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Gift Guide: 10 Unique Building Toys For Kids To Travel With

Gift Guide: 10 Unique Building Toys For Kids To Travel With

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.

More Gift Guides For Tots, Kids & Teens:
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Engrossing Portable Puzzles For Every Age

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!

sticky puff balls are compact to travel with and are a creativity toy kids can do a lot with.

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.

battat males building toys for toddlers to take everywhere they go.
tegu magnetic wooden blocks are nicely made, come in fun colors and are easy to play with anywhere.

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 multicolored Butterfly set and monochrome robot set can make far more than their eponymous objects and have gender-neutral colors.

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.

plus plus building pieces look like parts of a puzzle but are an open-ended building toy kids can play with anywhere.
sguigz have suction which make them excellent for building in laces where yuo don't want blocks to scatter.

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.

clip connect is a stem toy with atom-like shapes that let you build in any direction.

Magnetic Blocks For Growing Builders

kids can play with classic magna-tiles for years, and can augment the basic squares and triangles iwht polygons.

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.

The classic 32-piece set of squares and triangles is a great place to start, but I would throw in the 8-polygon expansion, too. They can take building off in entirely cool directions.

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.

magna-qubix are magnetic cubes that kids can build with anywhere, with fear of them going all over.
powerclix are magnetic building toys that come in 3 shapes that kids can use to buildin 3 dimensions

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.

this backpack was made for carrying lego bricks and building on the go. it opens up to provide a sturdy dotted base for building anywhere.

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here are 10 creative and unique building sets your kids can use in cars, on planes, at grandma's, in a hotel. anywhere your stem-loving kid wants to build.