Getting a building and construction toy like a Tinkertoy construction set for your kid is a smart idea if you want to expose them to an alternative way of spending their free time. Like most reasonable parents, you’d want to limit or reduce their obsession with electronic gadgets and make them learn new and practical life skills.
Construction toys are famous for delivering several benefits to users. They are great at developing creative thinking, cognitive skills, motor skills, social skills, creativity and much more. And since they are building toys, that makes them perfect STEM playsets for kids to learn basic physics and engineering concepts.
However, if you know anything about getting popular toys like Tinkertoys for kids, you’d understand how difficult it can get to get good ones. Most times, that frustration comes down to not knowing if you are about to invest money on a product that is at best mediocre.
Well, if you are looking for quality and durable construction playsets, that search is over. We have researched many products in this category and came up with quite a handful for you to choose from. We guarantee that you would find a Tinkertoy classic or several similar and compatible playsets you and your kid would love.
20 Best Tinkertoy Sets 2019
The 20 construction and building toys below are the product of several hours of research to ensure we point you in the direction of only the best. Several of the toys are not from Hasbro, the original manufacturers, but they are just as good and compatible with Hasbro’s sets. So if you need some Tinkertoy ideas and inspiration, read on below!
1. Model Super Building Set
This is the latest version of this set with the plastic pieces designed to easily snap and stay in place for as long as the young engineer is working with them. But if there are pieces from old models lying around, compatibility wouldn’t be an issue. They could still use pieces from both models interchangeably.
The set comes with 200 brightly-colored pieces making it one of the best kits for kids. With pieces such as rods, end caps, spools, washers, and flags, budding engineers can use their talents and creativity to build structures like houses, castles, all types of moving vehicles, and much more.
To get them started, the pack comes with an instruction set with 30 building ideas.
2. Little Constructor’s Playset
This is one of the most popular building sets specifically designed for kids three years and above. The pieces were deliberately made chunky so that little hands could easily and comfortably grasp them. The bright colors of the pieces also can be ignored as a factor that makes it an awesome toy for children.
The pack comes with a total of 84 pieces and 11 different building ideas to get them started. Once they get the hang of it, it is all about their creativity from that point on. It would keep them busy for hours as their creative skills are tested.
3. 100- Piece Essentials Value Set
This 100-piece Essentials Value is unique for the simple versatility of its components. Also made for kids 3 years and above, it comes with several creative options it’s hard to imagine them ever getting bored with it.
You would like the sturdily-made box. This makes it an excellent storage container for the pieces when play is over. It is also very handy for traveling.
The 100 pieces in the pack include spools, rods, washers, flags, end caps and much more to help them bring their imagination to life. It also comes with 13 building ideas and an instruction manual to get them through the first steps of their building journey.
4. Pink Building Set
If you have a daughter or some adorable little girl three years and above, you could introduce her to the joys of making amazing structures with small pieces with this building set. The softer colors of the pieces are designed to engage little girls’ color preferences.
The color aside, the pieces are lightweight and are made of high-quality plastic. This makes them durable while ensuring kids can lift and work with them easily.
With the 150 pieces in the box, she can build whatever catches her fancy. Though it is more likely she’ll start with the 15 models in the instructions sheet. As well as spools, rods, and flags, the set also includes a buildable princess and pony pieces.
5. Hasbro Classic Mini Tinkertoy Wood
A classic playset means one thing: it is going to bundle the best things about Tinker Toy sets into one set. Creative minds should be inspired by the pedigree and history behind the kit.
Instead of just plastic, enthusiastic builders would also have access to pieces made of real wood to create a variety of designs. The set comes with 46 pieces and a design guide to set the ball rolling.
6. K’nex Retro Tin
This is another classic Tinkertoy construction set that ought to bring back memories of your childhood when it seemed everything was possible. It is those limitless possibilities that little budding engineers would explore with this building set.
The journey starts with 15 different building ideas that come in the instructions and building guide. From that point on, and inspired by over 100 components, the building trip can lead anywhere. It all down to the kid’s imagination.
7. Makit Classic Construction Kit by Schylling
This Makit Construction kit is another classic building kit you could use to get your kid interested in other types of fun activities that don’t involve hi-tech gadgets.
With the 70 pieces in the toy, lucky kids could build wide-ranging objects such as a windmill with parts that simulate the motion of real windmills and animal figures like a giraffe on safari.
The multicolored pieces, made of high-quality wood material, include connectors rods and circles. Unlike most building and construction kit, this doesn’t come with a guide or building models. It is all on the kid to use their considerable imagination to start building anything.
8. On The Go Construction Kit
With 65 colorful pieces that include fun eyepieces, kids would have an exciting time building not just objects with wheels, they can also build a mini figure that could just become their new best buddy for creative and imaginative pretend-play.
The set comes with an idea sheet to inspire them to start building stuff using the colorful components. Then, their minds can take over the building process and come up with the most amazing structures possible. The various pieces snap together easily to produce stable structures that’d require deliberate and considerable pressure to uncouple.
