We have all different kinds of blocks in our house, and my boys have loved them since they were infants. We have upgraded since they have gotten older, but there have been many sets that I would purchase again if we had another child, or for a friend or family member who was expecting.
Blocks are very versatile, which is why they are a favorite among many children. It is a completely open-ended activity, leaving it up to their imaginations to see what they can create. There are many different types of blocks and endless ways a child can play. I believe that they are the best toys for developing gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Plus, my kids love them.
I am going to share my top choices for blocks, which include what we have or have had in our house and sets that other parents have rated highly. You will find something for any age, skill level, and budget.
Carry on reading or jump straight to our number #1 pick here.
Table of Contents
- What Should I Look for in Blocks?
- Here’s How I’ve Determined the Best Building and Stacking Blocks
- Our Top Picks for the Best Building & Stacking Blocks for Kids and Toddlers in 2023
- #1: Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag (Best Value)
- #2: Melissa & Doug 100 Piece Wooden Blocks Set (Best Wooden Blocks)
- #3: Melissa & Doug Wooden ABC/123 Blocks (Best Alphabet Blocks)
- #4: Infantino Squeeze and Stack Block Set (Best for Babies)
- #5: JaxoJoy Foam Building Blocks for Kids (Best Foam Blocks)
- #6: Picasso Tiles Bristle 3D Building Blocks Toy Set (Best STEM Building Blocks)
- When Do Babies Stack Blocks?
- How Do Blocks Help With Baby and Toddler Development?
- How Many Blocks Should a 2-Year-Old Be Able to Stack?
- How Many Blocks Should a 3-Year-Old Be Able to Stack?
- What Can We Build With Blocks?
- Why Do Babies Knock Down Blocks?
- Verdict: Your Best Building and Stacking Blocks
What Should I Look for in Blocks?
There are a few basic features that you will want to look for in blocks that I feel are very important. Below you find a list of some of the things I like to see when I am searching for new blocks for my kids. I have seen it all, and I have become a sort of block expert. Let’s dive in.
You are going to want the blocks to last. If your kids play rough sometimes, as mine do, then you need blocks that can handle it. There are a variety of materials that each of these building block sets is made of, so you can decide what will work best for your child.
Ease of Use
This comes down to the age group that you are shopping for. You will want to make sure that the blocks you choose aren’t too challenging or, alternatively, not challenging enough.
Sometimes certain blocks will come with their own storage box or bag. If not, then you will need to figure out a way to store them when not in use.
Depending on the types of blocks you choose, there may be the option to buy more sets and use them all together. If this is something that matters to you, keep that in mind before you make a purchase.
Here’s How I’ve Determined the Best Building and Stacking Blocks
I based this list of top picks on my own experiences with the blocks my children have played with. I combined what they loved with what I loved and what actually lasted. Then to make sure that there was something for everyone, I compared my personal experiences with research and reviews of other parents. This was to make sure that each of these sets of blocks was worth the cost. Nothing is worse than feeling like you’ve wasted money.
Our Top Picks for the Best Building & Stacking Blocks for Kids and Toddlers in 2023
#1: Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag (Best Value)
Recommended age: 1-5 years old
Mega Bloks are by far my kids’ favorites. They play and build with this block set daily. We have even expanded and purchased a block wagon, so they can have more ways to play. I found that this particular starter set was perfect if you are buying blocks for toddlers. The value is unmatched if you want simple and safe blocks for young children. Read on to find out more reasons why these toys take the top spot on our list.
They Stay Together and Come Apart Easily
The number one structure that my kids love to build most is a tower. They will stack the blocks as high as they can before they fall over. What’s great about this block set is that they can build their towers higher than ever. These blocks fit together seamlessly, providing so many ways for a toddler or child to play.
There are So Many Other Things You Can Build
If your child can imagine it, they can create it. These blocks are so incredibly versatile that there are limitless building possibilities. Buildings, towers, bridges, animals, and whatever else they can come up with. Playing with blocks is a great way to promote creativity and the development of fine and gross motor skills.
What other features does this building block set have?
- 80 pieces
- Storage bag
- Multiple colors
- Hands-on play
- Come in multiple shapes and sizes
These durable plastic blocks are a great beginner set that your little one will want to build over and over again. There are other preschool toys and sets by Mega Bloks that go hand in hand with this one, giving your child plenty of options for their imaginations to run wild. Like I said before, out of all other building block sets that we have in our home, these are by far the best blocks for toddlers.
#2: Melissa & Doug 100 Piece Wooden Blocks Set (Best Wooden Blocks)
Recommended age: 3-8 years
Wooden blocks are a very popular type, and you probably already know the kind of quality and durability that Melissa & Doug delivers. This block set offers more than you would think in terms of variety, and lots of parents say nothing but positive things about it. Let’s talk about some of the reasons why this set should be your top choice if you are looking to purchase wooden blocks.
