Best Plastic and Wood Tinker Toys for Kids Reviewed in 2023
Meant to be reminiscent of Pythagorean’s right triangle theory, these toys allow little ones to create all kinds of crazy structures with different sized sticks and wheels. Though they seem banal and useless, these silly sets were used to create a robot at Cornell University in 1998, and a tic-tac-toe computer now in the Computer History Museum of Mountain View, California. Tinker Toys are loads of fun for kids who enjoy building kits, and especially little creative types who might want to make more abstract structures. They’re technically a STEM toy, as they do teach basic engineering and physics principles throughout construction. Most sets come with an easy-to-follow step by step guide, but don’t feel tied down to “follow the rules.” There’s no wrong way to play with Tinker Toys!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 35 hrs of research
Snaps are long lasting in place
Pieces made in the US
Nurtures analytical thinking
Features some flexible pieces
Encourages an understanding of the STEM studies
10 Best Tinker Toys for Kids
1. Model Super Building Set
Snaps are long lasting in place
Pieces made in the US
Nurtures analytical thinking
Features some flexible pieces
Encourages an understanding of the STEM studies
Pieces may be a tight fit and may be difficult for little hands to snap into place without the help of adult supervision.
This Tinker Toy set has 200 pieces of fun. Featuring flexible and rigid pieces this set gives children the opportunity to create incredible structures such as buildings and bridges.Read more
When children are little they have a thirst for knowledge and understanding. We all want to encourage our children to explore the world and expand their minds with building models of this kind.
Durably crafted, the snaps are designed to keep in place so children can admire their creations for weeks. The toy set is made without the use of harsh chemicals and toxic plastics like BPA.
These tinker toys offer children the chance to improve developmental skills such as fine motor and critical thinking. The building set helps them practice using logic and dexterity as well.
If the desire to create is properly nurtured and encouraged that passion will carry through a lifetime. With 200 pieces this set offers so much variety, allowing for endless possibilities and creations.
Safe for use by children 3 and up, a set like this gives children the opportunity to explore the fun of STEM studies and what it means to really love science and working with your hands.
2. Piece Essentials Value Set
Comes with a sturdy and durable box for easy storage and travel
Improves problem-solving skills
Promotes creative play
Pieces are made leaving a minimal carbon footprint behind
Comes with a parts guarantee
This set is one of the pricier sets on this list
This set comes with many versatile components that will captivate your little genius. It's impossible to get bored with so many creative options! Tinker Toys has backed this product, as well as several others, with a parts guarantee.Read more
For a headache free experience, you are receiving the utmost in quality and customer care. This means that should you find pieces missing they will send you a replacement set or parts with little to no hassle.
This product is one included to be manufactured in a facility that takes every effort to reduce its carbon footprint. Additionally, Tinker Toys provides high-quality products to their customers to ensure a toy children will love, made with the care parents will love.
Wheels, spools, and triangles are just of few examples of the shapes children will learn about in these sets. These fun toys help children of all ages in a number of ways that will expand the mind and improve brain function.
For children who may be learning to stretch their imagination there is an instruction manual included to help give tips and ideas. This offers the hope that children will get those creative juices flowing to expand their imagination.
This set comes inside a sturdy box that makes for easy cleanup, storage, and travel. They are great for smaller children too learn how to count and sort while also allowing older children the opportunity to create fun and inventive buildings, cars or bridges.
3. Essentials Value Set 150 Pieces
Instructions and tips included
Develops the use of fine motor skills
Manual includes 16 building ideas
Improves hand-eye coordination skills
Set features 150 pieces
Box may be bulkier than necessary for a number of parts.
Offering 16 different creative ideas with instructions included children can learn and play together. With 150 pieces to play with there are so many possibilities for children to create.Read more
Animals have become extinct, water sources have become polluted and air pollution has become a huge topic. Therefore Tinker Toys has focused on creating eco-friendly toys that are educational, durable and safe for the environment.
