Building toys are one of the most recommended toys for children. Know why and how the right one can help with your child’s growth and development with this list of the best Building toys in Australia.
With so many toys and retailers in the Australian market, choosing the best building toys for your child can be a challenge. See, there are different types of building toys from Lego to marble run and traditional wooden building blocks. Some toys also allow children to build and construct using logs, gears, dominoes, cubes, straws, and even suction cups.
Aside from the type, you should also consider your child’s age, interests, abilities, and developmental stage when choosing which building toy to buy. That sounds like a bit of work, right? So to make your search easier, our team of toy design experts spent many, many hours scouring local toy retailers to find the best toys for fine motor skills, spatial skills, STEM, creativity, and engineering skills. We also found the best building toys to promote your child’s focus, persistence, and patience.
For this list, we researched several stores and top brands like Lego, Janod, Mokulock, Tegu, and Magnetic Tiles. We also searched online leading marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Catch.com.au, and Etsy.
The building toys included in this list are suitable for kids from 1 to 8 years old but are still plenty of fun for those older than that. They are all carefully chosen based on how much they can help in a child’s growth, abilities, and development. Rest assured that all the building toys listed below can help your child reach key milestones while making sure they have lots of fun.
The Best Building for Kids
- Best for Focus, Persistence, and Patience: Magnetic Tiles Pipeline
- Best for Fine Motor Skills: Duplo Brick Box
- Best for Spatial Ability: Lego Brick Box
- Best for STEM: Magnetic Wooden Blocks
- Best for Creativity: Wooden Building Bricks
- Best for Problem Solving: Brico Kids DIY Barrel
1. Best for Focus, Persistence, and Patience: Magnetic Tiles Pipeline
The Magnetic Tiles Pipeline is the perfect toy to improve your child’s focus, patience, and persistence. As with every marble run toy, this requires a certain level of planning and concentration. And since it’s common for some parts to fall or get unattached, it also teaches children about patience and problem-solving.
Aside from that, children would have to be persistent as well if they want to create a successful design and run. They will have to work carefully and figure out how to connect the pieces without knocking over the others.
This toy comes with 118 magnetic tiles, which can be built into hundreds of different designs and shapes. It can be made into a marble run track and other 3D figures like a robot, telescope, and house. Compared to other magnetic building sets, this toy offers more pieces. Meaning, that it also offers more possibilities.
We recommend this toy for kids ages 3 and up. Children can start with simple designs, like a cube or rectangle. Once they get the hang of it, they can move on to creating unique marble run tracks.
For older kids, consider getting more magnetic tiles and blocks to make it more challenging. In case you already bought other magnetic blocks from a different brand, don’t worry. It’s compatible with most brand magnetic blocks, so your child will have no problem making bigger and more complex designs.
The best part? This toy has a vibrant and colourful design. All the pieces are clear, too. So your child can easily see the marble rolling down – which brings them a different visual experience. So go check it out now!
2. Best for Fine Motor Skills: Duplo Brick Box
The Lego Duplo Brick Box is the perfect starter building set for helping develop your child’s fine motor skills. It comes with a car with moving wheels, Duplo people figures, a roof, window, bread, flowers, numbered bricks, and an assortment of original colourful bricks. All these bits and pieces can be combined into anything your child can imagine.
All the objects and pieces in this set are colourful and familiar to children, which makes it all the more stimulating and inviting. With this toy, they can create houses, cities, shops, castles, and more. Children can also use the car and people figures to engage in imaginative or pretend play.
That said, we highly recommend this toy for parents who want to help develop their child’s creative thinking and problem-solving abilities. It’s also a great toy for building their visual-spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, and language skills.
This Lego Duplo Brick Box is suitable for children from 18 months to 4 years, but it still offers plenty of fun for those older than that. Since this is a Duplo set, it is bigger and chunkier, which makes it perfect for tiny hands. It’s also easier for them to pick up, put together, and pull apart.
Our favourite thing about this toy is that it’s true to the Lego standard. Your child can drop it, twist it, bite, bend, scratch, and it would never break. So make sure to give it a try!
3. Best for Spatial Ability: Lego Brick Box
When children play with building blocks, such as this Lego Brick Box, they can develop their spatial intelligence. It allows them to manipulate real objects, stack them, and figure out how the pieces fit together. All these actions allow young children to learn about spatial relationships.
This toy comes with 790 pieces, including 2 green baseplates, 8 different types of windows and doors, wheel rims, and 6 tires. The bricks are also available in 33 different colours.
With this set, your child will surely enjoy hours of fun trying to build their own amazing buildings, cities, kingdom, and other structures. They can also let their creativity and imagination soar.
