A Mighty Girl's top picks of building and engineering toys for inventive Mighty Girls from toddlers to teens.
It starts the first moment an infant or toddler realizes that one block can balance on another block. Before you know it, building a tower to the sky (and making it crash down!) has become a favorite activity. For many kids, building toys remain favorites throughout childhood, with structures becoming more complex as kids' building skills advance. And once they can incorporate moving parts, budding engineers get to really explore all the incredible things they can put together!
If you have an amateur architect or engineer on your hands, some intriguing new building toys make a great gift idea. By expanding the materials available for building, you can help kids develop useful skills like fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, planning, and spatial perception — and, of course, let them have a great time doing it! With that in mind, we've showcased our favorite building and engineering toys for kids from toddlers to teens in this blog post, with classic building toys featured in the first part and engineering sets featured in the final section. Whether they are interested in building with blocks, bricks, rods, and connectors, or experimenting with magnets, wedges, and more, there’s something here that will intrigue every child!
For more girl-empowering toys of all varieties, check out our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide.
Building and Engineering Toys
As soon as kids learn to stack, they can start having building fun! These toys start out with simple options, but rapidly incorporate more complex forms of building capable of building more elaborate things.
The littlest builders don't just stack blocks: they also toss, squeeze, and even chew them! These squishy plastic blocks are soft enough to be safe even in the hands of overenthusiastic kids, and the BPA-, lead-, and phthalate-free material means you don't have to worry if they end up in someone's mouth. Each block also features a different animal and a number from 1 to 10, all hand-sculpted. This set comes in a recycled plastic bag for easy storage.
Even toddlers love building with Keva planks! This set of twenty Junior planks is easy to grab for little hands, and are heavy enough for new builders to stack easily. Kids will enjoy the appealing colors, while parents will appreciate that the BPA-free, eco-friendly wood composite is easy to clean. A set of activity cards gives parents ideas for how these planks can teach addition, subtraction, and other early learning concepts in a fun, playful way!
Get stacking with this big but soft blocks from ECR4Kids! The SoftZone stacking block set includes seven pieces: one large rectangle, two medium rectangles, and four small squares. All seven are made with a dense foam core that holds up to tough play, but is soft and light enough to be safe. They're covered in a polyurethane material that's colorful, easy to clean, and phthalate free. They're the perfect choice for stacking fun in either home or classroom!
Build her towers to the skies with this massive collection of 150 Mega Bloks! These chunky blocks are perfect for little builders: easy to hold, simple to click together, and safe for toddler play. They all come in a zippered bag that's big enough to store these blocks, plus more as her collection grows. For a small introductory set with 80 blocks, check out the Mega Bloks First Builders Bag.
This seemingly simple flower stacker from Grimm's offers an incredibly flexible building and pretend play experience! This blossom is 9" tall when nested and includes 9 uniquely shaped, chunk block pieces. Flip them upside down and sideways; they can become bridges, tunnels, caves, or even furniture for little dolls (not included). Made in Germany from a single piece of alder hardwood, and finished with non-toxic, water-based dyes, this toy will become a long-time favorite.
Build your own animal train with LEGO DUPLO's My First Animal Brick Box! 34 brightly colored pieces in this set allow you to build a selection of animals with fun features, including an elephant with a slide for a trunk, a crocodile with hinged jaws, a lion with an opening mouth, and a giraffe with a bendy neck. A white bird soars above the train! Parents will love these safe and easy to manipulate blocks that offer plenty of learning and play potential. For two more DUPLO sets for beginning builders, check out the DUPLO My First Number Train and the DUPLO My First Tow Truck.
There's so much to do in this stacking, nesting farm from Djeco! Stack the six sturdy cardboard blocks to make a tower for the six included soft vinyl animals to play peek-a-boo, or nest the cubes inside each other for easy storage. Each cube features a colorful design that encourages sequencing and promotes pretend play and storytelling. Plus, parents will love that these toys are durable and high quality.
HABA's signature blocks take your little one around the world where they can design, imagine and build their own palace! These wooden blocks are painted with bright, imagination-inspiring colors, and include a variety of intriguing shapes that will encourage kids to experiment with their builds. Plus, several blocks include special surprises: a mirror, a prism, a bell, and a rattle. With fourteen blocks in all, this is an excellent compact building kit or a terrific addition to your existing blocks.
When toddlers are dying for their older siblings' LEGO, give them DUPLO! These chunky-sized blocks are safe and easy to manipulate for toddlers and preschoolers, but come in the same bright colors and size ratios as regular LEGO blocks. This 80-piece set of basic rectangular and square bricks is the perfect starting point for your DUPLO collection — or, use it to expand the sets you already have.
Let toddlers and preschoolers get creative with this box of DUPLO blocks that are perfectly sized to be safe and easy to hold for little hands! This set of 160 blocks in bright colors includes a number of different shapes, including elements with printed eyes, encouraging kids to use their imaginations as they build. A set of 6 double-sided activity cards provides inspiration and ideas when necessary, but you'll be amazed what they build on their own!