As children embark on an imaginary adventure to remember you can rest easy knowing the pieces are made of high-quality plastics that are free of BPA and other toxic materials. With 16 versatile ideas and 150 colorful pieces included, you truly get a well-designed building set.
These nontoxic pieces are designed in bright and bold colors and shapes, ideal for helping children with both color and shape recognition. The number of benefits provided to brain development is irrefutable from understanding mechanics and engineering to improving spatial awareness.
You remember loving these toys as a child, now your children can experience the same joy. This toy set is geared toward an outdoor theme giving children the possibility to not only create an imaginary world but to ask questions in hope of understanding the world around them.
This educational and entertaining Essentials Value set and others made by Tinker Toys are manufactured in a facility that is highly eco-friendly. They pride themselves on being a zero waste facility and assure a landfill-free production.
4. Pink Building Set
Supports gender equality
Comes with 15 building ideas
Improves critical thinking
Nurtures problem-solving skills
Creates adorable structures to help introduce STEM studies
Due to rapid production pieces may not all be included during packaging
Tinker Toys are one of the most loved toys from many people’s childhood. The sense of nostalgia that comes with them is inexplicable. Now they have a set specifically intended to appeal to little girls.Read more
Girls are known for being less rambunctious than boys. They are drawn to colors that are less bold than typical colors. This means soft tones of pinks and purple are great for engaging little girls in on the fun too.
Knowing your children are not being exposed to harsh chemicals is an irreplaceable feeling of peace of mind. With 150 pieces in this set, all made of safe, eco-friendly materials, there are so many possible creations to be designed.
This STEM set will not only captivate your little girl with its charming colors, but also help her improve her logic, motor-skills and dexterity. With 15 different building ideas there is plenty of variety, keeping little girls interested for hours.
With flower pieces girls can create beautiful gardens, the shapes of other pieces allow for creations such as cuddly kittens or gorgeous castles fit for a queen. Little girls can enjoy hours of creative play both independently and with their friends or siblings.
Tinkertoys has done wonders to ensure your children are given tinker toys that are made free of harsh chemicals. This also set does wonder for encouraging gender equality and showing little girls the fun and importance of STEM studies.
5. ETI Toys Construction Set
Colorful, durable plastic
Big enough not to be choking hazards
Appeals to a wide age range
Lots of fun pieces to work with
Comes with eBook that guides 12 different builds
Only a few blocks can have other pieces screwed in, making it hard for group play
The screws need to be really tight to hold some pieces down, making disassembly pretty difficult
If your little one loves Tinker Toys but is ready to move onto something just a little more extensive, consider the ETI 101-Piece Set! Made from durable plastic, this colorful set includes the proponents for basic builds as well as some elaborate pieces that help children to build vehicles and helicopters! An 80-page eBook helps guide builds with various levels of difficulty. This set is a wonderful gift that can grow with your children and constantly challenge them.Read more
The included eBook contains 12 fun and challenging builds for children to complete. Children ages three and up can enjoy this kit and won’t plateau or grow bored quickly as it can challenge all kinds of ages and skill levels! These are non-toxic, and free of BPA, lead, and phthalates. They’re super colorful and made to last from durable, flexible plastic.
Children will see improved motor skills and hand-eye coordination with this set. They’ll also have the chance to build social and teamwork skills and to expand their imaginations and create their own designs! Problem-solving and logical thinking factor into building set experiences as well, making them a well-rounded toy that provides fun as well as a whole host of developmental benefits.
Just looking at the included pictures, you can tell that children get creative with these pieces. Wheels give the set just a little extra razzle-dazzle as it means any vehicles they build can be raced around the house. Or slap some wheels onto an animal design so they can run and play alongside you!
This set has a pretty standard amount of pieces for the price. These pieces also appear to last longer than some of their competitors and to provide more room for innovation and creativity. It also includes a large and sturdy storage container as well as a mini plastic socket wrench to help tighten the pieces into place.
