Foster Your Child's Creativity With These Modern, Architectural Building Toys For Kids

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo / Published by Dwell
Many parents find themselves constantly searching for creative and well-designed building toys for their children.

The ultimate win is when you find toys that foster creativity, inspire learning, instill a good sense of design, and are eco-friendly—which earns extra-credit points. The following building sets meet all those criteria and will keep the little ones entertained for hours.

Bokah Blocks

Bokah Blocks is an innovative hardwood construction toy with an inventive, patented feature: The Bendy Joints. The blocks can be connected with "bendys" to form flexible joints, making the block constructions rotatable, portable, and wearable. Their natural wood-grain finish, clear-cut lines, and simple color palette make them sleek, stylish, and educational. The company recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to produce a smaller, more affordable toy package, the Explorer set.

Foster Your Child's Creativity With These Modern, Architectural Building Toys For Kids - Photo 1 of 4 - Bokah blocks come in four sizes: Longs, Halfys, Smalls, and Tinys. Bendys are single-size, flexible units that can stretch, pull, bend, and twist. 

Bokah blocks come in four sizes: Longs, Halfys, Smalls, and Tinys. Bendys are single-size, flexible units that can stretch, pull, bend, and twist. 

Tsumiki Stacking Blocks

Tsumiki Stacking Blocks from Japanese architectural firm Kengo Kuma and Associates, in collaboration with composer Ryuichi Sakamoto's forestry conservation organization More Trees, offer endless creative building possibilities for both little and big people. They're crafted from sustainably sourced Hinoki wood (Japanese cedar) and smell delicious.

Foster Your Child's Creativity With These Modern, Architectural Building Toys For Kids - Photo 2 of 4 - Tsumiki Stacking Blocks are available in sets of seven, 13, or 22. 

Tsumiki Stacking Blocks are available in sets of seven, 13, or 22. 

Mokulock Wooden Building Bricks

Inspired by LEGO® and carved out of wood, the Japanese company Mokulock offers a natural and eco-friendly alternative to the iconic plastic building toy. Each set contains bricks carved from six types of Japanese trees including cherry, birch, maple, bigleaf magnolia, hornbeam, and zelkova. 

Foster Your Child's Creativity With These Modern, Architectural Building Toys For Kids - Photo 3 of 4 - Mokulock blocks are carved from solid pieces of wood and are void of surface-finishing oil, chemicals, paint, or glue.

Mokulock blocks are carved from solid pieces of wood and are void of surface-finishing oil, chemicals, paint, or glue.

Haba Architectural Blocks

Well-known for their classic wooden building toys, Haba puts a design-forward spin on their building blocks with their architectural series. The beechwood blocks are available in different sets, which allow kids to build their own versions of the Roman Colosseum, a Russian cathedral, and even Egyptian pyramids. 

Foster Your Child's Creativity With These Modern, Architectural Building Toys For Kids - Photo 4 of 4 - Haba's wooden architectural building sets range from $39.99 to $44.99.

Haba's wooden architectural building sets range from $39.99 to $44.99.

Shop Other Design-Savvy Toys

Tints 42-Piece Magnetic Wooden Block Set
Tints 42-Piece Magnetic Wooden Block Set
Tegu has reinvented the wooden block by safely embedding magnets into each piece. A modern twist on a beloved classic, these colorful blocks are curiously attractive to kids (and kids at heart) and support open-ended and unscripted play. No instruction manuals or electronics...just toys that demand imagination and inspire limitless creativity for children of all ages. Made with eco-friendly, sustainably-sourced Central American hardwoods and safe, non-toxic, water-based lacquer fish, these brilliantly simple, safe, heirloom-quality blocks will encourage the joy of creating for generations.
Candylab Toys Collection
Candylab Toys Collection
Here’s a toy collection that looks like it’s made more for the parents than for their children. Designed by Brooklyn-based Candylab Toys, these wooden cars take inspiration from mid-century design and classic American cars, adding a sprinkle of retro styling to the mix. Each toy car features a solid beech wood body and food-grade rubber tires. Make no mistake – these cars are meant to be played with until their surface carries the marks to prove a place of honor in an extensive toy collection. But you can also simply display them on a shelf to show off your love of ‘60s American car design.
Norwegian Shipping Set
Norwegian Shipping Set
Wooden fishing boat, barge, oil tanker, submarine and tug boat for desktop or floor display. Made in Norway with natural unfinished beechwood. Comes in a complete set and develops a patina with use over time. The rounded shapes and sturdy dimensions mean that the toys can last for generations to come. 
Cubby Tray Storage Cabinet
from Whitney Brothers
Cubby Tray Storage Cabinet from Whitney Brothers
Store various classroom supplies or toys with the Cubby Storage Cabinet. Extra-deep, removable trays can be taken anywhere there's fun to be had. The cabinet is crafted from durable, easy-to-clean birch laminate, making it the perfect storage choice with lots of little ones around.
Wooden Dolls by Vitra
Wooden Dolls by Vitra
Partly joyful, partly grim, completely charming. The Vitra Wooden Dolls by Alexander Girard are colorful decorative accessories/toys inspired by Girard's passion for the local popular art of Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. Each of the distinctive figures is made out of solid pinewood and hand-painted. Collect them all.
Mini Library Bookshelf
from Oeuf
Mini Library Bookshelf from Oeuf
Store your child's books, toys and stuffed animals in modern style with the Mini Library Bookshelf. Featuring an open design, this bookcase also has two compartments with hinged doors for hiding away clutter. The Mini Library's low profile makes it easy for children to reach their favorite items.
Tegu Sets
Tegu Sets
Brothers Chris and Will Haughey made the decision to plant their company headquarters outside Tegucigalpa, Honduras to positively impact the local community. Tegu employs workers from the area and partners with local Honduran cooperatives to harvest mature wood for its collection of magnetic block sets. Featuring a variety of shapes that are designed to work together, Tegu sets come in a range of sizes and color schemes, allowing kids to create projects big and small. The blocks are non-toxic with a water-based lacquer finish and durable enough to pass down through generations. Photo: Talisman
Cubebot from Areaware
Cubebot from Areaware
Robot toys are usually made of plastic and require batteries - but not all! Meet Cubebot, a poseable, playful fellow constructed of beautiful eco-friendly wood and powered by your imagination. Inspired by the Japanese Shinto Kumi-ki puzzles, the Cubebot is a non-traditional take on the toy robot which joins ancient Japanese traditions with contemporary toy culture. Cubebot's powerful hardwood frame can hold many poses, and his elastic-band muscles and durable wood limbs make him impervious to breakage. When it's time for him to rest, he folds into a perfect cube. An enduring classic that will withstand generations of play. Available in two sizes.
Blockitecture City Building Blocks "Garden City"
Blockitecture City Building Blocks "Garden City"
Build the world you want to see with Blockitecture, a set of architectural building blocks by designer James Paulius. Cantilever and nest twenty hexagonal blocks to create towers, cities and dwellings. Blockitecture Garden City, the deluxe set, adds pavillions and garden terraces to original Blockitecture forms.

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