Finding a toy that your toddler can play with independently can feel like a daunting task on its own. Trying to find a toy that not only entertains, but also educates and doesn't cost an arm and a leg? That can seem downright impossible. That's why we love toddler block sets!
Building blocks for toddlers are a simple, yet very powerful toy that have proven to engage and encourage brain and physical development in young kids for generations.
Overall Best Toddler Block Set: Lovevery Block Set
These wooden building blocks are the complete package. With a vast variety of different shapes, sizes, and colors, these heirloom pieces are scientifically built blocks for toddlers. Parents can rejoice since it even comes with a guide and ideas of 20+ activities you can do with the block set! It's also the most eco-friendly and non-toxic block set on this list!
It promotes STEM learning in your little one, providing interesting opportunities to create more than just a simple stack. From learning velocity, threading, to building cities, to color sorting, to making faces or Alphabet letters, these blocks really have you covered in every area!
It comes with two storage containers. An organic cotton bag which is easier for toddlers to drag and clean up all the pieces into. The other is the wooden box, which is like a puzzle in putting all the pieces away. It also converts to a car with some of the pieces included in the set! Watch my full Lovevery Block Set Review here!
For young infants and toddlers, we recommend piecemealing this block set. In my personal experience, when my daughter was an infant, I gave her just 4 block pieces to start. As she got older, I added onto it. It really grows with your child from toddlerhood to preschool to elementrary school. These beautiful blocks will become a cherished favorite in your home.
- Variety of shapes and sizes
- Toddler blocks activities included for parents
- Lifetime warranty if you lose a piece
- Solid wood blocks made of sustainably harvested FSC-certified wood
- Water-based non-toxic paint and finishes
- Pricier than others on this list
- Can be heavy
Best Stacking Blocks for Toddlers: HAPE Pyramid of Play Toddler Wooden Nesting Blocks
This wooden nesting block set, available at Target, Amazon, and Walmart, offers a great sensory experience. Every brightly colored wooden block offers five sides showing different numbers, Alphabet letters, and shapes that will help stimulate brain growth as well as fine motor skills in your child.
It also includes blocks for shape sorting that correspond with one side of the block set. Each block is a different size, encouraging kids to evaluate and stack accordingly.
- Different sized blocks help teach STEM concepts
- Brightly-colored numbers and letters encourage brain growth
- Fun activities with extra shapes
- Extra shapes are little and could pose a possible choking hazard
- Heavier than other block options
Best Soft Play Blocks for Babies: Mini Tudou Baby Blocks Soft Building Blocks
These soft building blocks for babies are a great beginner toy. Made from food-grade silicone rubber, each block can be used safely as a teether for young ones. They're easy to pick up for little hands and come in soft colors to please little eyes.
The sides of each block are covered in tactile shapes, numbers, and textures to help encourage sensory discovery. One side even connects into corresponding matching shapes! The 12 piece set is great for 6 months and up. The numbers ensure these can grow with your child, as it even includes blocks for addition and subtraction!
- Soft and light-weight
- Appropriate for putting in mouth
- Squeezable for a deeper sensory experience
- Perfect for babies
- Safe, BPA toxin-free material
- May not build as sturdy of structures
Best Foam Blocks: Blockaroo Magnetic Foam Building Blocks
A style of block developed by teachers that always connect to each other! These soft foam shapes have 360 degree magnets in them so they hold together, no matter which side your child tries to connect!
They are probably the easiest magnetic block out there for youngest of learners. Plus, the foam building blocks make a great bath time toy! Designed for 18 months and up, they'll work fine motor skills, sensory development, counting, and color or shape sorting! Toddlers will also learn early engineering, problem solving, and spatial reasoning concepts. Plus these fun blocks work great for imaginative play!
- Soft foam prevents kids from hurting themselves
- Waterproof for bath time
- Magnetic for more creative building
- Foam not be as durable as other materials (keep in mind if your toddler likes to mouth things!)
- ANY toy with a magnet comes with a choking hazard warning.
