The Best Kids Erector Sets (Top 10) – 2021 Reviews

Best Erector Set for KidsDoes your child have the mind of an engineer? Do they like to build things and then play with their creations? If so, you’re going to need to find your child the best erector sets to feed their young mind with exercise.

Erector kits help kids to build fine motor skills thanks to piecing together all of the tiny joints, too. In this article, we’ll walk you through five of the best erector sets on the market in 2021 so that you and your child can have a fun time assembling the toys that they’ll love.

Our 10 Favorite Erector Sets for Kids

Simbans JB 148 pcs 5-in-1 Build and Play Toy Set

The Simbans JB 148 pcs 5-in-1 Build and Play Toy Set is a solid builder set which will get your child into the habit of building things with different plans with different strategies.

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Pros

  • Several different toys to erect
  • Appeals to multipotent toy lovers

Cons

  • Final build quality isn’t great

The Simbans JB requires your child to extensively use real tools during the construction effort, which will help them to develop fine motor skills. The complexity of each of the toys is not very high, which means that this might be a good choice for introductory building set rather than an building set for an experienced child engineer.

Your child can build a race car, a bus, an excavator, a boat, and a helicopter with this set. There’s something for everyone. Once they’re done with these five, they can be mixed and matched to create new multi-modal vehicles.

The final quality of each of the toys is not very high, owing to the precariousness of the joint pieces on the twisted sections of the toy. Nonetheless, your child will be sure to enjoy this set provided that you let them know which parts they should avoid placing a lot of mechanical stress during construction and play.

The rods and connectors probably won’t snap if they’re placed under too much stress in the middle, but if they’re placed under too much stress at the joint points or connectors, they’re likely to chip open, rendering the connection point useless. Once the connection point is broken, these pieces are useless. The pieces in this kit typically only have two connectors, so unlike in more traditional erector kits, they’re very easy to break in a way which renders the pieces unusable. Be on the lookout for setups that your child builds which might be placing a lot of stress on the most sensitive pieces, and your child will be just fine.

Meccano-Erector Junior Advanced Toolbox

The Meccano-Erector Junior Advanced Toolbox, 8 Model Building Kit is a construction-vehicle themed building kit which has some cool designs which your equipment-obsessed child will immediately love.

Pros

  • Solid carrying case
  • High quality pieces
  • Eight different designs

Cons

  • Wheels feel cheap

Unlike other erector kits, this building set has a convenient carrying case for your child to store everything in between play sessions. This is important because it will help you to avoid stepping on them late at night and hurting your foot.

Aside from that, this is a fairly typical, yet solid building set thanks to its abundance of moving parts, firm connections, good instructions, and appealing designs. The only drawback of the set is that the wheels and string feel a bit cheap because they’re made out of blocky plastic. Your aspiring engineer will probably not care very much about this feature because of how cool the set is, however.

Once your child is finished with the eight designs in the set, they can start to create hybrids of their own. The sub-designs in this set like the crane, crankshaft, and wheelset are all very good for teaching your child about rudimentary mechanical designs. They’re also easy to hybridize together, so your child will have no problem inventing cool new combinations like a snow plow with a crane or helicopter blade on the top of the cab.

Skoolzy Educational Preschool Building Toys

The Skoolzy Educational Preschool Building Toys – 97pc Kids Super Construction Engineering Tool Set is a set which caters to the child who enjoys improvisation and artful building more than they enjoy following a set plan.

Pros

  • Free-form building
  • Three different real tools
  • Good for making art

Cons

  • No instructions
  • No pre-assigned designs

Unlike other erector kits, this set comes with a baseboard that pieces plug into and get their structure. There aren’t any specific designs or instructions that come with this set, which means that your child will be using the structure provided by the baseboard to build their dreams. You may need to give your child a helping hand when it comes to building 3D structures because it can be difficult to establish the shape necessary for a foundation.

This set isn’t the best for your child to build other toys with, but it works very well for building flat designs, structures, or complex objects like cranes. If your child tends to need a bit more structure with their erector kits, you may want to look elsewhere. But if your child prefers to have some freedom in their building plans, this is the right set for them.

The only problem with this set is that the individual pieces are not very aesthetically appealing thanks to their bright colors which don’t go well together. This can put a hamper on using the set to produce cool looking sculptures.

Meccano-Erectorid XL 2.0

The Meccano-Erectorid XL 2.0 is the ideal construction set for children who dream of assembling their robot companion.

Pros

  • Creates a 4 ft tall moving robot
  • Robot can talk
  • Contains electronics

Cons

  • Complex assembly

As far as erector kits go, the Erectorid XL is among the most complicated. It also offers your child the biggest payoff: upon completion, they’ll have a walking, talking, animated robot that was entirely of their construction. At four feet tall, the robot might even be taller than your child.

This construction set contains motorized and electrical components which your child may enjoy setting up, depending on their inclinations. The complexity of this robot entails a lot more attention to detail and following instructions than other erector kits might, however. Your child can’t turn this erector set into something of their design, so they will need to want the robot rather than a generalized set.

If your child can handle the complexity of this erector set, they can handle anything else on the market. This is a set for the children who have a lot of other experience with erector kits and isn’t suitable for beginners or kids aged under nine thanks to its complexity.

Meccano-Erector Meccanoid G15

The Meccano-Erector Meccanoid G15 is a personal robot that children who love to assemble moving machines will take to immediately.