Or, you can also encourage your child to engage in “structured block play”. This toy includes some ideas or models in the box that your child can follow or copy – which can then help develop their spatial abilities.
The Lego Brick Box is recommended for boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 99 years old. Yes, Lego is for everyone at any age! For older kids, you can add this to any existing Lego collection for more complex creations. You can also challenge them to complete and follow all the building instructions and models for this particular set.
If you are looking for the best building toy, this classic Lego set is certainly a great choice. Not only can it hone your child’s spatial reasoning and intelligence, but it also improves their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, creative thinking, math skills, and language.
Sure, packing them up isn’t exactly easy and they can induce extreme pain when stepped on. But remember, this is a type of toy that your child can play and grow with, year after year. So it’s highly worth it. Go buy it today!
4. Best for STEM: Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks
The Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks Set is a great toy to get kids interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). It comes with 24 blocks in 6 shapes, which your child can experiment with and put together to form different structures.
With magnets embedded in each piece, kids can easily lock them together and pull them apart. They can be built into small or tall figures, from animals, houses, buildings, rockets, jets, and anything a child can think of. This open-ended play will then encourage your child’s imagination and creativity.
This toy is suitable for children from 1 year and up. While the magnets are well concealed and do not come loose, adult supervision is required especially for younger children. On the other hand, for older kids, consider getting more blocks for bigger and more exciting creations.
With this toy, your little scientist can learn about balance, weight, gravity, proportion, and mass. It also teaches them about how magnets work. Aside from that, it’s great for promoting thinking and problem-solving skills.
Even better, the Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks Set is great for the environment and designed to last for years. So make sure to check it out!
5. Best for Creativity: Wooden Building Bricks
The Kodomo Wooden Building Bricks are a nice toy for encouraging a child’s imagination and creativity. Including 34 fun interlocking blocks, this set can be turned into anything your child wants.
From houses to cities and castles, this toy offers endless possibilities. It also comes with a set of eye stickers that your child can attach to the side of the bricks to create fun animals.
This toy is perfect for 3-year-old kids. However, it’s still plenty of fun for those older than that. Since it’s compatible with all the other Mokulock products, you can get more wooden building bricks for more complex and bigger structures. You can also get other toys like cars and people figures to make the game more fun, especially for older children.
We highly recommend this toy to parents who are looking for building bricks that are not plastic. It’s also one of the safest choices available since it doesn’t use paint, oil, chemical, or glue.
And the best part is that since it is made of wood, it’s better for the environment, unlike other plastic toys. So go give it a look!
6. Best for Engineering Skills: Brico Kids DIY Barrel
If you are looking for a building toy that can develop your child’s engineering skills while making sure they have tons of fun, then the Brico Kids DIY Barrel is a great choice. It comes with 50 pieces, including nuts, bolts, screws, plates, blocks, and washers. It also includes a screwdriver and a wrench.
With these pieces, your child can build any contraption or vehicle they want, from planes to motorbikes, and more. Their imagination is the limit. In the process, they are also able to work on their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, spatial abilities, and problem-solving skills.
This toy is perfect for future inventors and tinkerers from 3 to 8 years old, but it’s sure to challenge even those older than that. Children can start by figuring out how each piece works and how they can connect. With practice and as they grow older, you’ll start to see more complex designs. You can also get more pieces so they can build bigger structures.
We highly recommend this toy for parents who want a more challenging building toy for their children. While it isn’t as easy as the others, it does help children get interested in STEM while improving their critical thinking and engineering design thinking.
The best thing about the Brico Kids DIY Barrel by Janod is that it offers lots of room to grow. It has great quality with a truly timeless design, your child will surely enjoy it for many years to come. So order one now!
How We Researched the Best Building Toys
Considering reliable studies on what makes a good toy and using our vast toy design experience, we were able to come up with a list of only the very best building toys in Australia.
We looked at several local toy retailers, both online and those with physical stores to see what is available. We shortlisted all the toys we liked and those highly recommended by parents. We then arranged them according to their category.
To further cut down our list, we determined which toys are the best in their respective categories. We considered their functionality, value for money, design and aesthetics, quality, durability, safety, and educational value. Of course, while giving high importance to how much fun they can be for children.
For this list, we have identified 50 different toys from 23 different retailers. After much deliberation and discussion, we were then able to reduce this down to the final 6 you see above.
That said, we guarantee that all the toys included in this list are truly the best building toys for your child.
What to Look for When Buying Building Toys
Safety should always be your priority when buying any type of toy. According to Product Safety Australia, building blocks should have no broken parts or brittle edges to avoid injury. They should also have smooth finishes with no parts that can be broken off.