Best Toddler Magnetic Blocks: Magna-Tiles
Take your block game to another level. Magna-tiles are an award-winning building toy for kids of all ages (though they are recommended for 3 year olds and up). My daughter started playing with these at 6 months though and has always been OBSESSED with them.
When she was younger, she was fascinated with just connecting the pieces. Around 18 months old, she began to build cubes and 3D pyramids. They taught her not only early engineering concepts, but gentleness as the structures can collapse pretty easily if using too much force. At 2 years old, she builds little houses for her toy animals complete with drawbridges! If you child can think it, they can probably make it with these magnetic blocks!
Each Magna-Tile block set comes with a variety of shapes. They are great for building more complex structures in a simple way, speaking to the STEM part of your child's creativity. The bright, transparent look is appealing to young eyes as well and you can add a flashlight to the back to create colorful projections on the wall for shadow puppets or more of a sensory experience.
NOTE: Many parents also recommend Picasso tiles as a sometimes cheaper alternative to the name brand Magna Tiles. We do not have first hand experience with these.
- Appealing colors and shapes
- Easy to build complex things
- Fun for older children
- Teach cause + effect, STEM concepts, and more!
- Not toxin-free
- Magnets could break off to become possible choking hazards (always supervise your child!)
Best Climbing Blocks: ECR4Kids SoftZone Little Me Corner Climbing Structure
Climbing and exploring physical possibilities is a key part of baby and toddler development. These foam climbing blocks allow just that. SoftZone toddler blocks are soft enough to keep kiddos safe, while also providing enough challenge and excitement to stimulate play and activity. The leather like material is durable and easy to wipe clean too.
Perfect rainy day indoor active play activity that works on gross motor skill development for growing bodies and minds. They are also Greenguard Gold Certified meaning they are free of phthalates and other harmful chemicals.
It also comes in a few different style/structure options if you want to add on or make something custom.
Want to bring in more fun? Add on Softzone Foam Big Building Blocks. These different sized square and rectangular soft blocks can bring even further enjoyment and mental stimulation to your young one.
- Soft and suitable for young toddlers and babies
- Gross motor indoor activity
- GreenGuard Gold Certified
- Takes up a lot of space
- Not suitable for older kids
Best Lightweight Cardboard Block Set: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Jumbo Cardboard Blocks
Best for 2, 3, and 4 year old block building, this lightweight set is both durable and compelling to the senses. This block set comes with 24 pieces in 3 different sizes and can hold up to 150 pounds in case your kids want to act out “Humpty Dumpty.” Made with bright, primary colors and fun brick patterns on each block, your toddler will feel like he or she is really constructing something grand. And since they're made out of cardboard, they're easy to wipe clean.
- Fun brick pattern to encourage creativity
- Lightweight but durable cardboard
- Parents (or kids) will need to assemble each cardboard block upon initial opening
- Not waterproof
Best Plastic Building Blocks: LEGO DUPLO Classic Brick Box
Young kids love the interlocking feel of Lego blocks, and these Duplo toddler blocks are the perfect First LEGO Set with Storage Box. These are specifically design for tiny, young hands 18 months and up. Meaning they are little bigger than standard LEGO blocks and come apart easier as well.
They are a great easy-build starter set for toddlers. The 65 piece block set also comes with 2 LEGO DUPLO figurines, numbered bricks, a car, and fun pieces like flowers, a car, and everything your child will need to create storefronts for imaginative play!
Parents can also appreciate the modern take on the brightly colored plastic that's a bit more aesthetically pleasing than primary colors. The bricks come in their own carrying case too for storage and encouraging responsibility.
They're durable enough to play with inside or outside and will bring hours of entertainment and mindful creativity.
- Appealing colors, shapes, and textures
- Come with a carrying case
- Designed for toddler hands
- Not toxin-free
- Some pieces could become choking hazard
Best Interlocking Blocks: Little Tykes Big Waffle Blocks
Available at Walmart (and qualifies for Walmart+), these large mega blocks let kids bring to life big ideas. They easily SNAP together, making playtime simple and fun. They're also jumbo sized, creating the opportunity for kids to build life-size structures, like crawling tunnels, castles, forts, and more! This block set can be used for both indoor and outdoor play. The large size and lightweight make it easy for toddlers to use as building blocks and construction toys when putting together.