6. Little Constructor's Building Set
84 assorted pieces including rods, spools, corners, and more
11 unique building designs from windmills to swing sets
Features a snap together-stay together a design for long-lasting play
Recommended age: 3-6 years
Pieces can be difficult to pull apart once assembled and may require adult assistance
Contains small parts that may not be suitable for younger children,
The original building toy maker, TinkerToy, has stepped into a whole new generation with its Little Constructor’s Building Set! This 84 piece playset is sold exclusively through Amazon and comes with all of the assorted pieces that your child could possibly need to create hundreds of unique contraptions!Read more
The TinkerToy brand has been around for over 100 years and their tried and true formula for a hassle-free playtime experience has stood the test of time and proven to be just as enjoyable now in 2019 as it was in 1918. It is a time-honored, American-made brand that is created in a landfill-free, zero-waste facility to provide your child with an environmentally friendly way to play.
Gone are the days of wood and metal, these new tinker toys are composed of environmentally friendly plastics that feature bright, vibrant colors and are sure to give your little one’s imagination a kick start. Dozens of iconic shapes are included in this set, from spools and rods to corners and circles.
The pieces in these tinker toys are designed to snap together strong, keeping your child’s creations in one piece for durable, long-lasting play. Manipulating the pieces can strengthen hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills while the building designs themselves promote problem-solving as well as spatial awareness.
The instruction manual spotlights 11 unique building designs from a windmill to a grill to encourage your child’s creative side and also provides tips to guide your little one through creating their very own building adventure! When the mission is over, pull the pieces apart and invent something new!
Lacking all of the overstimulating lights and sounds of modern tinker toys, this building set is ideal for children who are easily overstimulated, such as those on the autism spectrum. The smooth durable plastic and variable piece shapes also provide a pleasant sensory experience for the little builders.
7. Schylling MKT 70 Piece Set
Good starter set
Designed like old-school Tinker Toys
Plenty of room for creativity
Comes with a little storage box
Some of the pieces were not cut evenly and didn’t fit together
Small set; will need more to make elaborate builds
If you love Tinker Toys but have already rounded out your collection of multi-piece sets, consider Schylling’s Wooden Construction Set! Similar to Tinker Toys, this 70-piece set is full of fun shapes and dowels that can be combined into all kinds of zany creations. Full of colorful pieces, this set has the potential to be highly visually stimulating. The set is on the smaller side so consider this if you’re looking for a starter kit or a trial run for your little ones.Read more
These dowels, connectors, caps, and more, all combine to create awesome projects such as windmills and giraffes. Some customers complained about quality control, so be sure to check upon receiving your package that all of the pieces are cut evenly and fit together.
Building kits allow children to figure out some of the basic principles of physics and to test their shape-making abilities. STEM toys are a wonderful gateway for children interested in engineering, sciences, and other related fields.
Who doesn’t love freedom to create? Kids will benefit from being able to follow directions and pre-conceived builds as well as developing their own innovative ideas. The possibilities are endless, and the more pieces they have available to them, the grander and more unique their projects have the potential to be!
This is a great option if you’re looking to test the waters with your little ones. It is a small batch though, and thus the projects you can complete with just one of these are limited. If you already know your child is a Tinker Toy enthusiast, opt for one of the larger sets with more pieces for a similar price.
8. World's Smallest Set
Miniature classic storage tube
Comes with all the classic pieces, just sized down
Easy to travel with
Durable and long-lasting
These are so tiny they’re easily a choking hazard for children under 3 so keep an eye on any toddlers in the area
That’s right: it’s the World’s Smallest Tinker Toy. So little, it fits right in the palm of your hand! This is a great kit for adults, or for children over the age of 3 who aren’t likely to choke on small pieces.Read more
Come on, who doesn’t love a miniature version of their favorite toy? That may make it harder for initial construction, but kids also love a challenge, as long as you help them out a little when they need a boost.