Pay tribute to 32 women who changed the world with this set of heirloom-quality blocks from Uncle Goose! Each block features one woman's name, portrait, quote, and a short explanation of her historical importance. Together, the blocks can be assembled to form the Suffrage Movement slogan Deeds Not Words. They're sturdy enough for play but also make a beautiful display piece and learning tool — and, like all Uncle Goose products, they're made in the USA from sustainable Michigan basswood and non-toxic inks.
This colorful toys combines the fun of block building and train play! These maple blocks and train cars are finished with bright colors and patterns that will let their imagination run wild. The cars can be linked together or separated for even more flexible play. Parents will appreciate that the non-toxic paints are super durable, refusing to chip or peel even with rough play, but kids will just see hours of fun in their future!
Get ready to fly with the DUPLO airport! With this 29-piece set, kids can build an airport building with a luggage slide and control tower. Load the luggage on the plane where the friendly pilot is doing her pre-flight checks. Don't forget to buckle your seatbelt! With a female pilot figure and two passenger figures, kids will love imagining flying off to destinations near and far. And for more DUPLO sights around the city, check out the Family House and the Submarine.
Instead of building a tower, why not build a floral arrangement? This unique building set from Green Toys provides 44 vibrantly colored pieces that you can use to build your very own flowers! Stack the flower components on the stems and play with color, size, and shape, until it looks just right. And like all Green Toys products, you’ll feel good knowing they’re made of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic with no BPA or phthalates.
Most wooden blocks feature the A, B, Cs — but why not Au, Be, and Cu? This beautiful set of solid-wood blocks from Uncle Goose features all the elements of the periodic table, complete with symbol, name, and atomic number These ethically-made and eco-friendly blocks would be a hit with an adult chemistry fan, too! For two more heirloom-quality science-themed block sets, check out the Dinosaur Building Blocks and the Fossil Building Blocks.
It's time to learn about where our food comes from with the LeapBuilders Food Fun Family Farm! This 50-piece farm-themed set has blocks that are just the right size for little hands, making them easy to hold and build with. Add the interactive Smart Star, though, and you unlock a world of learning: you can trigger sounds, press the question button to hear learning phrases and questions about healthy foods, and play music! This set is compatible with other LeapBuilders sets to unlock even more learning magic.
You can build all sorts of things with Bristle Blocks by Battat! These plastic blocks features soft interlocking bristles that are easy to put together at any angle, avoiding the frustration other building systems can create. That flexibility also allows kids to build amazing 3D shapes and structures! This set includes 128 brightly colored pieces, including several animal figures, that are sure to inspire hours of creative building play.
The fair is in town — DUPLO My Town, that is! Toddlers will love to building the Ferris wheel and turning it to watch the cars go round. Then, they can rotate the 4-horse carousel with gearwheel function, and play with the big wavy slides again and again. Ride the little train, visit the ice cream kiosk, and more! This 106-piece set includes five DUPLO figures — a woman, a man, two girls, and a boy — for hours of building and pretend play fun.
Celebrate the beauty of the night sky with this set of heirloom-quality blocks from Uncle Goose! Sixteen wood blocks come imprinted with constellations, with and without lines, as well as other interesting facts like the constellation symbol, order of magnitude, and more — and like all Uncle Goose products, they're made in the US with renewable Michigan basswood. This set is perfect for budding astronomers! For another astronomy-themed set from the same company, check out these Planet Building Blocks.
Build under the deep blue sea with this kid from Kid K'Nex! Like regular K'Nex, these rods and connectors easily click together to build detailed models, but Kid K'Nex are designed for younger builders, with large parts in bright colors, plus appealing accessory pieces like colorful eyes, fins, and tentacles. Follow the instruction sheet to build 20 suggested models, or use your imagination to replicate other ocean creatures — or come up with your own!
Budding mechanics might prefer to build a plane! Battat’s Take Apart Airplane comes with 21 vehicle parts and a power “screwdriver” with three different bits. Kids will love getting to build a real toy and pulling it apart so they can do it all over again! As they learn the process, they’ll also develop their ability to plan out an efficient building process — just like a real mechanic does. Kids who like this set can also get Battat's Take Apart Crane.
Building can get more intriguing with the addition of magnets, which allow you to create complex 3D shapes with ease. These plastic shapes with enclosed magnets on the edges allow you to build flat shapes or three-dimensional structures. Because the magnets always attract, they’re never frustrating for kids to use, and they’ll be intrigued at how they can “stick” the components together. This is a great base kit to begin your collection, and includes a selection of triangles, squares, and pentagons for diverse building potential; for even more options, the Magformers 144-piece set includes rectangles, hexagons, and other shapes.
Learn the basics of robotic engineering with this kit from Thames and Kosmos' Kids First line! As they read a book about inquisitive kids Ty and Karlie visiting an automated candy factory, kids build non-motorized models of the ten robots in the story, learning about concepts like gear trains and simple machines. Large pieces make it easy for preschoolers to build all by themselves — and to experiment on their own when the story is done.