You should check the paint and lacquer used on every product as well and make sure they are non-toxic. Additionally, plastic pieces should be durable and not brittle.
Aside from that, you should steer clear from building toy sets that contain small parts when buying for younger children as they can be a choking risk. If you are interested in toys with magnets, make sure that the magnets do not come off easily and are securely attached or embedded in the toy like the Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks.
When shopping for a building toy, or any type of toy for that matter, one of the most important things you have to consider is its age-appropriateness. The simplest way to check this is to look at the age recommendation provided by the manufacturer. This will serve as your guide as to whether or not the product is safe and developmentally appropriate for your child.
See, when you get your child a toy that’s too advanced, you can be risking their safety. You might also make them feel too overwhelmed, or for babies, make them over-stimulated. This can make them cry or get them cranky. For toddlers, this might result in tantrums.
Not only that but buying a toy that’s not suitable for your child’s age is also a waste of money. A 2020 study found that “children were less likely to fully utilize toys targeted toward older children than age-appropriate toys.” So if they are not able to understand and use a toy properly, then they are not able to fully enjoy it. And if they don’t enjoy it, then they won’t bother playing with it.
Educational and Entertainment Value
What’s great about building toys is that they offer tons of educational value for children. When given during their early years, building toys can help develop a child’s construction skills, which include stacking and nesting. They are also able to learn about affixing or the ability to join or attach an individual object to another.
Researchers have proposed that the “development of object construction skills could affect or reflect cognitive and language development” in young children. They further state that children who take part in constructive or building play are given additional experience with spatial relations and improve spatial skills.
However, while most building toys offer exceptional educational value, some of them might not be fun enough for your child. So while it’s important to look for what a toy can do for your child’s development, you should also consider its entertainment value. Is it appealing and interesting for your child?
For instance, small building blocks can be too difficult and frustrating for younger kids. On the other hand, older children may find jumbo bricks boring.
When buying a building toy, you must consider its durability. See, the more durable it is, the longer it can last and the more value for money you get.
A toy should be able to survive a child’s repeated handling – and mishandling. So it has to be made of stable and solid materials. Avoid those made from glass and thin plastic as they tend to break easily.
If you are buying for younger kids, you should look for toys that can be easily cleaned. This is because they still put everything they hold into their mouths. Consider those that you can just wipe down with a towel and baby wipes or wash with a gentle cleanser.
Design and Aesthetics
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), construction or building toys for 12 months or 1-year-olds should be lightweight and have no interlocking mechanisms as they can be too difficult. But around 18 months, large solid blocks and bricks that they can press together are great choices.
For 2-year-olds, building blocks and bricks should be large or around 2-4 inches (50-100mm). Then as they reach 3 to 5 years old, they can play with both large and small wooden blocks. They will also have no problem with toys with interlocking building systems like Lego.
From 3 years old and up, children will prefer sets that make more realistic models. Now, as for going with uncoloured blocks or colourful bricks, the choice is totally up to you. Plain wooden blocks have a nice feel and look to them. Plus, they are just timeless.
On the other hand, coloured blocks and bricks allow more details for your child’s creations. They also give more opportunities for teaching colours and developing language. For instance, when you say, “give me the red block.”
Benefits of Playing with Building Toys
Spatial intelligence is the ability to picture or arrange objects, numbers, images, and the self. This helps them visualise with their “mind’s eye”, seeing what something will look like even before they create it. It’s also a skill that will allow children to understand the space around them, both real and imagined.
A CIRES-led study found that those who played with construction-based toys or building toys like Legos in childhood have higher or better spatial skills. It further states that spatial skills can be critical to a person’s success in fields like science and engineering later on.
This is further proven by Amy Shelton, a director of research at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, who said: “When kids are building with blocks and Legos, they are using spatial reasoning skills.” Such skills, according to Shelton, not only have a relationship to academics, but to the fields that a person might gravitate to, and where they are going to excel.
That said, spatial skills that are learned and acquired through building toys and block play can be a sort of early training for your future mathematician, scientist, tech professional, or engineer.
Aside from spatial skills, building toys and construction-based sets support other key aspects of a child’s development, which also promotes STEM learning. According to Dr Gwen Dewar, such toys can help foster a wide range of abilities and skills – which are beneficial to a child’s success in science, technology, engineering, and math or STEM.
For instance, when children play with blocks and bricks, they are learning about the elements of science and math. Stacking and putting together different pieces exposes them to the concepts of balance, gravity, weight, proportions, and mass. Plus, they will be able to plan and predict outcomes.