With 66 Tinker Toy rods, spokes, and wheels all in the classic tubular storage container, this set makes for timeless fun. Though the pieces are small, they’re durable, and can build just as many crazy contraptions as their big brothers can.
These will help build logic, fine-motor skills and dexterity. The fact that they’re so small means they’re extra easy to tote along when you’re out and about and the kids need a productive activity to occupy them.
These are a fun little gimmick, and kids will get a kick out of how tiny they are. Children love to get creative with tiny versions of almost anything since they imagine building a whole new miniature world.
Nostalgic, easy to travel with, and downright adorable--these might be just as much a delight for you as they are for your kids. Excellent for practicing dexterity and undeniably the cutest Tinker set ever made.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
By providing our children with a range of games and activities, we give them an inside look at the most basic concepts pertaining to certain jobs or careers. For parents who think it vital to expose their children to STEM studies, Tinker Toys make a great selection. You and your children can experience hours of laughter with countless creations. From the very beginning, children may have a hard time clicking toys into place. If you find they have a hard time, this may be because their finger and wrist muscles are not strong enough to do these tasks. In addition to encouraging them to keep trying, as that is the only way to increase strength, some cool activities to try are sorting and counting pieces. While this may not seem like the most exciting or engaging activity you can do with your child, it will lay some very basic and important foundational skills. The overall design of each toy is to make the most challenging skills and tasks seem effortless and fun. They are specifically designed to keep children productive and amused in order to develop an interest in these fundamental fields. The toys come with many colorful components in various shapes and sizes in order to stimulate their senses and make them further invested in the projects.
Tinker Toy sets also provide benefits such as improving hand-eye coordination, fine-motor skills, and finger dexterity. Tinker Toys also do wonders for developing spatial awareness by providing a fun and nurturing toy to children. Color and shape recognition can also be strengthened by the use of these toys, as they come in a set that has a number of different shapes such as wheels and spools. You can help your child make associations by asking them what other things they know of that have or resemble the same shape. You can go deeper with your explanation by pointing out that there are shapes that look similar but they have major differences, for example, shapes like circles and ovals. By exposing children to these concepts early on, they are given the opportunity to get a few steps ahead and to see growth both physically and intellectually. These toys greatly impact on developing healthy rational thinking abilities and improved logic capacities. Once they are familiar with the concept of how these items work they will start to experiment in order to figure out the cause and effect of each component and soon enough, you might realize there is a prospective scientist in your family.
This educational journey will most definitely awake the creative genius in your child! Tinker Toys were originally created with the intended purpose of the inspiring imagination and inventive play among children in both social and solitary settings. These toys can be used to introduce children and get them excited to engage in playtime together. These sets are also ideal for inspiring family time spent together. They will provide hours of fun and creativity while simultaneously exposing children to certain engineering and mechanics concepts. Some sets even allow for exposure to architecture. Children can spend hours building a number of creations that will function as cars, bridges or even buildings. Since children use almost every object to imagine magical play-pretend scenarios, they will be able to envision themselves as future scientists, architects, and engineers. They will also practice developing an artistic approach to design while assembling the components. The creative benefits are endless, especially for children, who like to dream big and figure out a way to turn their fantasies into reality. By purchasing products of this kind, your children can feel more accomplished by being innovative and productive with their STEM sets.
During the years in which we spend nurturing our bodies and brains to prepare them for who we will become, we are told the importance of planning our future and knowing exactly what we want to do in life. As adults, we are well aware of how overwhelmingly intimidating it can be to decide what to do with our future. We know things in life don’t always play out accordingly to our hopes and plans. These toys have a tremendous value in helping children practice their mental and physical capacities in order to discover their purpose in life. The value factor that also went into the compilation of this list is cost. While there is definitely something to be said about the correlation between high quality and high cost, it is entirely possible to give children a valuable gift they’ll love without going over budget. The sets on this list range in price, each offering a different number of pieces, that will allow you to find the right number of pieces for your little one at a price you will love. No matter which Tinker product you choose, the entertainment, educational and emotional value they will gain from playing with these toys is truly priceless.
