Best Construction Sets of 2019

Different approaches to building.
A JamesGames  Review!
By: James Oppenheim | Created: 2019-11-12 05:31:49 | (Updated: 0000-00-00 00:00:00)

Legos, Playmobile, and other construction sets are available for all interests and levels of builders. Problem solving, dexterity, and concentration blend are all in play, so to speak, with these toys, but when completed are also jumping-off points for further creative play.

Traditionally, construction sets have been "boy toys", but there is no excuse not to see if your daughters might be attracted as well. Some sets are still more directed at boys, and there are now boxes aimed squarely at girls, but the truth is there are constructions sets for just about any major franchise or subject your child is interested in, so gender should not be determinative.

If you have a daughter who won't look at a rocket ship or jet plane set, but who will build a doll-house or Disney princess setting, take comfort that there is real benefit from working on this kind of set that goes beyond the gender play that she is enjoying. She is learning "yes, she can" and I believe that this type of play can cross over to other kinds of confidence later in life.

One of the best Lego sets this year is the City Downtown Fire Brigade ($99.99). It has multiple models that combine well with imaginative block play. There is a hook and ladder fire engine, a crane, and many other props to build. When completed, these toys can become part of storytelling.

Likewise, the PLAYMOBIL Mission Rocket with Launch Site ($55) is a tremendous rocket and gantry that makes for exciting play after it is built. Testers really loved the addition of lights in this set which give the rocket a realistic touch when it blasts off. Playmobil has a number of related space-themed sets that can be used to flesh out the play pattern for kids ready to blast-off.

It might not be obvious, but cooking requires similar skills to model building (and by extension science work). You have to follow instructions, line up the necessary parts, and pay careful attention. The people at America's Test Kitchen have created a monthly subscription for kids who want to learn to cook. Each America's Test Kitchen Kids - Young Chefs' Club Subscription ($24.99 per month) box comes with recipes and practical props to make a meal. The subscription isn't cheap; but, for the right kid this will be a super-hit. The recipes are delicious, meant to be prepared with adult cooperation and supervision, and are supplemented by materials that provide lots of information and crafting/creative opportunities.

Make It Real - Knitting: Beanie Bun and Gloves ($22.75) is a construction kit of a different sort. Here kids make their own clothes by carefully following directions and using the included knitting machine.

Finally, music and science meet in Little Bits Electronics Music Inventor Kit ($57.69).  Using special magnetic blocks kids play through building a variety of electronic circuits that can play sounds and music.  The Little Bits sets are a safe way for kids to explore electronics.  The goal-oriented projects give good incentive for kids to finish, and the instructions are clear and entertaining.  This set has lots of post-building play built-in, as the set can be used to make music or sound effects for other projects.  Just to be clear, however, though the photo on the box looks otherwise, you're not actually building an electronic guitar, but more of a synthesizer on a guitar shaped piece of plastic.