They Come in Different Shapes and Colors
Besides motor skills and hand-eye coordination, other skills are sharpened by playing and building with blocks. This set consists of 100 pieces with multiple shapes and colors. An activity that my little ones enjoy is naming the shapes and colors while they play. It helps with cognitive development as well.
They are Safe and Durable
There are a few concerns among parents when it comes to wooden blocks. The first is safety. These blocks have rounded edges, and the paint has a smooth finish, so it won’t chip even with lots of play. Plus, they are strong and are built to last. These lightweight blocks are perfect for small hands.
Here are some more features of this block set.
- 4 different colors and 9 shapes
- Great for social skills and imagination
- Promotes patience with building and rebuilding
- Plenty of options from towers to towns
You really can’t go wrong with any Melissa & Doug product, in my opinion. We may not have this set in our house but based on my experience with other blocks, and other products made by this company, I wouldn’t be disappointed. It comes with many pieces and its versatility makes playtime so much fun. Also, you can purchase other sets and combine them with this one for even more options. I just wish that it came with a storage box or bag.
#3: Melissa & Doug Wooden ABC/123 Blocks (Best Alphabet Blocks)
Recommended age: 2-4 years old
Alphabet blocks are very popular for toddlers, and there’s a good reason. These wooden blocks are easy to use and are great to support your child’s development. Your children are growing and changing every day, and it is your job to provide them with the necessary tools to keep developing their minds and brains. My kids love these blocks as well. Let’s talk about some of the reasons why this block set is so great and what they can do for your child.
Each Wooden Block Is Unique
The first thing you will notice about this block set is the different designs on every single block. There are combinations of letters, colors, numbers, and animals or objects. It will help kids develop memorization skills and is great for working with them to help them learn what each of the pictures represents. The best part about these pattern blocks is that they are not just for building towers.
They Are Also Made for Sorting
This goes with learning colors and letters. The patterns on these blocks provide so many different ways to sort and stack, which adds a lot more to the fun of hands-on play. My kids and I would make up games, and they would have a good time stacking by color or number.
Here are some more features of this alphabet block set.
- 50 solid wood blocks with hand-painted designs
- Comes with a storage pouch
- Durable and meant to last for years
Melissa & Doug is a company that supports engaging play and limiting screen time. Playing with blocks is perfect for so many different areas of development and can be used at almost any age. They have partnered with the American Academy of Pediatrics to foster brain development as well as other important skills kids will need as they grow.
#4: Infantino Squeeze and Stack Block Set (Best for Babies)
Recommended age: 6 months and up
It’s never too early to purchase blocks for your little one, and that is why I included my favorite block set for babies. These have a very low price tag for being so durable and safe for your baby to work on their gross motor skills. Keep reading to see some of the major reasons why I picked these blocks for this top list.
They Are Completely Safe for Babies to Put in Their Mouths
These blocks can be played with babies as young as 6 months old. They are BPA-free and contain non-phthalate PVC, so you don’t have to worry about exposing your little one to toxic materials. We all know that children that young, and even into their toddler years, are very oral; they like to put things in their mouths. You don’t have to worry because it is safe for them to do that with these blocks.
They Are Easy to Hold
Their soft and slightly squishy design makes them easy to grab onto. At 6 months old, your baby is still learning how to effectively grasp things like their toys, and these blocks make that simple. They are not too small, which also makes picking the blocks easy.
What are some other features of this block set?
- They have fun colors, numbers, and animal designs
- Perfect for a teething baby
- Different textures for little hands to experience
The benefits of playing with blocks start young and in my opinion, they are essential to physical and mental growth. Both of my children played with this set, and they loved it. The bright colors kept their attention and the soft material allowed them to discover different types of play. I would definitely order them for someone who is expecting a baby because both of my kids always had fun with them.
#5: JaxoJoy Foam Building Blocks for Kids (Best Foam Blocks)
Recommended age: 3 years and up
Recently, I decided to purchase a different kind of block for my sons. I chose this foam set by JaxoJoy because of the high ratings and reviews by parents. Of course, my children adore them. They haven’t had them for long, but they ask to bring them out every single day. Out of all of their other building blocks, these encourage them to play with each other the most.
There Are Many Building Options
This block set is a great choice if you are looking specifically for blocks for toddlers. These foam blocks are soft and durable, and they are many different shapes and colors. Your little one will be able to come up with so many things to build, all they have to do is use their imagination.
They Can Be Played With During Bath Time
None of the other blocks on this list can be played within the water, making this set of building blocks especially unique. Who said block play had to stop in the living room or playroom? They are durable enough to withstand the water and dry quickly and easily, so they can be played with again the next day. I really enjoy the versatility of these compared to other block sets.
Here are some more features that these foam blocks have to offer.
- Durable, high-density foam that is BPA free and non-toxic
- 108 pieces included
- Comes with a slim storage box
If you want to try out foam blocks with your children, these are the best. Each of my little ones has a lot of fun with these building blocks. They are soft and safe while also giving you the durability and versatility you want. They’re great for sparking creativity in your child, and I highly recommend them as something new to try out. The best part is that even though they are soft, they keep their shape and balance just fine.