9. Classic Junior Builder Set
Like all the best construction sets, this classic building kit for Juniors would keep kids entertained as well as challenged for hours at a time. The pieces, made from real wood, are very durable and easy to fit together to create the desired structures.
Recommended for kids 4 years and above, the kit comes with a design guide so they could learn the rudiments before switching on their creative juices and going solo with the designs.
At their disposal are 66 pieces that include 4 large tubes, 2 pods, a pod coupling, a pair of pod hangers, a pair of pulleys, and 8 rail holders among others.
10. World’s Smallest Building Set
This Tinker Toy construction set stands apart from the other awesome building sets for being really small. The size, though, doesn’t put a dent on its reputation as a complete and amazing kit that delivers lots of fun and developmental and educational benefits to kids around the world.
Recommended for kids 4 years and older, the pack comes with 66 pieces comprising rods, wheels, spokes, and many other regular components you’d expect from a building kit. All these are packed neatly inside a super cool storage container designed for easy portability.
11. Hasbro Classic Jumbo Construction Set
With 103 all-wood pieces, kids would have their hands full designing and building all kinds of amazing wood vehicles. The entertainment value is also jumbo-sized to match the size of the pack.
The pieces include 39 rods, 11 spools, 7 connectors, 16 connector clips, and a pair of plastic cams, flags, gears, and much more. The durable components are easy-fitting making it easy to connect the various parts.
With the various pieces, kids can construct a plow, grader, tank, or even a large-scale dragster. All the trucks have multiple moving parts making it more exciting and exposing the kids to the basic mechanics of trucks.
12. Basic Building Kit
This basic building kit with 65 pieces is the perfect Tinkertoy set for beginners. This is the set you want to give to your kid to hone their ability to build and create at a very young age.
Recommended for kids 3 years above, the set comes with 9 easy building ideas to get them grounded before they start designing and building their own structures. Talking about the things they can build, how about basic shapes and abstract models when they are more confident.
And once the little engineer is done building, the wooden pieces can easily be packed in the iconic tube storage container.
13. All-Plastic Construction Playset by Playskool
This Tinkertoy 200 piece set means an enthusiastic kid has more than enough components to construct different structures at once. Homes with more than one kid would appreciate this as the kids can enjoy it without having to get another set. Getting a set for each kid would be great though.
The pack comes with 98 plastic rods, 44 plastic spools, and 30 connectors. With these and the design guide, they can start building large-scale structures like a Ferris wheel complete with the ride cars!
You might feel a twinge of disappointment at first that the pieces only fill the container halfway making it look like there aren’t enough parts. But it makes a lot of sense when you want to put them back in the container. They all fit in easily.
14. STEM Building Blocks Playset
This is a super awesome building kit to get your child if you want them to be exposed to STEM concepts in a practical and hugely entertaining way. With the 92 Tinkertoy wooden pieces, your kid’s problem-solving skills and creativity would get the needed boost for healthy development.
The colorful and durable pieces all come packed in a beautifully-designed container with a handle making it easy to carry. The pieces include all the bolts, nuts, building boards, and several real-world tools they need to build anything they can imagine. Spaceship? Trucks? Anything!
Though this is not a building set by Tinker Toy, the pieces are compatible with the well-known classic and are just as durable.
15. Fiddkestix Kids Wood Construction Kit
With 144 pieces comprising rods and connectors, this set easily delivers several hours of fun engagement to kids. The attendant developmental benefits including hand-eye coordination and improved motor skills among others add to the awesomeness of the playset.
You would love the colorful design (kids would definitely love that) of the pieces. As well as making the structures really attractive, the colored pieces would also surely develop their color recognition skills.
The pieces come packed in a cool box with a nice plastic handle at the top for easy portability. You also get an easy-to-follow instructions guide to get them started.
16. Lincoln Logs Construction Kit
You would be amazed at the variety of shapes and structures that can be created with the pieces in this playset. The basic structures in the instructions sheet are a tall tower, two small houses, and a classic large cabin, complete with roof facade, roof, chimney, porch, fences, etc. But with the 111 pieces and a bit of creativity, kids can create different structures that would look just as good.
Each log is made from high-quality maple wood, stained perfectly to look like a real cabin’s finish. The blogs come with indentations on them to make it easier to connect with other logs and to make the finished structure very stable.
The pieces all come in a collectible tin box made specially to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this classic building kit.
17. STEM Creative Engineering Construction Set
If you want to empower your kid with the skills necessary for a better future using a building playset, you wouldn’t go wrong with this awesome construction set. And they would love it because of all the fun involved.
The 164-piece set is specifically designed to give kids a solid foundation in STEM concepts invariably developing their cognitive skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
The fun and immensely productive kit comes with instructional ebooks for beginners, intermediate and advanced users. This makes it perfect for kids who might already be jaded from playing with construction kids.
18. Straws and Connectors Playset by Roylco
If you want to see what is possible with 258 flexible straws and 158 connectors, simply get this playset for your kid. And with the straws coming in 5 different primary colors, it is going to be an amazing and color-filled journey into a world where anything can be imagined and created with straws.
