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Building blocks are a great, versatile toy that should be a part of any child's toy collection.
They allow for total freedom and creativity and there's no right or wrong way to play with them (which, incidentally, makes them a great option for children with autism). Besides being great fun, they're an excellent way to aid a toddler's cognitive development.
Naturally, blocks encourage young children to use their imagination as they envision what kind of structure they want to build. They teach toddlers spatial awareness, improve motor skills and encourage the development of their hand-eye coordination as they learn how to build, balance and fit blocks together. Kids will also learn to problem solve as they attempt to figure out how and why a construction stays up, and discover the nature of cause and effect as they play.
There are a number of well known brands you can choose from, Lego being the most popular, which kids can play with from as young as a year old. Foam blocks are great for babies (no sharp edges), wood blocks are a lovely traditional option (wooden baby toys have been entertaining children for many years!), whilst magnetic building blocks provide your child with the ultimate versatile building tool. Coloured blocks, or those that have numbers or letters printed on them, allow for even more instructive play, helping your child to recognise the alphabet and learn to count from a young age.
Whatever you're looking for, we've got an option for you here. Look through our list of the best building blocks for kids and find the perfect ones for you. Or for more construction based toys check out these kids' tool kits and these Lego gift sets that kids will love.
Our Top Choice
These chunky Mega Bloks are everything a building block should be: simple, colourful and easy-to-use. They're nice and big so are safe for children as young as one, and they come in a range of basic shapes to help your little learner build all sorts of fun creations. They come in an eco-friendly zip up bag with a handle for easy clean ups and portability, and they're compatible with all the other sets in the Mega Bloks range, so you can expand your child's collection as they grow for endless fun building possibilities. A great all-rounder.
- Price: £10
- Age: 1+
- Pieces: 60
Best For Babies
B. Toys One Two Squeeze Baby Blocks
This beautiful soft block set comes with 10 hand-sculpted blocks in an array of gorgeous colours. Each one squeaks when squeezed and features a lovely, raised animal design great for little fingers to explore, making them an excellent sensory toy for developing infants. They're soft, squishy, BPA-free and completely chewable, the perfect blocks for babies as young as six months (they even float on water which is ideal for bath time!). Packaged in a reusable toy bag made from 100% recycled fabric, this set makes a wonderful choice for any young child.
- Price: £21.99
- Age: 6 months+
- Pieces: 10
Best Magnetic Blocks
Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Set
This beautifully designed wooden block set from Tegu is a great option for children aged three and up (and makes for a great gift, too). The magnetic pieces stick together, making it easy for young children to create shapes of all kinds whilst developing their problem solving skills, pattern, shape and colour recognition. The set contains columns, cubes, planks and parallelograms, allowing for plenty of varied building options, and the blocks themselves are lead-free, plastic-free, water-based and non-toxic.
- Price: £30
- Age: 3+
- Pieces: 14
Best Wooden Blocks
Melissa And Doug Wooden Building Blocks Set
These wooden building blocks from children's favourite Melissa and Doug make for a lovely, good quality set. They come in four colours and nine different shapes, allowing for tons of different building opportunities, and with 100 blocks to the set, your child won't be running short. They're lightweight, round-edged and brightly coloured, and they're finished with a non-toxic paint that doesn't splinter, so it doesn't matter if they end up in little mouths. A great addition to the playroom.
- Price: £15
- Age: 3+
- Pieces: 100
Best Teaching Tool
SainSmart Jr. Wooden ABC Blocks
These wooden blocks don't just help improve fine motor development, develop hand-eye coordination and spark the imagination, they're also a great learning tool. With letters, numbers, animals and objects printed on each face, they make for a great multifunctional toy, helping you teach your child to count and recognise different letters of the alphabet. Made from 100% natural pine wood and individually carved and painted, they look great and will last for years. They also come with a handy net storage bag that will prevent losses and make clean ups a breeze.
- Price: £24.99
- Age: 3+
- Pieces: 40
Best For Under 5s
Lego Duplo Large Bricks Building Set
Lego is a staple in many a child's toy basket, and with good reason. Their Duplo blocks are bigger in size, perfect for younger kids as there's no swallow risk, and much easier for little hands to use. The added bonus of such a big brand is that there are so many ranges to choose from. This 120-piece set contains all your basic colourful bricks, along with a Duplo figurine and an array of special bricks ( a palm tree, traffic cone and bird's eye, for example) which are sure to encourage your child to imagine up all sorts of models, animals and cities.
- Price: £30
- Age: 18 months+
- Pieces: 120
Best For Creative Play
FAO Schwarz Wooden Castle Building Blocks Set
These magnificent castle building blocks from FAO Schwarz are sure to delight any little dreamer. Complete with turrets and towers, columns, archways and bridges, your little one will have their own fairytale castle erected in no time, improving their fine motor skills and further stimulating their imagination as they go. Made from a durable, solid wood these blocks are a great investment that will last for ages, and the whimsical design means they'll look lovely in your child's bedroom, too.
- Price: £20
- Age: 4+
- Pieces: 75
Best For Under 10s
LEGO Classic Medium Creative Brick Box Building Set
Our list wouldn't be complete without a traditional Lego collection. With a whopping 484 pieces, this classic set is the perfect comprehensive kit for your little creator, including blocks of all shapes, colours and sizes, windows, doors, eyes, wheels and more. The beauty of a set like this is that your child has the tools to create endlessly, to execute intricate designs and to build an interactive little world that they can continue to play with even after its been built. A versatile set that will prevent your child from ever getting bored.
- Price: £25
- Age: 4+
- Pieces: 484
Best For Sensory Development
Battat Bristle Blocks
These blocks are made from interlocking bristles that lock together at any angle, allowing your child to create buildings, roads, cars, trees, planes, you name it, all that's needed is a boundless imagination. Bristle blocks are excellent for aiding cognitive development in the same ways as the other blocks on this list, whilst the bristles add a textural element that provides extra sensory stimulation. A doubly beneficial option for your little one!
- Price: £21.98
- Age: 2+
- Pieces: 85
Best For Mathematical Thinking
Magformers Magnetic Construction Set
The geometric pieces in this Magformers construction set allow for extra creative play due to the magnets sealed within each edge. They can connect at any angle, meaning your little one can build way more interesting shapes than your regular house or building structure; a ball, a flower, a fish, the possibilities are endless, and because the pieces are flat, kids have the options to make shapes 2D or 3D. With 12 triangles and 18 squares included, these geometric pieces allow for unlimited creativity, whilst also encouraging mathematical thinking. Win!
Kidadl Best Buys selects the top parent-recommended products across the web for families and children of all ages. If you liked our guide to the best building blocks for kids, take a look at our pick of the best jigsaw puzzles for kids. Or why not explore something different and take a look at our guide to the best kids' lunch boxes?
- Price: £32.99
- Age: 3+
- Pieces: 30
Originally from Manchester, Olivia has spent the last couple of years living between Toronto and Vancouver. She now works as a freelance writer in London and loves literature, travel and eating anything sweet. Her love of spending time with children began when she worked as an au pair in Paris.