Construction toys not just for boys
Let’s bust some myths: construction toys don’t stop at Lego, are great for girls and can be perfect for younger age groups. Agreed, they might take up a bit of extra storage space, but can more than make up for this at playtime. Encouraging development and imaginative play, construction toys help kids learn to focus, assemble and are perfect to share. Here’s our pick of the best:
Simple and brilliant! These basic wooden blocks start working on your dexterity as soon as you open the bag. Challenging for the preschooler, who uses these for grouping and stacking, and for older kids (and their parents) who can create incredible, satisfying structures from the instructions or the imagination. ‘Clear the coffee table, kick off your shoes’ say the people from Planx, and this really is family fun.
Collection of magnetic rods, spheres and panels which connect freely, really allowing imagination to roam, whilst teaching about magnetism and basic geometry. Definitely a toy you find yourself playing with when you go to tidy it up! Great from age three – Magnetix has a younger version as well as licensed products – but beware the little shiny balls with younger siblings.
OK, so not exactly a construction toy, but definitely something which challenges your child’s reasoning. Watch your little engineer create a run that twists and turns and makes things spin. Follow the instructions to build the runs from the packet, or go freestyle and build your own. Wooden runs are great from about age three, but the plastic runs from age four and up.
Simple, one of the best and with a huge range, this set uses straights and connector pieces. There are oversized plastic kits for use from age three, but most of the sets are best used by 7-12 year olds. Customise your collection with extension kits including levers and pulleys, bridges and gears.
Supersize them - with these life-size bricks they can build a wall higher than their heads, knock it down and start again! Each ‘brick’ is made of corrugated cardboard, so is lightweight but solid and wipe-clean. Ideal from 18 months onwards, but at the moment we can only find US stockists… if you’re a UK stockist then please get in touch!
New from the US, Zoob is an interlocking ‘building system’ which has different connectors fulfilling different functions. With just five basic pieces, it claims to be able to lock in more than 100 different positions. Stylish, with bright, primary colours and fun illustrations in the instruction leaflet, it’s perfect for girls and boys of about age six and above.