With Wonder Makers from Fisher-Price, kids can unlock their ingenuity as they use the same pieces to build all sorts of things! This Build Around Town set includes over 75 reconfigurable play pieces that they can use to make into buildings, tracks for vehicles, and more. There's no wrong way to play and plenty to discover in this town!
She can fix and build anything with this 72-piece wood toolbox set from Hape! Classic hand tools like a vice, wrench, and screwdriver are included, plus a build-on toolbox and enough screws and wood pieces to make some of her own creations. This toy is great for inspiring a love of STEM and for building skills like fine motor coordination, problem-solving, and planning, and parents will love the durable and child-safe construction and finishes. For added fun, the set even converts into a robot! For a large-scale version, check out the Master Workbench Play Set.
If your kids love music, why not let them build their own wacky musical instrument? This set from Quercetti allows you to assemble your very own instrument out of ABS plastic parts. The set includes two mouthpieces and two trumpet-style bells, so you can even make a pair of instruments to play with a friend. By joining the variously shaped pieces, you can make an instrument like nothing the world has ever seen — and find out what it sounds like when you play it!
Combine power tools and bright colors with this set from Educational Insights! Kids can follow one of the 20 included pattern cards or come up with their own patterns. With 120 bolts in 5 colors, they've got plenty of inspiration in the box. Three different bits fit both the screwdriver and the drill, and then the included wrench helps them get all the pieces out to start all over again.
For all the kids who gaze longingly at older kids' K'Nex toys, now there are Kid K'Nex designed for small hands and younger minds! The chunky soft pieces are easy for younger kids to use, and the 1:1 scale idea cards make it easier for them to duplicate the end result. This set includes fun eye and ear/wing piece to allow kids to make all kinds of crazy creatures; ideas for eight creatures are included and the rest are up to their imagination! For another creative set of Kid K'Nex, check out the 100-piece Budding Builder Tub.
With these clever gears, you can build 3D creations that you can then set spinning! Because all the gears are the same size, it's easy to put together the interlocking bases, the connectors, and the gears themselves. Then, attach a crank and see what happens when you turn it! Kids who enjoy this set can also check out themed ones like Movin' Monkeys and Wacky Wigglers, but for free building play, it's hard to beat the 150 pieces in this Super Set.
These building toys are fun little suckers! These flexible, suction-cup-tipped building components are easy to squish together and pop apart; they also stick solidly to most flat surfaces, including tabletops, windows, and even the bathtub. Because they're bendy, kids can experiment with shape easily as they build vehicles, robots, jewelry, and more. This deluxe set includes 50 Squigz to get you started. For the littlest builders, you can get pipSquigz for age 6 months to 2 years, a set of three large, textured Squigz toys that are good for building but also make a great teething toy.
Explore a new way to create a marble run with these magnetic foam pieces you can set up on a fridge door or magnetic board! Kids can create their own run or duplicate one of the designs on the activity boards, but that's not all: because the magnetic pieces can be adjusted in all sorts of ways, they'll get to explore problem solving and engineering by manipulating the height and angle of the pieces to see what makes the marble speed up, slow down, or change direction. Plus, storage is simple, with flat pieces that tuck away neatly.
You can create a beautiful spinning flower garden with this Gears! Gears! Gears! set from Learning Resources! In addition to the colorful gears, kids have flowers, stems, and even insect components like butterflies, bees, and ladybugs. Slot the gears together and turn the handle to watch your creation spin -- then pull them apart and build something new! You can even combine the set with other Gears! Gears! Gears! sets for plenty of flexible fun.
Magna Tiles are another magnetic building toy that provides great play potential. These solid tiles are great for simulating bricks, windows, and plating on the outside of vehicles. They’re great for playing with pattern and shape, either in two or three dimensions This 32-piece set with clear colors will get you started, or you can get the 100-piece Clear Colors Magna Tiles Set, which includes a variety of sizes and shapes of tiles, including large and small squares and isoceles, equilateral, and right-angle triangles, all in a translucent plastic that's sure to spark the imagination.
If you remember loving Tinkertoys as a kid, you’ll be happy to hear that they’re back and better than ever! The new Tinkertoys include redesigned versions of all the rods, spools, connectors, and other pieces you experimented with as a kid. The new plastic rods are slightly flexible, allowing kids to try structures that weren’t possible with the rigid wood rods of the previous version. Best of all, the new set is compatible with older wood Tinkertoys so you can expand your childhood set as you pass it on to a new generation! This Super Building set comes with 200 pieces and instructions to build 30 different models.
Build in three dimensions quickly and easily with these magnetic shapes from the makers of Magna-Tiles! Twenty-nine translucent 3D shapes, including cubes, square pyramids, triangular and rectangular prisms, and hexagonal prisms spark imagination with their bright colors and their easy assembly. Because the high-quality magnets are embedded in each shape, they're safe for kids as young as 3 to use, and their sturdy construction means they'll hold up to years of exciting building adventures.
