Best Blocks for Toddlers [Our Top 12 Picks for 2020]

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If you’re shopping for toys for toddlers, a great set of blocks is an absolute must-have. Not only are they fun, inexpensive, and versatile, they are also a great early introduction to key STEM subject areas like engineering, construction, and design. Blocks are a great way to develop fine motor skills, practice problem solving, and encourage creativity and imagination.

I love that a great set of blocks will grow with your toddler. Your child may start with some very basic constructions, but as their skills develop, they can create some more complicated designs.

Blocks for kids are also flexible. Use them for counting, color matching, and shape recognition, or even incorporate them into imaginative play. They’re an excellent choice to encourage independent play but also a great opportunity to play together. Building blocks are an all-round winner in my book, and our pick for overall best building blocks is the Melissa and Doug 100 Piece Wooden Blocks Set. These classic colored timber blocks are lots of fun and great for open-ended play. 

Our Top Picks
Best Overall
Melissa & Doug 100-Piece Wood Blocks Set
Best for Creative Play
LEGO DUPLO Classic Brick Box 10913 First LEGO Set with Storage Box, Great Educational Toy for Toddlers 18 Months and up, New 2020 (65 Pieces)
Budget Option
Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x LED Lighted Pocket Microscope for Learning, Education and Exploring (MM-24, MM-24MU)
Name
Melissa and Doug 100 Piece Wooden Blocks Set
LEGO Duplo Classic Brick Box
Plus Plus Big Basic Set
Features
Durable wooden blocks with round edges and smooth painted finish - perfect for kids aged 3 to 8
A LEGO set for toddlers that comes with moving pieces, DUPLO people figures, and number bricks - ideal for kids 18 months and up
Interconnecting pieces that are perfect for little hands
Best Overall
Our Top Picks
Melissa & Doug 100-Piece Wood Blocks Set
Name
Melissa and Doug 100 Piece Wooden Blocks Set
Features
Durable wooden blocks with round edges and smooth painted finish - perfect for kids aged 3 to 8
More Info
Best for Creative Play
Our Top Picks
LEGO DUPLO Classic Brick Box 10913 First LEGO Set with Storage Box, Great Educational Toy for Toddlers 18 Months and up, New 2020 (65 Pieces)
Name
LEGO Duplo Classic Brick Box
Features
A LEGO set for toddlers that comes with moving pieces, DUPLO people figures, and number bricks - ideal for kids 18 months and up
More Info
Budget Option
Our Top Picks
Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x LED Lighted Pocket Microscope for Learning, Education and Exploring (MM-24, MM-24MU)
Name
Plus Plus Big Basic Set
Features
Interconnecting pieces that are perfect for little hands
More Info

Related post: Best Science Kits for 3-Year-Olds

Best Blocks for Toddlers

Best Overall – Melissa and Doug 100 Piece Wooden Blocks Set

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Best Overall
Melissa and Doug 100 Piece Wooden Blocks Set
A classic set of blocks for kids with endless building options.

This is a classic set of wooden blocks and one that should be part of every toddler’s playtime. There are plenty of wooden building block sets on the market, but we must say that Melissa and Doug’s 100 Piece Wooden Blocks Set is our best pick. Well made with rounded edges and a smooth painted finish, your child’s little fingers won’t end up with splinters!

These wooden building blocks will appeal to young children with their bright colors (the set is also available in a natural timber finish) and range of shapes (there are nine shapes in all – plenty of scopes to build whatever their imagination comes up with!). 

These wooden building blocks are simple, but that’s often what you need for construction play. Stack them high and knock them over, line them up in straight or curvy lines, or build an amazing house, castle or tower. The opportunities are endless, and your toddler will be developing a host of STEM skills and fine motor skills while they playdefinitely a great all-round block option!

Best for Creative Play – LEGO Duplo Classic Brick Box

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Best for Creative Play
LEGO Duplo Classic Brick Box
A great starter set with everything your toddler needs to get creative.