#6: Picasso Tiles Bristle 3D Building Blocks Toy Set (Best STEM Building Blocks)
Recommended age: 3 years and up
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and you are guaranteed that this building block set is going to cover each of those areas during play. You will notice that they look different compared to most other building blocks, but they are just as entertaining. Read on to see what is so special about these particular blocks.
The Blocks Attach to Each Other
These are some of the most unique building toys on this list, and I really like how different they are compared to all of the others. They are a bit more expensive than the other block sets, but they are worth the extra money if your child is ready for something more challenging. The bristles interlock, making sure that each of the blocks stays in place, giving your child the freedom to make much larger structures.
There Is a Variety of Shapes and Colors
Giving your child even more building options, this block set has 12 different types of blocks, each with a unique shape and bright color. Each time they play, your child will find a new way to put them together. This STEM set provides children with a strong sense of focus and allows room for working on problem-solving skills.
What else about these blocks is worth mentioning?
- Promotes more intricate architectural designs
- Comes with 120 pieces
- Great at home or in the classroom
Blocks are some of the best toys for children, starting when they are babies and well beyond preschool ages. This building toy set is best for helping your child with their growth in all sorts of important skills they are going to need as they get older. Fostering creativity and the expansion of the mind is a crucial part of development. Your child will love the variety of shapes and the building possibilities of this set.
When Do Babies Stack Blocks?
Babies start stacking blocks at a very young age, usually around 12 months. Once they can start sitting up on their own, they can discover the world around them. Blocks are great for developing their gross motor skills at that age. If they don’t start stacking them right away, there is no need to worry. At this age, they will want to hold them and see what they can do with them, which includes chewing, dropping, tossing, and banging. These things are completely normal so parents, you don’t need to worry!
How Do Blocks Help With Baby and Toddler Development?
Child development experts love building blocks as a way to help your child with many areas of development. They teach balance, resilience, emotional growth, cause and effect, and more. Building blocks are also great at promoting creativity because it is such an open-ended way to play. There is no right or wrong when it comes to playing with blocks, and that gives your child so much freedom and room to learn. You can read even more about this here.
How Many Blocks Should a 2-Year-Old Be Able to Stack?
A 2-year-old should be able to stack around 6 blocks. Some can do more and some can do fewer, and this is not a big deal. Building blocks at this age is when this activity really starts to become fun for your child, so it is interesting to watch them and see what they create.
How Many Blocks Should a 3-Year-Old Be Able to Stack?
At this age, your little one should be able to stack around 10 blocks. They will begin to build more than just simple towers, and it is nice to see their imagination developing at 3 years old. This is when their creativity also really starts to shine, and they will attempt to build cars and bridges out of blocks as well.
What Can We Build With Blocks?
There are so many things that you can build with blocks. Believe it or not, your children will use their imaginations and come up with very interesting structures. I will share a few examples below to give you a clear picture of some of the creative possibilities.
- Car Tracks
- Car Garages
- Animal Pens
- Rocket Ships
These are just a few things. They are the perfect toys for letting your little ones’ minds run wild. I’m sure my boys have built many more structures with their blocks, but these are the ones that stand out.
Why Do Babies Knock Down Blocks?
The main reason why your baby knocks down blocks is that they enjoy it. It is fun for them, and it is also a great way for them to learn cause and effect. They like to see what happens when they knock the blocks down. It also has to do with control. Your baby is discovering that they have some power and control over their environment. It sounds silly, but it is an important part of your child’s development.
Verdict: Your Best Building and Stacking Blocks
Here is the final takeaway for the best building blocks for your child.
If you want the best value, pick the Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag. These blocks are great for toddlers and beyond.
If you want the best wooden blocks, pick the Melissa & Doug 100 Piece Wooden Blocks Set. They are durable and colorful, perfect for keeping your child engaged.
For the best alphabet blocks, pick the Melissa & Doug Wooden ABC/123 Blocks. These pattern blocks work great for more than just developing motor skills.
For the best blocks for babies, pick the Infantino Squeeze and Stack Block Set. They are safe and durable and made for little mouths to explore.
If you are looking for the best foam blocks, pick the JaxoJoy Foam Building Blocks for Kids. The soft foam blocks are light and easy to stack, and can even be used in the bathtub.
If you are looking for the best STEM blocks, pick the Picasso Tiles Bristle 3D Building Blocks Toy Set. The unique bristles allow these building blocks to lock in place, giving your child so many different structures that they can build.
Blocks continue to be a favorite among children, and there are so many different sets out there besides these top picks. They teach your child so much and are known to be very important in your child’s development. Experts agree that there are numerous benefits to playing with blocks, whether it be solo or in a group. All of the building blocks that I have chosen each have their own unique features and help with different parts of your child’s development. Blocks are always going to be my favorite toy to buy for my children, family, and friends. You quickly see that they are wonderful and thoughtful gifts.