Types Of Building Blocks For Toddlers

father and daughter playing with blocks

Toddlers love to build and create with blocks, and this type of play is more than just good fun, it is also great for their development. They hone their fine motor skills, learn to persevere and show off their creativity. There are many different types of blocks to choose from and they all have benefits for your toddler. Let’s look at 8 types of building blocks for toddlers to enjoy.

Magnetic building blocks

Magnetic building blocks are incredibly popular and entertain children for years. There are plastic magnetic tiles and wooden blocks to suit your personal preferences. Both kinds of magnetic blocks are durable and last the test of time.

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Toddlers may find themselves feeling frustrated when their magnetic block creation tumbles. Their hard earned towers can seem sturdier than they really are with this type of block. That being said, it is important for them to learn that things break sometimes and that it is okay. The opportunities for creative play are endless with magnetic building blocks and your toddler will grow with them. Magnetic tiles and blocks are played with by children from 2-10 years of age.

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Alphabet building blocks

Alphabet building blocks are a classic toy that children have loved for decades, if not centuries. They are square wooden blocks with colourful letters of the alphabet printed on them. You can also find plastic versions in stores if that suits you better. They are bright, educational and allow for a ton of creative play for toddlers. Your child will enjoy building towers, castles and more all while developing those all important developmental skills that benefit their growth.

Interlocking building blocks

Interlocking building blocks come in various forms and include bristle blocks and wooden logs among others. They are often made from plastic, but not always. Interlocking blocks offer a simple way for toddlers to connect blocks together and build their own masterpieces. Bristle blocks specifically fit together with ease and even young toddlers can push them together, and pull them apart.

Some interlocking blocks, such as Mega Bloks, are especially easy to put together and make an excellent first building toy for young toddlers. Sets come with wheel bases and other additions to enhance your toddler’s play. 

Wooden building blocks

Wooden building blocks come in all shapes, sizes and colours. The obvious benefit here is that simple wooden blocks offer open-ended and creative play for toddlers. They can build something new every day and it never gets old because there is no set way to play with them. Wooden blocks are robust and can handle the often rough style of play toddlers like.

A nice upside to wooden blocks is that they are more sustainable than plastic in most cases. Some wooden block sets come with simple shapes and others like Lincoln Logs interlock. There are even magnetic wooden blocks to choose from, which are expensive but last a long time.

Big building blocks

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Big building blocks are a lot of fun for little hands to play with. Some big building block sets are similar to alphabet blocks or plain, wooden blocks but they’re simply larger. Other sets come in the shape of bricks so your toddler can enjoy some construction role play. There are lots of options for big blocks and toddlers love building huge structures, and then smashing them down!

You will probably want a good sized space inside or outside for a big building block set. They tend to take up some room and when they collapse, and they will, they go everywhere!

Lego duplo

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Lego duplo is a well known brand of building block that has been popular for a long time with toddlers and preschoolers. Duplo holds up well to heavy handed play and lasts for decades because it is made of a durable plastic.  It comes in a variety of sets ranging from Disney characters, to superheroes, to day to day life scenes like building sites and shops. The different sets all fit together. This makes Duplo a great investment toy because you can add to your collection over time.

Duplo blocks fit together just like Lego pieces except they are much larger in size. This makes it perfect for younger children who like to build, but are not ready for Lego bricks yet.

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Foam blocks

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Foam blocks are great for building larger structures, especially since toddlers like knocking down their creations just as much as building them. When foam blocks fall down they are unlikely to cause any accidents because they are light and soft. There are some great sets that look like construction bricks that work well for play inside or outside. Smaller foam blocks are fun too and useful for travel since they don’t weigh too much.

Specialized building blocks

There are some lovely building block toys that are more specialized. Some of them are especially designed for sensory play such as metallic coloured blocks in different shapes. Other sets cater to children with additional needs to aid their development. They help with problem solving, fine motor skills and are lots of fun to play with.

What are building blocks made from?

Building blocks come in all shapes and sizes as well as being made in several different materials. Let’s look at the most popular building block materials.


Wood is the traditional material for building blocks. Children have been playing with wooden blocks for centuries. Children would make their own toys out of wood they found until they began to be produced as a toy in the late 18th century. When you buy a wooden block set you invest in a classic toy that children will have loads of fun with. Wooden blocks provide the opportunity for open ended play and hold up well over time. Wood can be a more sustainable material too, just check that the set you buy was responsibly sourced.


Plastic blocks are the most common material for building blocks. Lego Duplo, Mega Bloks, magnetic tiles, bristle blocks and more are all made from plastic. Some toy companies are starting to look into more sustainable plastic alternatives, so it is worth looking around if that is important to you. Plastic blocks are generally robust and can offer lots of extra features like magnets and interlocking options.


Foam blocks are excellent for building large towers and more without worrying about heavy blocks falling on your toddler’s head. They are lightweight and sometimes come in fun designs like construction bricks and faux wooden logs. They are useful for indoor and outdoor play. They can even be climbed on or over in some cases.


Silicone blocks are soft and lightweight which makes them perfect for very young children who like to build and destroy large towers. Silicone is a hardy material that lasts a long time and can easily be washed in the sink too. This is perfect for teething children who gnaw on their toys so you can keep them clean.

types of building blocks for toddlers

Conclusion – Which are the best blocks for toddlers?

For very young toddlers the best building blocks are simple in design and do not require well developed fine motor skills to piece together. Wooden alphabet blocks or silicone blocks are great toys to start with. Next, once they have mastered building simple towers and are ready for the next challenge, think about moving onto interlocking blocks and Lego Duplo style blocks. Magnetic blocks are the final step for children who are learning how things connect and want to build exciting structures. The size of the blocks don’t matter too much, but you may be limited by the play space and storage you have available.

The great thing about building blocks is that they set the scene for endless play possibilities. Blocks can be used for all kinds of imaginary play and work their way into other games. You will see your toddler and preschooler use blocks to build bridges for their train set and houses for their stuffed animals. It’s great to watch them learn and play in such creative ways. Start with large, basic blocks and then progress to more complex building sets as your baby grows.


What types of blocks are suitable for babies?

Baby safe wooden, silicone or robust plastic blocks are best suited to young babies because they tend to put their toys in their mouth. Choose large blocks that they can’t swallow by mistake such as oversized silicone alphablocks. This type of block can also be washed easily which is helpful after they have been chewed by your little one! Check the small print and make sure the blocks you buy are suited to the age of your baby.