LEGO are the leaders in building blocks for kids, and their Duplo range is perfect for younger builders. For quality, creative options, and fresh ideas, parents will never go wrong with a LEGO building set. The LEGO Duplo Classic Brick Box is a great starter set for toddlers. This block set comes with 65 bricks plus a few nifty little bits like a car with moving wheels, flowers, a window, and two Duplo people. The colors in this set are lovely and, as always, the pieces are compatible with all other Duplo sets.

The pieces are the perfect size for toddler hands and, like all LEGO products, are virtually indestructible! I like that there are building ideas provided if you need inspiration, or you can just let your toddler come up with their amazing designs. This set also comes with a storage box that parents will surely love. If your toddler doesn’t already have Duplo at home, this is a great set to get them started.

Best Budget Option – Plus Plus Big Basic Set

Best Budget Option
Plus Plus Big Basic Set
Uniquely shaped pieces that connect together to make flat or 3D designs.

This brick set offers something a bit different, but toddlers will get plenty of joy from these unique pieces. The Plus Plus Big Basic Set is very reasonably priced, and the plastic pieces are a great size for little hands. Each piece is shaped like two plus signs that slip together to form interconnected designs. The pieces fit together and come apart easily, so they’re perfect for all ability levels.

There are 100 pieces in this set and they come in bright colors that young children will love. As well as building, toddlers can play with patterns, colors, sorting, and matching. An idea guide is included, or your child can come up with their own creations. Your kids can make flat designs or 3D creations, so there’s plenty of room for imaginative play. If you’re looking for blocks for kids that are a little bit different, these could be a great buy.

Best for Building with Letters – LeapFrog LeapBuilder Jumbo Blocks Box

Best for Building with Letters
LeapFrog LeapBuilder Jumbo Blocks Box
Cute rounded building blocks with alphabet designs to help with letter recognition.

The rounded pieces in this block set are a great design for toddlers and they’ll be able to let their creativity flow as they build imaginative designs. The LeapFrog LeapBuilder Jumbo Blocks Box set includes 81 pieces, and the storage box will always come in handy. I also love the inclusion of letters and pictures on the blocks to help with alphabet recognition. The colors are great and there are different shaped blocks to use.

This block box is an excellent set on its own – the blocks fit together easily and toddlers will be able to create limitless designs. But if you combine them with other LeapBuilder sets, you can make use of the LeapFrog electronic cube. Put a letter block in the cube and it will share music and phrases with your toddler. If you’re simply after a good building blocks set though, this one still fits the bill. 

Best for Interlocking Play – Bristle Blocks Basic Builder Set

Best for Interlocking Play
Bristle Blocks Basic Builder Set
Create a masterpiece with these interlocking bristles in a range of shapes and sizes.

These unique blocks offer a different kind of building block experience that toddlers will enjoy. The Bristle Blocks Basic Builder Set has soft, interlocking bristles that stick together to build your creations. They’re easy to put together and simply pull apart when your toddler is ready for a new design. I think this set would grow well with your child as they come up with more complicated designs when they’re a little older.

There are 112 pieces in this set in a variety of sizes and shapes, as well as eight rolling wheels in case your toddler enjoys making and playing with vehicles. The flexible bristles are a great idea, but just a word of warning: don’t let your child get them tangled in their hair. They’re an absolute nightmare to get out and your toddler will not be pleased! Other than that, an excellent set your toddler will love.

Best for Large Scale Building – Melissa and Doug Jumbo Cardboard Blocks

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Best for Large Scale Building
Melissa and Doug Jumbo Cardboard Blocks
Large-size bricks that are lightweight but durable.

Large building blocks are appealing to toddlers. It’s fun to make a massive construction, and the Melissa and Doug Jumbo Cardboard Blocks are exactly what your little one will need to get their building up as high as they can reach. These cardboard blocks are durable, which parents will appreciate. They’re made with extra thick cardboard which makes them quite strong, and they’re easy to wipe clean (so important when toddlers are involved!). The blocks are nice and light so they’re easy to handle and safe if your toddler’s tower comes crashing down.

There are 40 pieces in this set and they come in three different sizes. You’ll need to assemble the blocks yourself, but it’s easy enough to fold them together (instructions are included). I love the bright colors and the brick-look graphics are pretty cool too. These ones will really capture your toddler’s imagination.