In The Incredibles 2, Elastigirl gets to show us her stuff — and with this set from LEGO Juniors, kids can build and play out her adventures! Create a detailed rooftop scene, complete with helipad, helicopter with hypno-propellor, and the Elasticycle. The Elastigirl figure can use her long stretchy arms to chase Screen Slaver across the city! This LEGO Juniors set offers an exciting completed project that's easy for younger kids to build.
Little kids can do real science with this Deluxe Scientific Workbench from Hape! This workbench comes with 79 pieces, including everything you need to demonstrate key scientific principles with 15 experiments. Kids can build a Digger, a Zoetrope, a Rotating Light, and more, learning about the secrets of physics as they go. It's sure to inspire plenty of scientific discovery!
Imagine getting to build your very own amusement park! This kit lets kids do just that. By following along with the illustrated storybook, kids use the 97 pieces to build amusement park attractions, including a roller coaster and a Ferris wheel, and learn how they work along the way. You can build 20 models with this kit, or experiment with the pieces to see what other rides you can come up with! Fans of this kit can also get an Automobile Engineer kit to build 10 different vehicles.
Jessie the cowgirl and her friends are on their way to an exciting vacation in this LEGO set based on Toy Story 4! This 178-piece set is designed to be easy for new LEGO builders, with a "Perfect Start" chassis for the RV, which has a removable roof and a detailed interior. Minifigures of Jessie, Rex, Forky, and a three-eyed alien are all included for plenty of pretend play fun!
Build elaborate castles with this 150-piece wooden castle building set from F.A.O. Schwarz! Each piece is built of solid natural pine, so it can hold up to tough play (like an invading army.) The set includes a wide array of pieces, including turrets, bridges, arches, and more. Details like cutouts and burned-in windows allow kids to imagine their castle full of people! It's an open-ended set that's sure to promote hours of building and imaginative play.
For another twist on block building, check out this unique building set! These precision cut pine planks are all the same size, which allows them to stack with surprising stability — no glue or connectors required! This set includes 200 of the planks, which provides a great foundation for your building, but since all Keva planks are identical, you can easily expand your building by getting additional sets. Because the planks don't lock together, kids will develop a better understanding of gravity and balance as they build.
If you've ever tried to create a LEGO project of your own, you know how quickly you seem to run out of the basic bricks — there never seem to be enough 2X4, 2X2, and 1X2 blocks! This set will fix that with a great selection of 1,000 basic bricks. This massive set will have kids will stretching their imaginations to create the projects they see on the enclosed activity cards or to build inventions of their design!
Bring a little fantasy adventure to your marble run with this creativity-inspiring kit from Quadrilla! This marble run features design elements based off a Medieval castle, complete with towers, a column, a windmill, a hanging drawbridge, and more. The set comes with stickers to customize your castle pieces, and play elements including a griffin, a dragon, and more! It's a unique way to bring storytelling fun to your marble run play.
The beauty of LEGO is in its flexibility, which encourages creativity in young builders — and there's no better way to inspire than to give kids a big selection of bricks of all shapes, sizes, and colors! This big box of bricks includes 790 classic LEGO bricks in 33 different colors, including fun unique pieces like wheels, windows, dpprs, and more. It's a great way to stock your brick box with plenty of materials to get creative juices flowing. For a smaller set with 484 pieces, check out the Lego Classic Medium Creative Bricks Box.
Quadrilla from Hape is the most stable wooden marble run on the market and so much fun for kids and adults! Children will love constructing their own unique designs and watching the way marbles roll through them, or copying the wonderfully concise designs included in the Twist and Rail play manual. Start simple to get the hang of all the color coded blocks, then increase the complexity of designs. How high can you build?
Build a whole community with this massive, 1,907-piece set from LEGO Education! Kids can use the blocks in this set to create a wide variety of community locations, including a zoo, a theme park, a restaurant, and more. Plenty of minifigures are includes to inhabit your community, and the included elements even let you build a few animals for your town. Up to six kids can work at once with this set, making it the perfect choice for classrooms or larger families of builders.
Explore engineering and design with this kit from Learning Resources! As kids work with the 100 easy to assemble building pieces and the included activity cards, they'll learn to complete engineering challenges, building their problem-solving skills and their understanding of key principles of design and architecture. Fans of this set can also check out the Castle Engineering and Design Set, the Tree House Engineering and Design Set, and the Skate Park Engineering and Design Set.
This is a real tool set that's perfect for budding builders! This tool set from Stanley Jr. looks and feels just like Mom or Dad's tools — and they're build to last like them, too. The only difference is that they're scaled down to fit a child's hands. Included are a hammer, No. 1 and No. 2 Phillips screwdrivers, a tape measure, and safety goggles. And to give her an easy first building project, check out the Stanley Jr. Toolbox Building Kit.
There are so many possibilities in these clever little flakes! Brain Flakes discs can click together in a wide variety of angles, so you can build up, sideways, and out. They're easy to put together or separate, so even kids who are just developing fine motor skills can get in on the fun! This set includes 500 flakes that come in a variety of bright, fun colors, all in a reusable storage jar.