Because the straws fit easily but snugly on the connectors, already built structures can be easily dismantled to make new ones or to make adjustments to existing ones. The flexibility of the straws means they can be bent to create round shapes adding variety to the designs.
Boats, tall buildings, castles, towers, are just some of the things that can be built. The kit is all about unleashing their creative potential.
19. Crazy Forts
This is a super cool toy to encourage creative play and collaboration among kids. To be clear, kids can play with it alone but it’s going to be more fun with a friend or friends. Wouldn’t it be sweet to construct a building and spend quality time with a buddy in it?
The pack comes with 65 pieces comprising 25 plastic balls and 44 flexible sticks. With the balls acting as connectors, the sticks can be manipulated easily to create rounded edges making it possible to build structures of different shapes.
To give the completed structure that homely look, simply throw a bedsheet over it. There, a nice private space to hang out and do other fun things!
20. Pink Crazy Forts by Everest Toys
This fort is similar to the one above in every respect except for one thing: it is specifically designed to get girls interested in building kits.
The rods and connectors balls are all pink this time around. But, the benefits are the same. It would be fun to see the kind of structure girls prefer building relative to the boys, wouldn’t it?
Buying Considerations when Choosing Tinkertoys
Having a comprehensive list of the best Tinkertoy building and construction kits should be the first step in the search for the most suitable playset for your kit. Budget aside, there are several other factors to consider in narrowing down the playset your kid would love without reservations.
So before shelling out your money, these are some of the things to consider:
The playsets are primarily designed to keep kids engaged in something productive while having fun. The fun they have is very essential in keeping them interested for long.
It is a good thing that all the toys are designed with a specific age range. Buying a set in your kid’s age is vital if you want them to get the most benefit from it.
The rule of thumb is to get playset with more pieces for older kids. Younger kids and toddlers would have the desired fun with the basic non-complicated playsets. Always check to pack or container to make sure you are getting a kit within your kid’s age range.
Building kits like these ones are designed so kids can create multiple shapes with the components. That means creating a structure only to dismantle it (almost immediately in some cases) to build another one over and over again.
The pieces have to be durable to withstand that.
The Tinkertoy concept is about fitting pieces together, sometimes, into holes on the components. Quality sets ensure that while the pieces fir in snugly for a tight and stable structure, they are not so snug that it requires considerable force to fit them in or dismantle.
The manufacturers have to get the balance right or kids will be frustrated by structures that are unstable and collapse rather easily.
If you are buying a product outside of this guide, make sure you read the reviews from users who have bought and used the product. You’d get a pretty good idea if the product is a good fit for the kid.
The best playsets, and as a matter of fact all kids’ toys, put the safety of the kid above all else. You should too.
What to look for include:
- Make sure the paints are non-toxic. Water-based paints are the preferred option
- Small parts – Unfortunately, most Tinkertoy playsets come with small pieces. These are a choking hazard when kids put them in their mouths. This makes them unsuitable for kids younger than 3. Make sure an adult is around to supervise the young ones if you have to give it to them.
- Ensure the plastics are free from BPA and other toxic chemicals. The same must apply to the playsets with ge pieces.
With so much quality on display, it was always going to be hard to pick a playset that stood out. But many things about the STEM Building Blocks playset by Imagination Generation caught the eye.
It doesn’t come with as many pieces as some of the jumbo sets, but with just 92 pieces, the variety of buildable objects is impressive. Kids can build structures like cars and spaceships and anything in between including robots and buildings.
We are impressed with the quality of the wooden pieces that include real-world tools made from high-quality wood. And you don’t have to break the bank to get this kit!
Best Budget Pick
Somehow, the ‘World’s Smallest’ Tinkertoy set is very popular with most folks. Maybe it has to do with the fun of making mini-structures that can sit comfortably on an average-sized palm.
In any case, this is a great product if your budget restricts how much you can spend. Take nothing away from it though, with about 66 pieces comprising wheels, spokes, rods, etc., kids have everything they need to build mini-structures of different shapes and sizes.
We were also impressed by the super cute container for storing the pieces when play is over.
When was Tinkertoy Invented?
Tinkertoy can trace its humble beginnings to the town of Evanston in Illinois in the year 1914. The brain behind the toys and company was Charles H. Pajeau who was inspired by kids playing with already used spools of thread and sticks.
The ‘Tinker’ was from the name of Gordon Tinker, who along with Robert Pettit, bought into the dream of creating construction toys for kids and decided to partner with Pajeau to market the products.
How Long Should it Take to Build a Tinkertoy?
The time taken to build a structure from start to finish would depend on several factors like the complexity of the structure, the age of the kid, and the number of pieces.
To put it in context, it should take less time to build a basic shape like a box than it would a more complex structure like a truck with many moving parts. Generally, the more pieces needed to build a structure, the more time it would take to complete it.
This ‘time-completed toy’ relationship also applies to the size of the structure. Bigger structures take more time to complete.
If you have to put a figure on it, the time would range from half an hour to a couple of hours depending on the above factors.