Best for Magnetic Construction – Cossy Magnetic Building Tiles

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Best for Magnetic Construction
Cossy Magnetic Building Tiles
Gorgeous transparent building tiles for older toddlers and a great introduction to how magnets work.

These tiles are marketed at ages three years and up so they’d be suitable for an older toddler, but they’ll get plenty of use from them as they grow. The Cossy Magnetic Building Tiles are not your traditional building blocks but they’re a lot of fun and a cool challenge for your little one. The edges of the tiles magnetize together, so they’re also an excellent introduction to magnetism. Build a flat design or go three dimensional – your little one will love working with these building materials.

The transparent colors are quite lovely, and your toddler will also enjoy looking at the world through the colored shapes. There are 120 pieces in this set in a range of sizes and shapes, including window arches and cars. Your toddler’s designs may start off pretty basic, but remember that this is a set they’ll use for many years to come. 

Best for Block Storage – Mega Bloks Big Building Bag

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Best for Block Storage
Mega Bloks Big Building Bag
This set has everything your toddler needs to start building at a very reasonable price.

If you’re after a good all-round set of building blocks suitable for toddlers, you can’t go too far wrong with this one. The Mega Bloks Big Building Bag is perfect for very young kids. The blocks are a good size and they come in lots of bright colors. The blocks are lightweight, and they’re easy for little hands to fit together and pull apart again. There are 80 blocks in this set and they come in lots of different shapes.

One of the best things about the Mega Bloks Big Building Bag is the storage bag the blocks come in. It’s great to have a place to put the blocks once you’ve picked them all up off the floor after playtime. Parents will appreciate this and the zip-up bag is easy to keep in the toy cupboard when your kids are done playing. This block set is also compatible with other Mega Bloks sets so you can add to your toddler’s collection if you like. 

Best for Stacking – Le Toy Van Forest Stacker Tower

Best for Stacking
Le Toy Van Forest Stacker Tower
A lovely set of animal-shaped blocks just right for stacking up as high as you can.

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These animal-shaped blocks are designed more for stacking than building but they’re absolutely gorgeous and toddlers will love them. The Le Toy Van Forest Stacker Tower is a set of nine woodland animal friends that you can stack up high, balancing each one on each other’s back or coming up with your own stacking method. They’re great for developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination and building their animal stack will allow your toddler to practice their balance and dexterity skills. 

There are nine different animals in this set: a brown bear, fox, deer, squirrel, hedgehog, tortoise, mouse, bird, and rabbit (I like this set but you can also buy an African animal set or a Noah’s Ark version). They come with their own calico bag for storage which makes keeping them together much easier. There are lots of ways you can play with these blocks. Stack them as high as you can and try different ways to stack them, count them, put them in size order, or simply ask questions about them to develop your toddler’s vocabulary. Lots of options and lots of fun!

Best for Early Learning – Melissa and Doug Stacking and Nesting Blocks

Best for Early Learning
Melissa and Doug Stacking and Nesting Blocks
Chunky blocks that are ready to be piled up high - a great way to develop early learning concepts.

These large-size blocks are designed to be stacked into a single tower or nested inside each other. The Melissa and Doug Stacking and Nesting Blocks are a great learning tool for your toddler and perfect for practicing early learning concepts. Each side features either numbers, letters, shapes, or colors (the other side has lovely pictures of baby animals). There are ten blocks in increasing sizes and once you’ve stacked them in order, you’ll get a toddler-sized tower that’s ready to be knocked over again!

The building blocks are a chunky size and made from sturdy cardboard so they should stand up to some rough toddler treatment. Despite their size, they won’t take up much room and they’re easy to store – they all nest together then fit in a box with a rope handle. A fun way for kids to learn counting, recognize letters, colors and shapes, and understand concepts like ordering and sequencing. 

Best for 3D Play – Magna Qu-Bix 85-Piece Set

Best for 3D Play
Magna Qu-Bix 85-Piece Set
These colorful magnetic 3D shapes are a great way to build any creation your older toddler can imagine.