You'll be amazed at what you can build with these simple planks! KEVA maple planks are perfectly cut, identical construction blocks that stack with surprising stability. Narrow towers can reach all the way to the ceiling! Incredible stability is achieved by cutting the planks with great precision, but since all the pieces the same, no energy is wasted searching for specific shapes or connectors. Young builders will enjoy simply stacking, while older ones will explore the incredible potential of this kit to create elaborate structures.
Before they can go on their epic quest for discovery, Anna and Elsa finally have time to enjoy their home in Arendelle together! Fans of Frozen will love this LEGO Frozen II Arendelle Castle Village building set. This 521 piece set allows kids to build a three story castle; each floor can be removed and reassembled for access inside for pretend play. Outside, they'll find market stalls and a boat ready to take them on an adventure! There are hours of play potential to be found inside. For two more Frozen II LEGO sets, check out the Anna's Canoe Expedition set for ages 4 and up and the buildable Olaf set for ages 6 and up.
This is a new take on the traditional marble run! Q-Ba-Maze blocks can be interlocked in incredibly complex shapes — instead of lines and curves, think diamonds, pyramids, and even animals! Since many blocks offer multiple exit points, the paths are more unpredictable too, meaning every run is exciting. This big box of Q-Ba-Maze blocks includes 72 cubes in five different colors, as well as 20 steel balls. Combine as many sets as you want for truly spectacular results! To add even more Q-Ba-Maze fun to your collection, check out the Colossal Set for ages 6 and up, which includes stunt pieces like light-up cubes, spirals, trampolines, wheels, and more.
Encourage creative building and flexible thinking with this special edition LEGO set that asks what YOU can do to make the world more fun! This set features 295 LEGO pieces in a variety of colors, including bricks, two minifigures, accessory pieces like eyes, vines, food, and more, and even a suggested build book that offers varying degrees of complexity for developing builders.
Join Lucy and meet the shape-shifting Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi for the first time with this set from The LEGO Movie 2! With the 115 included pieces, you'll build Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi's horse form, standing on a rotating platform, and her assistant Barnarnar. Mayhem and Susan minidolls stand by their queen, while WyldStyle looks on in disbelief. You can also take Queen Watevra apart and rebuild her into the pile-of-bricks form instead. Bricks with different facial expressions let you play out all sorts of adventures. For even more shape-shifting building, check out Queen Watevra's Build Whatever Box — or, younger fans of the movie can check out the Lego Movie 2: Visitors from the DUPLO Planet set.
Challenge your brain and develop your building skills with this puzzle game from Mindware! Keva planks are perfectly cut, identical blocks that stack with incredible stability. In this game, you'll try to take images from the idea cards and replicate them in three dimensions with the planks. As the challenges ramp up in difficulty, you'll grow your problem solving and logic skills! This set includes 75 Keva planks, 40 puzzle cards, and 8 design cards that encourage kids to exercise their creativity building their own structures.
Get ready for space exploration with this NASA-inspired modular space station kit from LEGO! The 412 pieces in this set build three detachable compartments — a kitchen module, a living module, and a lab module complete with light brick — plus a central airlock compartment, a detachable satellite, and a detachable shuttle. To help budding builders learn more elaborate building techniques, you can build this set with Instructions PLUS from the LEGO Life app, which lets kids zoom, rotate, and visualize their creation as they go. To get your LEGO minifigures to the space station, check out this LEGO Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control set for ages 7 and up.
Build and rebuild Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi with this Build Whatever Box inspired by The LEGO Movie 2! This versatile 455-piece set has instructions to build 15 versions of the shape-shifting queen, from a grumpy volcano to a happy butterfly or colorful rocket. Then, add the colorful blocks to your LEGO collection for plenty of open-ended building play!
With this 174-piece set, you get three building projects in one! Build a mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex, complete with the rib cage of its (former) prey. Then, rebuild to create a Triceratops or a Pterodactyl. Uniquely shaped and colored pieces make this a great addition to your LEGO bin. For more exciting building kits, visit our LEGO Collection.
Kids can bring their creations to life with the LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox! This 847-piece set allows kids to build five multifunctional models, and then learn the basics of coding so they can teach their models to dance, interact, or explore. The easy-to-use LEGO Boost app (which is compatible with many newer phones and tablets, as well as most Windows 10 devices) provides a step-by-step guide to building, and then encourages kids to explore their own ideas. Older kids can explore robotics through LEGO with the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Kit for ages 10 and up.
Luciana dreams of a future in space — and now you can build her space lab room with this 225-piece building kit from Mega Blox American Girl! Kids will build Luciana a telescope, a model rocket, and even a robot assistant. Once the kit is assembled, you can play out all of Luciana's adventures and discoveries! Future astronauts will love this set, which includes an articulated Luciana miniature figure.