Muscle in the hands and wrists are used constantly and improving and strengthening these muscles lay the foundation for writing and using scissors and other tools in school. This can also show abnormalities in your child and the way their muscles are developing. You can begin to recognize if they need more care and attention to a certain aspect. These STEM activities can help to give you a better understanding of your child and their strengths and weaknesses.
Over the years, studies have shown how different parts of the brain can be affected or even strengthened by partaking in certain STEM activities or utilizing a specific set of muscles. Tinker Toys touch on a number of benefits for both fun and mental and physical development. By assembling the Tinkertoy building set components, children are able to improve their dexterity and motor-skills while practicing their logic skills and problem solving thinking.
Other Factors to Consider
Many people are well aware of the company known as Tinker Toys. The company has been in business for more than 100 years and has undergone several new ideas in order to keep up with the times and continue to provide children and families with the ability to build and create together. Offering a number of different building sets and products that are highly appealing to boys and in recent years even girls, their original goal was to provide children with a fun toy that will inspire imagination. Charles H. Pajeau first designed Tinker Toys in 1913 after seeing children playing with sticks and empty spools of thread. The design centers around one singular round center with a hole drilled through the middle, and then shallower holes every 45 degrees or so along the sides. Their signature packaging started as a way to reduce shipping costs but has since stuck with them as an iconic component of the brand.
The last aspects we took into consideration are the age recommendations and the size of the pieces, in order to make sure they are compatible with the age range and the overall safety of your child. The pieces are sized in a variety that is great for little hands to easily grip. There are some small sets with mini pieces that are better-suited and intended for use by children who are a little older. These toy sets are appealing to children who are ages 3 and up and they offer so many possibilities that the fun will never stop. The small components might represent a chocking hazard for younger toddlers who like to taste everything that is colorful and shiny and will not quite understand the purpose of the project. Overall, these toys are great for use by people of all ages, giving your children, parents and even yourselves the opportunity to build and bond together through a fun, educational adventure.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Are the pieces too small to use with or around toddlers?
There are sets that offer pieces of different sizes, however, it is still likely that infants and toddlers can fit these pieces in their mouths, increasing the possibility of choking. It is highly suggested these toys be played with under great care or not around toddlers at all. Under no circumstances should a toddler with access to these sets, be left unsupervised.
q: Are the Tinker Toys pieces compatible with other sets?
The Tinker Toys company has spent years trying to perfect children’s building toys. The new styles, designs, and materials used to make these sets have been improved for aesthetics or the health and well-being of our families. This means that with each new set, comes changes that may not be compatible with older sets.
q: What materials are the Tinker Toys made of?
Tinker Toys are made mostly of high-quality plastics, there are some sets that do come in wood if you are not comfortable having plastic in your home.
q: Why are these kinds of toys beneficial for my child?
One factor that makes these sets great to consider is its gentle ability to offer mental stimulation to children who may suffer from hypersensitivity or in other words, children who easily face sensory overload. They are engaging and offer a range of colors and textures but there is no noise, the colors are calming and familiar, and last, there are a number of textures to feel without each piece having too much going on.
q: Do they provide developmental benefits?
In addition to many others, Tinker Toys help the brain strengthen pathways that are specific to improving memory, cognition and spatial awareness.
q: What are the age recommendations for these toys?
They are not recommended for use for children who are younger than 3. Although they may or may not appeal to older children or teens, the age recommendations for these are up to age 50, and can probably go higher if you needed. They can do a lot for finger dexterity and have also been shown to stimulate the brain in a manner that can help to slow the process of dementia and other brain abnormalities.
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