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What Kids Learn From Block Play & 6 of the Best Block Sets

by Vannessa Rhoades 25 Oct 2023

What Kids Learn From Block Play & 6 of the Best Block Sets

Building blocks are a remarkably beneficial toy for children. They offer numerous advantages, ranging from emotional growth and resilience to developing art, visual-spatial skills, and engineering abilities. Generations of kids, parents, and teachers have recognized that playing with blocks isn't just enjoyable – it’s highly beneficial for development! Despite their simple appearance, blocks are incredibly versatile and may be the most adaptable toy ever created. 

Children interact with blocks in diverse ways, each showcasing their individual creativity. True innovation in block design allows kids to tap into their imaginations and natural creativity. A high-quality block set should prioritize engagement and provide fresh avenues for imaginative play. Let’s take a closer look at how blocks promote the development of a wide array of essential skills, along with a few of our favorite building block sets.

Benefits of Playing With Blocks

The benefits of block play are numerous, providing lots of opportunities for a child's development.

  • Enhancing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination: Stacking blocks and building steady structures require refined fine motor skills and precise hand-eye coordination.
  • Fostering social and emotional development: When children collaborate with others during block play, they develop vital skills like cooperation, problem-solving, turn-taking, sharing, and self-advocacy.
  • Promoting speech and language development: Block play encourages oral self-expression, particularly when children narrate stories about their creations.
  • Learning basic math principles: Block play inherently involves elements of math, such as pattern recognition, symmetry, fractions, and linear measurement. Additionally, young children can practice counting and understand one-to-one correspondence.
  • Stimulating imagination growth: Blocks serve as "open-ended toys," allowing children to incorporate them into pretend play, where they can become food, cribs for baby dolls, or houses for little animals. Blocks offer versatility and can be combined with other toys for even more imaginative play.
  • Discovering engineering and science fundamentals: Through playing with blocks, children solve problems, troubleshoot issues, and test hypotheses related to structure, gravity, and elevation.
What Kids Learn From Block Play & 6 of the Best Block Sets

The Stages of Block Play

Toddlers progress from stacking three blocks around 16-18 months of age to building more complex structures like four to six-block towers between the ages of 18 and 22 months. Around 23-26 months, they imitate alignment by lining up blocks in a row, honing their precision. As children reach three years old, their block play becomes more imaginative, constructing bridges, tunnels, and elaborate structures. They start sorting blocks, creating roads, paths, and patterns, and telling stories about their creations. Block play remains beneficial as children grow older, fostering collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication skills. Preschool and early elementary teachers also utilize blocks for lessons in math, science, language arts, and social studies due to their universal appeal and versatility among mixed-age groups.

What Kids Learn From Block Play & 6 of the Best Block Sets

Our Favorite Building Block Sets for Kids

Even for a toy as incredibly simple as a set of blocks, you’ll find a lot of diversity. Take a look at some of our favorites – from old classics to new innovations.

HAPE ABC Wooden Stacking Blocks

These best-selling blocks make learning the alphabet so much more fun! The HAPE ABC Blocks Stacking Set combines education and entertainment to provide children with a simple way to practice their ABCs, 123s, and more. These innovatively designed blocks feature words, letters, pictures, and numbers painted in bright colors to inspire little builders to stack higher while teaching them to read and count. This set also encourages the development of coordination, fine motor skills, and creative thinking. Made with wood sourced from environmentally sustainable forests and featuring a durable child-safe paint finish, this is a toy your child will love for years to come.

Magna-Qubix 85-Piece Original Magnetic Building Blocks Set

Creativity and imagination are fostered when children have no limitations on what they can build. With the newest addition to the Magna-Tiles® family, the Magna-Qubix® 85-Piece Original Magnetic Building Blocks Set, kids ages three and up can explore an exciting 3D world that sparks imaginative, instruction-free play for hours on end. These 85 pieces are brilliantly transparent, finished in vivid colors, and include a fun mix of 3D shapes, including pyramids, prisms, and cubes. They’re also constructed with food-grade ABS plastic and lack any dangerous components such as BPA, phthalates, or latex. Measuring roughly 1 inch by 1 inch, each piece contains a press-sealed matrix of neodymium magnets, allowing them to be securely connected to other Magna-Tiles® toys with the signature “click” for hours of hands-on learning and free play. As the ultimate magnetic building set for creative kids, it offers a host of features that help children not only enjoy playtime but learn from it as well.

Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Set, 42-Piece Sets

Tegu Blocks are heirloom toys meant to be passed from generation to generation. They're a modern twist on a beloved classic. The Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks 42-Piece Set is a large building set that allows for big and tall creations and includes 4 tall columns, 4 medium columns, 6 mega planks, 6 long planks, 6 short planks, 6 cubes, 2 parallelograms, 4 short angles, and 4 wheels. Designed in the USA and purposefully made in Honduras, these blocks are constructed from eco-friendly, sustainably-sourced hardwoods and safe, non-toxic, water-based lacquers (for colors and clear coats). 

Kidoozie Squeak N Stack Blocks 

For younger babies (between 6 to 24 months), the Kidoozie Squeak N Stack Blocks are the perfect first STEM toy. These 9 soft, squeaker blocks with embossed pictures are so much fun! One side of each cube is colorfully decorated. Baby can stack up and knock down! They’re also great for building your little one’s hand/eye coordination. 

Plus-Plus Learn to Build Pastel Color Mix Puzzle Blocks, 400 Piece

Plus-Plus is a unique construction toy with one shape and endless possibilities! Made in Denmark, every piece easily connects to the next in any direction. Create colorful flat mosaics or work in 3-D to make more intricate builds. Perfect for kids between 5 to 12 years of age, this Learn to Build playset includes a mixture of styles and tools to create incredible 3-D pieces, including 300 pastel pieces, 100 neon pieces, a baseplate, and a step-by-step idea guidebook to spark creativity!


It wouldn’t be a good article about blocks without mentioning one of the most popular building toys on the planet: Legos! The iconic plastic building blocks are loved by both adults and children all over the world. Playing with Lego can benefit children in so many ways, such as developing logical and imaginative thinking. For younger children, Duplo building blocks can help develop motor skills of hands and fingers, requires coordination, and helps them to learn all about attention to detail, patience, and creativity. For older kids and even adults, more complex Lego sets feature detailed architecture or complex electronics (like the LEGO® Technic™ App-Controlled Cat® D11 Bulldozer (42131) kit). These large sets let big kids and grown-ups enjoy quality “me time” focusing on their passion. 

Shop All Building Blocks Sets


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