Build incredible chain reactions of wacky machines with this kit from Klutz and LEGO! The idea book includes directions for ten LEGO machines that can turn, pivot, drop, and more... put them together and you can create a truly impressive series. 33 unique LEGO elements are included; the only other thing you need is standard LEGO elements — and a little ingenuity! Along the way, kids will learn about simple machines and some of the basic scientific principles that power the gear we use every day.
Julie trains hard to make the team in this 223-piece set from Mega Bloks American Girl! Being your best takes discipline and practice, so every day Julie bikes to the basketball court to improve her skills. Kids will build a training court complete with a water fountain, basketball net, and more with this set. Then, they can imagine Julie's adventures as she scores the winning points! For another set featuring an active American Girl, check out the Isabelle's Ballet Recital building set.
Even objects that don't move require a lot of engineering know-how! In this set from K'Nex Education, kids learn about seven different bridge types and the physical forces — like tension, load, force stress, and more — that affect whether a bridge can hold up to the weight it carries. By building these model bridges and testing how they work, kids will get a new appreciation to the engineering behind the infrastructure we take for granted.
In this story-based STEM kit from Thames & Kosmos, Pepper Mint is visiting her primatologist aunt in the jungles of Borneo. The treehouse where they're staying is not connected to the electrical power grid, but Pepper and her aunt devise various mechanical inventions, from a rope ladder to a pulley to lift heavy objects into the treehouse to a rotating palm leaf umbrella, and more. This kit includes all the materials to build the treehouse and do the projects, a full-color illustrated storybook and step-by-step instruction manual, and a scale Pepper Mint figure.
You can create touch-activated inventions that control your stuff with this fun and inspiring set from littleBits Electronics! Step-by-step instructions for 8 projects are included — including a Burgler Buzzler, a Top-Secret Safe, and more — but once you've tried those, you can experiment with your own ideas without having to solder or glue. Plus, all littleBits components are compatible with one another, so you can build just about anything you imagine. For another fun set from littleBits, check out the Gizmos and Gadgets set.
This enchanted unicorn kit has everything you need to create a buildable, codable UnicornBot! The 3D, 360° animated building instructions on the free JIMU app (compatible with devices using iOS 9.0 and up or Android 5.0 and up) will guide you through assembling the 440 parts, including smooth motion servos, a motor, and an RGB light-up horn. Then, you can use the easy-to-learn Blockly coding platform to teach your Unicornbot to move, pick-up objects, recognize colors, and more! It's a fantasy-inspired introduction to the basics of robotics and coding that kids will love.
Part track system, part marble run, Gravitrax is a unique way to explore gravity and momentum! By building different levels and experimenting with track styles and features like curves, freefalls, and even a cannon, kids will discover how to control the speed of the ball they drop and make it do truly awesome tricks. With over 100 pieces in the starter set and 18 different building elements, its open-ended design is perfect to encourage budding tinkerers and engineers!
With the Base Inventor Kit from littleBits, creative kids have everything they need to turn their ideas into inventions! littleBits are modular electronic components that connect with no glue or solder, making them a quick and easy way to prototype. With a range of bits that move, light up, and make noise, kids will try 12 different projects, including a voice-activated robotic gripper arm and a room-protecting Intruder alarm — then, they'll come up with their own inventions! Plus, this set is compatible with all other littleBits sets, so you can build her collection as much as you'd like.
"More than one innocent life shall be spared" — thanks to Hermione Granger and her Time Turner! In this 496-piece LEGO Harry Potter set, kids build Hagrid's two room hut and pumpkin patch. Rescue Buckbeak — whose wings really move! — from the Ministry's executioner. Six minifigures, including Hermione, Harry, and Ron, are included, and there's even a battery-powered light-up brick for the fireplace.
K'Nex take a trip to the fairground with this set! Kids can use the K'Nex pieces in this box to build three fair rides — a swing ride, a Ferris wheel, and a boom ride — that actually move. The included instruction manual doesn't just teach kids how to build the models: it also explains the physical principles that govern the way these machines work. This set is perfect for home use, but it can also be used in classrooms, so up to three kids can work together on these fun projects.
One of the great challenges of this century will be developing alternative energy sources, and this kit teaches kids about some of the most common ones! Using the guide for this kit, kids will learn about solar power, hydroelectric power, windmills, geothermal energy, and more. Then, they'll learn how batteries can store that power to be used in the future. Use this kit alone, or combine it with other Snap Circuits kits to power your own projects!
Relive the thrill of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with this 430-piece LEGO set that lets you build the Beauxbatons' students' flying carriage! Elaborate printed filigree shows off the Beauxbatons' taste for luxury, while the elegant pegasus pull it through the air. On the ground, Hagrid waits to guide them in to a safe landing. Then, you can rebuild the carriage into a two-floor bedroom and dining area where they'll stay during the Triwizard Tournament. Madame Maxine, Fleur Delacour, and Gabrielle Delacour are all included in this set.