Similar to the magnetic tiles described earlier, these magnetic 3D shapes go together to construct anything your toddler can come up with. The Magna Qu-Bix Set is designed for older toddlers so if your little one is under three years, you will have to wait on this set. The colorful transparent shapes are perfect for building, stacking, and sorting. I like that they’re transparent so you can look straight through your construction!

Magna Qu-Bix is also a great introduction to 3D shapes. The set includes 85 building blocks, including square pyramids, triangular pyramids, cubes, hexagonal prisms, and rectangular prisms. The colors are great and the set pieces together easily—lots of fun and great for creativity and design.

Best for Creative Fun – LEGO Duplo All In One Box Of Fun

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Best for Creative Fun
LEGO Duplo All In One Box of Fun
Encourage your toddler’s creativity with this quality box of building blocks.

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We’ve already featured LEGO Duplo sets, but with their inarguable quality and flair for creation, it’s always worth mentioning another. The LEGO Duplo All In One Box Of Fun is another great all-rounder. With 65 pieces, this set will appeal to the toddler age group. As well as a range of colored blocks, there’s also person and dog figures, windows, rolling wheels, and a wagon base that’s perfect for use in a whole heap of designs.

The included storage box will always come in handy and I also like the numbered bricks with accompanying picture blocks. There’s always a lot to love in a LEGO Duplo box and this one is a great set to get your toddler started or add to their collection. Always a great buy for your little one!

What to Consider when Buying Building Blocks for Toddlers

Mother and daughter playing with building toy

Durability and Safety

Toddlers can be tough on their gear, so make sure the building blocks you choose can withstand some pretty harsh treatment! They’ll probably get chewed on, thrown across the room, and used for all sorts of things for which they were not designed. Toddlers have a gift for that sort of thing, so make sure your blocks are up to the task and not going to break apart or splinter with a bit of heavy use. You’ll also need to keep safety in mind when choosing a block set. Remember that any tower your kids build is likely to come crashing down, so make sure your blocks are lightweight so no one gets hurt. And of course, you need the blocks to be a size that doesn’t present a choking hazard. Check the suggested age range on the box if you’re not sure.

Storage

Most parents won’t be happy to see their children’s block sets when they’re scattered right across the living room floor (or when they’ve stood on a block with bare feet!). Block sets have lots of pieces so most of them come with its own storage container gets extra points in my book. It’s not a deal-breaker (you can always buy a storage container to keep your blocks in), but if it comes with one already included, that’s a handy solution.

Longevity

There are lots of different types of block sets on the market, from your basic wooden sets to magnetic blocks or other more complex designs. Choose a set that’s appropriate for your child’s age but not one they will grow out of quickly. Timber sets are perfect for younger toddlers, but if your toddler is a bit older, you might want to consider something they’ll get a bit more use out of. Find blocks that they can make simple constructions out of now, but that they’ll be able to use for more complicated designs down the track.

Toddlers playing with wooden blocks

Frequently Asked Questions

Are building blocks good toys for toddlers?

Blocks are an excellent toy for toddlers! Not only do they inspire imagination and creativity, they also help develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor development, and spatial awareness. Blocks are an excellent way to encourage independent play, but they’re also perfect for interaction. Block building is a fun way to practice social skills like sharing and taking turns. It’s great to talk with your toddler about what they’re building or ask them questions about their creation. You could also incorporate blocks into pretend to play or use them with their other toys.

What STEM skills do block sets develop?

Building toys are the perfect STEM toy for toddlers. Your kids may look like they’re just stacking building blocks, but they’re also learning about the basics of construction, engineering, and design. They’ll develop crucial STEM skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. Blocks can also be used for early maths concepts like shapes, counting, matching, and sorting. They’re also perfect for color recognition, and many sets include graphics for number and letter recognition. Inspiring an early love of building and creating is a great start to STEM for your toddler.

How should I encourage my child to play with blocks?

There are lots of ways to encourage play with sets of blocks. Building toys are a great way to let your child play on their own and develop independent play skills. Let them use the blocks; however, they choose and watch them come up with creative ideas of their own. You can also encourage social play as they work with a parent or sibling to design a creation. Let them be creative, but if they’re stuck for ideas, you could look at some pictures of designs together to use as inspiration.

Jodie Magrath

Last update on 2020-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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