- Allows for bigger structures and builds
- Encourages more dexterity
- Appropriate for older kids
- Recommended for 2 year olds and up (not for babies)
- Not toxin-free
Best Big Toddler Blocks: Mega Blocks Toddler Building Blocks
If you're looking for giant toddler blocks that are Lego-style interlocking blocks, this is your answer! These jumbo blocks by Fisher Price can build large structures like castles, towers, boats, or even giraffes thanks to the 80 pieces provided in one budget friendly block set!
It also comes with a storage bag that doesn't feel like a game of Jenga (meaning your toddler can take responsibility and clean them up alone). While they are recommended for 12 month olds all the way up to 5 year olds, we think it's noteworthy that these stick together and come apart quite easily.
This isn't a bad thing, as it's easier for 1 year olds to build with, teaches cause-and-effect and encourages kids to be gentle with their toys. However we recognize this may frustrate some people as they aren't as sturdy as traditional legos. You can also get some great add-on preschool toys from Mega Blocks like their blocks table.
- Large block size
- Lego-style stacking blocks
- Easy to store and clean
- Not toxin-free
Best Budget Building Blocks: Melissa & Doug 100 Piece Wood Blocks Set
If you are looking for the most budget friendly classic building block, then the Melissa & Doug 100 Piece Wood Blocks Set is the winner! They come in 4 different colors with 9 different shapes.
While we think these blocks are great for the price, keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
Some reviewers said their blocks broke (serious choking and safety hazard!).
And even though they are wood, they are not toxin free (VOCs in paint) so you may not want babies or toddlers putting them in their mouth. These also lack versatility compared to the Lovevery Block Set (which can be used for 20+ activities).
Personally, we'd recommend these more as an add-on pack to the Lovevery blockset as your kids get older and want to build larger structures. Read (and watch) my full Lovevery Block Set Review to understand why.
- Not toxin-free or GreenGuard Gold Certified
- On the smaller side
- Some reviewers reported their blocks broke!
How To Choose The Best Blocks For Toddlers
While blocks are an overall great toy for any kid, different styles and types can be more appropriate or conducive to different aged-children.
While all blocks are meant to encourage building, the materials can differ vastly. It's important to consider the developmental stage of your child when deciding on the right material for your blocks.
Wooden blocks are eco friendly. They're made out of natural materials, so you don't have to worry about exposing your child to toxins, especially if your toddler is still at the age where he or she put things in his or her mouth. Of course, this does not apply to the paint/finish on the block, so read carefully.
Wooden blocks are often in line with practicing Montessori at home. They're extremely durable, and beautiful to look at, meaning they could last for years and even become family heirlooms. In addition, the weight of wooden blocks in a child's hand is pleasing and warm, creating the space for a positive experience during playtime.
We recommend wooden blocks if you're interested in a more natural, more durable toy or following montessori for your child that could stay with your family for years to come.
Plastic blocks tend to be less expensive than other styles. They're smooth to the touch and brightly-colored, which can be extremely appealing to your child's senses.
People tend to like them because they can build in a more complex way than wood, whether it's a LEGO that can snap and interlock together with other pieces, or a waffle block that locks together. However, wood blocks have come a long way and can also build like LEGOs.
On the other hand, plastic blocks tend to be pretty durable. They're also made from manmade materials, so the risk of exposing your child to toxins is higher. Mold tends to grow faster in plastic compared to wood as well, so inspect your blocks frequently.
Are a subcategory of plastic or foam blocks that often promote STEM learning. Infants to toddlers to preschoolers and beyond love these. Keep in mind, magnets are a choking hazard and children should always be supervised, even beyond the recommended or intended age range.
Foam blocks are great for younger children. They're soft, posing less risk of getting hurt. These sometimes come in a cloth or vinyl covering.
Depending on the type of foam used, these blocks can be fairly safe and toxin-free for the little ones who still put things in their mouths while playing.