When their creations fall, kids will be encouraged to solve the problem. When they put the wrong pieces together, they can experience cause and effect. Furthermore, they are able to engage in math when they start noticing the similarities and differences of the pieces, allowing them to group, classify, match, and organize them accordingly.
Blocks are among the most common building toys. And block play, according to the Iowa Regents Center for Early Developmental Education, can help develop a child’s emotional regulation.
As you may already know, playing with blocks like wooden bricks, marble runs, and Lego can be very upsetting as the pieces can tumble down with just a single move. While this may initially be very frustrating for kids, repeated play and practice will allow them to calm themselves and regulate their own emotions.
Aside from controlling their feelings, playing with building toys also teaches kids about patience and perseverance since they need to work carefully and, sometimes, slowly to be successful at what they want to create. It also develops their ability to focus on one task for a longer period.
Creativity and Imagination
Building toy sets or construction sets are types of toys that consist of standardised pieces that allow children to design and assemble different objects or structures. Usually, they can be disassembled and rebuilt into anything your child wants, letting their creativity and imagination soar.
The research entitled “Creativity in Childhood”, states that activities that enhance creativity and imagination are what encourage children to embrace divergent or different forms of thinking that in turn lead them to “innovation through the processing of unique ideas and experiences”. It further states that creative activities help develop a child’s ability to think of new ideas, express them, identify issues, and solve problems.
As children freely express their imagination and create their own masterpieces, they can build their confidence as well. Being able to form something out of their ideas gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride. As a result, they’ll have the drive and readiness to try out more complex designs and tasks in the future.
When children are forming something with their building toys, their eyes are sending visual information to the brain, telling it where the hand is. The brain will then give instructions to the hand on how it should move to create the child’s desired object.
All of these are helping develop a child’s hand-eye coordination or also called “eye-to-hand coordination”. This is the ability to use the eyes and hands together to perform a given task. It is where the eyes direct attention and where the hands have to execute the task.
Why is developing one’s hand-eye coordination important? Well, for one, it will make sure that your child can accomplish daily tasks like feeding themselves, tying their shoelaces, and more.
Aside from that, research found that young children with better hand-eye coordination tend to be better in reading, math, and writing. So if you want to help your child in their academic performance, you might want to help improve their hand-eye coordination, too.
Teamwork and Social Skills
One of the best things about building toys is that they can be played with alone or together with other people. With several pieces, it encourages kids to play with friends, siblings, parents, etc. This helps them learn how to share, take turns, and work together. They will also have to listen, interact, negotiate the rules (if any), and navigate through a disagreement.
All these situations improve a child’s social skills. It also teaches them about the concept of teamwork and cooperative play – all while having fun.
Language and Communication
Aside from cooperation and social skills, playing with building toys with other people also helps develop a child’s language and communication skills. Through the conversations during play, they will have to share their ideas and express what they want while also listening to others and their responses. They can learn about negotiating and compromise as well.
By allowing your child to build their own designs and structures, whether alone or with other people, they are also able to create stories. They can add characters, scenes, and situations complete with dialogues. As they try to narrate, describe, and explain all these, they are practising their verbal and speech skills as well as their comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary.
According to the Human Development Institute, there are very few tasks in early childhood that are as important as learning to communicate. It also states that communication skills are key for children to interact with the people in their world and to have their needs met.
Fine Motor Skills
Building toys are the perfect tools for developing a child’s fine motor skills, dexterity, and strength in their fingers. When they try to assemble and put together the pieces, they will need to pick them up, put them in their proper places, and apply different amounts of pressure. All these exercises their small fingers and fine-tune their fine motor abilities.
Engineering and architecture are among the most valuable lessons that construction and building toys can teach children. See, creating small-scale structures require the same laws of physics as that of giant bridges and buildings. So in a way, your young builder will also need to cope and understand the same concepts.
Lego, for example, allows kids to exercise creativity and learn some fundamentals of engineering as mentioned on MIT’s School of Engineering website. “Math and physics concepts” are also said to be built into every Lego project. Plus, it is through this type of toy that kids can learn about design, structural integrity, and a practical sense of geometry.
So if you want your kid to develop their engineering skills and have an early understanding of the basic concepts of engineering and architecture, then consider buying them one of the building toys listed above.
Building toys are among the top must-have toys for increasing a child’s developmental skills listed by Michigan State University. It states that Legos, magnetic blocks, and other building toys are great for building a child’s cognitive skills. And it’s no wonder why since they encourage children to think, explore, and experiment.
For example, when the pieces are not aligned or not in proportion, they will fall. This allows children to understand cause and effect. When their designs fall, break, or do not go as planned, they will also have to solve the problem. Moreover, children will have to figure out how to successfully build structures through trial and error.