Block Games for Budding Architects and Engineers


By Jae Curtis

When your little one reaches for building blocks over action figures, you know you’ve got a budding architect or engineer on your hands. Building sets, block games, and new twists on old favorites help to nurture your future I.M. Pei. Luckily, a resurgence in simple, classic, quality toys means building games are easier to find and can help your tiny Frank Lloyd Wright shift focus from noisy video games to quiet creativity. Here are some of your best bets.

  1. Magnetic Block Sets
    Classic blocks are definitely a family favorite, but the 40 Piece Nelson Explorer Set represents the latest trend in block games. With a variety of pieces ranging from flat to thick, the magnetic blocks stay together and can be manipulated into a variety of different shapes. All sets are buildable, so you can start with a smaller set and help your engineer-to-be grow into more pieces and eventually, more sophisticated creations.
  2. Rod and Ball Building Games
    If your little one wants to branch out from the typical block set they usually play with, consider a rod and ball set like the Guidecraft Better Builders Set. It comes with magnetic rods and balls that can be combined to create any number of contraptions, buildings, and shapes. Brightly colored and super secure, they’re oversized and come with an instruction and idea book to get them started on experimenting with different creations.
  3. LED Block Sets
    Called “physical pixels,” the Tengeez LED Original Stack puts the power of light and construction into your child’s hands. Multihued Tangeez change color when they’re linked together. This allows your child to experiment with light, color, and building structures, and even play in the dark.
  4. Classic Cardboard Blocks
    If your mini creator would prefer life-sized options, classic cardboard blocks mean big fun. The Melissa & Doug Deluxe Jumbo Cardboard Blocks Set packs a punch with sturdy, colorful bricks in various jumbo sizes for the kid who’s more interested in building a fort than a prototype.
  5. Architectural Block Games
    Older kids might still be into building games, even if they’ve outgrown traditional square blocks. Enter the Greek Block Set, designed to mimic pieces from traditional Greek architecture. From columns to steps, older kids will love to create their own mini Parthenons.

Just because they’re low tech doesn’t mean that block games are outdated. New features, colors, and uses mean building games are a refreshing break from screen time and noisy toys, all while encouraging your child’s natural talents and creativity.

Magnets are embedded within the beautiful natural wood exterior of Tegu blocks:


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