On the other hand, foam blocks aren't very durable. Infants may take a bite out of them and older kids could tear them apart.
Cardboard blocks are great because they are lightweight and can build large life like structures like forts for relatively cheap. You can even have older kids DIY blocks using old cardboard boxes. These are the least durable.
Blocks come in a LARGE variety of different shapes and sizes.
Which size is the best for your child?
A good rule of thumb is this: adult palm sized blocks for infants or young toddlers.
This is because infants and toddlers tend to put things in their mouth. You don't want something too small that poses a choking hazard. On the flip side, if you go to big, their little hands may not be able to stack or build with them so they could lose interest.
Beyond that, it depends on your child! As kids get older their fine motor skills and dexterity allow them to work with smaller pieces. As toddlers get older, they'll also like big blocks to build jumbo sized things like boats, castles, forts, etc.
Buying a set of blocks is about so much more than just how they look. Really consider what you're hoping to get out of your block purchase.
Are you interested in finding a toy that your infant can use as a teether? Or for a toddler in the bathtub? Or are you looking to expose your child to STEM concepts? Do you plan to use the block set indoors or outdoors? Are these blocks just for stacking or for construction and building too? Do you want your preschooler to practice spelling or math with their block set?
While all blocks are generally created with the same concepts in mind, each set focuses on a slightly different purpose that really is developmentally based.
Pricing of block sets for toddlers can vary just as widely as their sizes.
There are options on this list costing as little as $14 and some costing as much as $120! Our suggestion is to consider your budget, the long-term use of the block set, and what other toys will you need to buy with it or can you skip because of it?
For example, with the Lovevery Block Set I never felt the need to buy a pull toy or shape sorter, as those were part of the set. I also didn't need to by a block table like many parents do for LEGOs or Mega Blocks. All of those things add up. So while the price tag initially looks higher, when you think it through, it's a big bang for your buck.
FAQs About Toddler Blocks
Are blocks good for toddlers?
Blocks are a great toy for toddlers. Studies consistently find them to be ideal for both educational and entertainment purposes. You'd be hard pressed to find somebody who doesn't think blocks are an appropriate and beneficial toy for young children.
What are the developmental benefits of blocks for kids?
Blocks can help young kids develop hand-eye coordination, as well as grow the STEM side of their brains. Blocks can also teach spatial awareness and build confidence.
What do toddlers learn from stacking blocks?
Stacking blocks is a great way for toddlers to develop fine-motor skills. It also helps them explore concepts like balance, problem-solving, and basic math equations. Not to mention the confidence and pride a child feels when he or she accomplishes a stack of any size.
Why do toddlers knock down blocks?
Knocking down blocks is just as much a part of the learning process as building with them. Toddlers are exploring their world. They're experimenting with cause and effect concepts. Destruction is a very normal, very healthy part of our development as humans.
What age are blocks for?
Depending on the size and materials, blocks are appropriate toys for children of all ages, including babies and young toddlers!
What age do toddlers build with blocks?
Research shows that babies typically start experimenting with stacking toys around 12-15 months of age. Of course, this range can and does vary greatly depending on a number of factors.
Can a 2 year old build a tower with blocks?
In most cases, yes! 2 year olds love the challenge of building things up, as well as knocking them back down and doing it all over again time and time again!
How many blocks can a 3 year old stack?
By the time your child is three, he or she may be able to start building using both hands instead of just one. This means dexterity and hand-eye coordination is developing! A three-year-old could start building stacks of up to nine or ten blocks.
Every parent wants what's best for their child, and finding a toy that can keep your toddler engaged in independent play, as well as help his or her brain develop, can sometimes sound too good to be true. But that's exactly why building blocks are the perfect solution for any age.
What are the best blocks for toddlers?
While all of the above options are great choices depending on what you're looking for, we think you simply can't go wrong with the Lovevery Block Set. It's suitable for a wide age range, made with high quality materials, and will keep your kids happy and learning, no matter what they're interested in.
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Originally published 8/3/2022; Updated 10/25/23