more versatile for building identifiable “things.”
Better still, she found ways to use to two kinds building pieces together for even more versatility.
9. PowerClix by Guidecraft
I liked adding these these PowerClix rectangles, triangles and quarter-circles to our mix of magnetic tiles.
They’re smaller, which can make 3-D and vertical building easier, and kids don’t need a large space to build with them.
The interact well with the the Magna-Tiles and the opaque colors lends some nice visual variation. Like all of these kits, they easily pack up to take on the road.
A Backpack for Lego Fans
10. Backpack with Lego Base
How cool is this? Cortex makes a backpack for carrying Legos. It has four internal pouchs for those pesky small pieces, an outside pocket and a Lego base attached to the front panel. Unzip the cover to lay it flat and start building!
There are lots of small Lego playsets that are very portable and will fit in here. But My kid always preferred a bag full of classic bricks, so she could build whatever she was in the mood for on a given day without a ready-made theme.
I might put bigger Legos in a Ziplock bag (or a few) in the backpack, so they don’t come spilling out when your son or daughter opens it.