This is an invention kit for everyone! Using the pieces in the MaKey MaKey set, nearly any ordinary object can become an input device for your computer. As long as the item you pick is mildly conductive, you can make it work with any program — so you can type a letter using an alphabet soup keyboard, or play a song on a keyboard made out of bananas! This creative and inspiring kit can be used by kids as young as three with adult assistance; older kids can let their imaginations run wild on their own.
What will you build with this science kit from Thames & Kosmos? Budding architects will be fascinated as they explore 20 guided model builds using flexible building pieces that mimic steel frames. Learn how to build a soaring tower, a sturdy dome, a spinning Ferris wheel, and more. As kids work their way through the 44-page, full-color manual, they'll learn more about building techniques and materials in the 20th century and how they're allowing us to build bigger than ever before!
Build and customize your own musical instruments with this kit from littleBits! littleBits are modular electronic components that click together without glue or solder, making them perfect for kids to experiment. In this kit, kids will do 12 activities that teach them how to build high-tech instruments like a synth guitar and air drums. Then, play your instruments in a variety of different ways — and take the apart to invent your own. This kit is also compatible with all other littleBits kits, so the only limit is your imagination!
Fans of the ultimately adaptable Pokemon Eevee will love this building set from Mega Construx! In this 470 piece set, you'll find enough pieces to build all nine of Eevee's evolutions, with each evolution's pieces contained in its own color-coded building compartment. Once you've built your Eevee evolutions, you can post the fully articulated figures for an exciting display, or use them in conjunction with other Mega Construx Pokemon sets to imagine the ultimate Pokemon battle!
Get ready to sail the Minecraft seas with this 386-piece LEGO set! Build a pirate ship with gold detailing, a pirate banner, a gangplank, and a cute resident parrot. Then, get ready to fend off the hostile mobs with the flick-missile cannons. Place the zombie minifigure in the special base for a fire effect! This set comes with minifigures of Alex, a pirate skin, and a zombie, as well as pieces to make a Minecraft dolphin and sea turtle.
Create your own custom Droid — and learn a little about inventing and prototyping — with this Star Wars Droid Inventor kit from littleBits! With the free Droid Inventor app, kids will give their R2 unit some new abilities over 16 missions. Then, they can use the easy littleBits components to experiment with their own inventions! The modular parts snap together easily with no glue or soldering, perfect for quick and easy inventing and problem-solving. This set is compatible with all other littleBits sets, so the only limit is your imagination.
The innovative Snap Circuits sets allow kids to explore electronics with easy, snap-together modular components — no soldering or glue required! With this kit, kids can explore how fiber optics, LEDs, and other light sources work to make light a key — and often underappreciated — part of technology. The 55 pieces can create 182 projects, or you can add the pieces of this kit to other Snap Circuits sets for endless possibilities. For a similar set that explores sound and recording, check out Snap Circuits: Sound, also for age 8 and up.
With this fun kit from littleBits, kids can build their own interactive space rover! littleBits are easy-to-use electronic building blocks that snap together with magnets and allow anyone to build, invent, and prototype. The space rover kit comes with 34 components that kids can use to complete 30 space-themed projects inspired by the challenges facing real NASA astronauts and engineers, including a space rock collector and an alien life detector. It even includes stories of real-life space pioneers to inspire young explorers and engineers. Once they've tried the included projects, kids can experiment endlessly with their own inventions!
Engineer in a new way with this combination of Snap Circuits modular electronic components and compatible Brics! Kids can wire up their brick builds with Snap Circuits lights, sounds, moving parts, and 3-D circuits to invent almost anything and make it go! This set includes 20 Snap Circuits component parts, 75 bric-2-snap adapters, and 140 fully compatible building bricks full-color, plus an easy-to-read project manual that guides young builders through 20 different building projects.
Avengers, assemble — including you! With this set from littleBits, kids will join their favorite Avengers, including Iron Man, Black Panther and Shuri, and Ant-Man and the Wasp, to create their own superhero identity. Eighteen in-app activities get kids building gear with the easy to use littleBits components, adding new abilities with easy block coding, and designing the perfect superhero icon with the LED Matrix bit. Authentic Avengers sound effects make this an absorbing and exciting way to learn real STEM skills!
Snap Circuits will drive you up the walls with these new 3D kits! New Snap Modules allow you to go vertical with Snap Circuits pieces, allowing you to work in multiple dimensions rather than just on a flat board. The 3D Illumination kit allows kids to explore electricity and light with their Snap Boards in a variety of different configurations. Directions for over 150 projects are included, or let your imagination run wild!
Whizz through a scene from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker with this LEGO building set! With this 373-piece set, kids will build Rey's transport speeder and a First Order treadspeeder that can race across the sands of Pasaana. Kids will love details like the transparent stand for the treadspeeder that makes it look like it's really hovering. Minifigures of Rey, a First Order Jet Trooper, and First Order Treadspeeder Driver, plus a small BB-8 droid figure, provide hours of imaginative play potential.
Older kids are ready for a more sophisticated understanding of the simple machines that are the foundation of nearly every piece of technology. In the Levers and Pulleys kit from K'Nex, kids will learn about 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class levers, as well as fixed, movable, and combination pulley systems. Eight different models show a variety of applications of these principals. Add the Gears and Wheels, Axles, and Inclined Planes sets to complete the picture.
Fans of Snap Circuits will be over the moon at this enormous kit! All the parts you need for over 750 different projects are included; you'll build a sound activated switch, a lie detector, and adjustable light controller, and more. 80 color-coded pieces make it easy to assemble the projects by following the detailed manual, or to work out your own ideas. It even includes a computer interface so you can view waveforms and frequencies, just like a real electronics engineer.
Build and recreate your favorite magical school with this detailed 4-Level LEGO Hogwarts Great Hall building set! This 878-piece set features a fireplace, benches, tables, and reversible house banners, plus the grand staircase tower with a spiral staircase, the potions room, and the treasure room. There's a wide variety of magical artifact accessories, a buildable Fawkes the phoenix and basilisk, and plenty of minifigures, including Ginny Weasley, Professor McGonagall, and, of course, Hermione Granger! You can also add the LEGO Hogwarts Express kit to give your young wizards a way to get there, or the LEGO Hogwarts Clock Tower which includes scenes from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. And for a truly massive build, check out the 6020-piece LEGO Hogwarts Castle set for ages 16 and up.
Explore the wonders of the Hogwarts Clock Tower with this 922-piece LEGO building set inspired by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire! Inside the clock tower, you'll create Dumbledore's office, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, and the Icy Ballroom where the moving dance function allows characters to spin and twirl. Eight Yule Ball minifigures are included, including Hermione Granger, Fleur Delacour, and Madame Maxine.
Build a tribute to some of the ground-breaking women who took America into space with this much-anticipated set from LEGO Ideas! This fan-designed set features astronomer Nancy Grace Roman; computer scientist Margaret Hamilton; astronaut and physicist Sally Ride; and astronaut, physician and engineer Mae Jemison, each as part of a vignette depicting their role with NASA. It's a wonderful way to inspire the women in STEM of future generations!
Combining the versatility of the LEGO building system with the most advanced technology we've ever developed, the new LEGO Mindstorms EV3 set allows you to create and command robots that walk, talk, think and do anything you can imagine. Follow the building instructions to create TRACK3R, R3PTAR, SPIK3R, EV3RSTORM and GRIPP3R, or make your own creation, and bring them to life with an easy, intuitive and icon-based programming interface.
Get inspired by New York City's architectural heritage with this beautiful set! 598 pieces allow you to replicate the Flatiron Building, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, and the Statue of Liberty, all on a tiled based with a decorative "New York City" nameplate. The included booklet includes interesting facts about New York's history and architecture. It's perfect for budding architects and builders!
Set your sails for a building challenge with this LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle building set!This 962-piece set allows you to build a highly detailed ship, the Leviathan. Construct the captain's quarters, cannons, masts, and more. Then you'll build a bottle using LEGO components, complete with a buildable cork and a wax seal, and a stand complete with a nameplate and a built-in "compass." It's a unique building project that you'll be delighted to display when it's done!
Books contain worlds — including this pop-up book building kit from LEGO Ideas! This 859-piece set is the first-ever buildable pop-up book in LEGO history; you can actually open and close the book without disturbing one of two scenes, grandmother's cottage from Red Riding Hood or the giant's castle in the clouds from Jack and the Beanstalk. It's a tough building challenge with an incredible result! The set also includes a booklet with a short history of pop-up books and information about both its fan designers and the LEGO designers who brought it to life.
Build an intricate and beautiful 6" tall robot-shaped music box out of wood pieces with this kit from ROBOTIME. Orpheus plays a tune called "Cycle of Happiness" and lights up — but first, you have to put him together. Assemble the 221 pieces, including laser-cut wooden components, then hand-crank the music box to get the gears moving. Orpheus' arms and legs move, as does the LED light! It's a complex building project that results in an elegant and unique display piece. For more challenging 3D builds, check out these 3D Wooden Puzzle Crafts from RoWood for ages 14 and up.
Comgrow's Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D printer is an affordable, high-performance way to get started with 3D printing! This printer comes partly assembled, allowing you to get started fast but still learn about how it goes together and operates. You'll appreciate the upgraded extruder design that prevents clogs, the magnetic hotbed sticker makes it easy to remove complete projects, and the "resume printing" function in case of an unexpected stoppage. With a 220 by 220 by 250mm (8.6" X 8.6" X 9.8") print area, you've got plenty of room to create. Plus, with its fully open-source code, it's easy for you to share ideas with the online community! All you need is some filament and you've got everything you need to get started!
Build yourself a perfectly tiny bookshop with this DIY kit from Rolife! Putting together the kit is like assembling a 3D puzzle; all of the pieces are there but you'll cut, fold, and stick to get them just right. Lay out your shop with sections for novels, history, philosophy and more! Some of your miniature books can even open to reveal their pages, and LED lights let you turn on the lamps at night. When you're done, you'll have a beautiful piece to display!