Pros

  • Manageable size
  • iPhone integration
  • Won 2016 Innovative Toy Of The Year

Cons

  • Fairly complex assembly

The G15 is a tried and tested erector set with a history of children using it to assemble a complex moving robot. Unlike other robot assembly erector sets for younger kids, this set produces a robot which is only two feet high, rather than four. This means that it is a bit more manageable, and not as complex to create as some of its larger cousins.

Nonetheless, this set is one of the best on the market because of its potential for instruction-following play, attention to detail, and introduction to electronics. One of the best parts of this erector set is that it has iOS integration, so your child will be able to control the robot’s actions from their cell phone. As though it weren’t enough, this erector set has over 600 parts.

Your child will need to be fairly organized when it comes to assembling this kit if they want to ensure that they use all of the parts properly and avoid losing any of the parts. The parts are organized fairly well within the kit’s carrying case, so your child shouldn’t have too much of a problem provided that they pay attention to where everything goes.

A small robot like this one is a great way to get your child started on electronics and motorized components.

The kit has high build quality, so your child will be playing with the robot for years to come. The only major downsides of the kit are its complexity, which will scare off inexperienced children, and its lack of re-usability. Your child will probably not feel like breaking the entire robot down and re-assembling it from scratch to re-enjoy the process of building the robot. Likewise, once your child gets bored of the robot’s movements and play, it may be tough to find alternative uses which keep the fun flowing. Nonetheless, this is a serious toy for serious aspiring engineers.

Educational Construction Engineering Building Blocks Learning Set

This erector set has 163 pieces of fury which your aspiring engineer will use to construct simple yet elegant machines and structures.

Pros

  • Great for the youngest of engineers
  • Colorful
  • Great instruction set

Cons

  • Too simple for more experienced children

With this Educational Construction Engineering Building Blocks set, your family will enjoy the beautiful and surprisingly complex combinations that your young engineer creates. While the set isn’t as complex as other erector sets, it’s a great introduction to the world of constructive play.

Unlike other erector sets, this building set is very sturdy once all of the rivets are fitted. So, it’s entirely possible that your little engineer will make toys for themselves and enjoy both the building process and the result.

K’NEX 100 Model Building Set

K’NEX sets have earned their reputation for being among the best erector sets, and this 100 Model Building set is no exception.

Pros

  • Non-traditional building set constructions
  • Great addition to other K’NEX toys
  • Durable yet lightweight

Cons

  • May be intimidating for the youngest children

With this K’NEX set, you’ll get 863 pieces of easy-snapping construction. Your young engineer will be able to build structures, vehicles, people, and entire playsets.

Most K’NEX sets are interchangeable with this one, which means that it’ll be a great addition to the repertoire of a budding engineer. The main drawbacks of this K’NEX set is that it isn’t compatible with other erector sets and it might be a bit too complex for young children.

KEVA Structures 200 Plank Set

If you’re interested in giving your young engineer a gift that isn’t a traditional erector set, this KEVA Structures 200 Plank set is a great way to broaden their horizons.

Pros

  • Environmentally friendly construction
  • Blocks double as a Jenga set
  • Great for using with other play sets

Cons

  • More difficult to connect the pieces than with other erector sets

With this erector set, your family will also have the opportunity to repurpose the set’s blocks into other toys or games, which is a huge bonus that no other erector sets bring to the table.

The only issue with the KEVA erector set is that the pieces don’t connect to each other as firmly as they might with other erector sets. This means that the KEVA set is better for making structures than for making other toys.

MEIGO Stem Learning Toddlers Educational Construction Engineering Building Blocks Set

This set by MEIGO is an excellent introductory erector set. It contains 117 brightly colored large plastic pieces that are easy for little hands to grasp and manipulate. The rounded edges assure that little ones don’t get hurt while they’re playing while fun inviting colors appeal to the littlest engineers.

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Pros

  • Large Pieces make it easy for little ones to build
  • Can be used with different ages
  • A wider variety of pieces allows for greater creativity in building
  • Includes real tools to help in the construction

Cons

  • The power drill is battery operated but doesn’t come with batteries
  • Some building models in the manual need pieces not included in the set
  • Hard to fit all the pieces back into the storage box

The great thing about this set is the wide variety of shapes the pieces come in, making it possible to build a more extensive array of designs than possible with other erector sets. This set comes with a full-color manual, which shows younger kids how to make a variety of different models. The models are different difficulty levels, which allows the toy to grow with the children.

As a bonus, the set also comes with super construction tools that the children can use, including two hand ratchets and even a kid-friendly power drill that runs on two AA batteries. This set not only teaches younger kids how to build but also how to use real tools to assist them.

The set comes with a storage box with a convenient handle for easy cleanup and travel. It can provide many hours of creative play.

TINKERTOY 30 Model Super Building Set

TINKERTOY is one of the oldest names in super construction toys and still one of the best. This set includes 200 traditional TINKERTOY pieces, including spools, flags, washers, rods, and end caps.

Pros

  • Durable Plastic Pieces
  • Pieces stay together well
  • Perfect for mid-level builders

Cons

  • Parts may be hard to snap together or take apart for younger children
  • Small pieces are a choking hazard for children under 3

This set is the same TINKERTOYS you enjoyed as a kid but made of safer and more durable plastic. The pieces snap together more easily and stay together better than older sets.

Each set comes with a manual with pictures for children to follow to build 30 different models. The box advertises it as a toy for kids aged three and up, but some 3-year-olds may have trouble snapping the pieces together or pulling them apart and will require adult assistance.

This set is great for kids who need a little bit more of a challenge, but who aren’t quite ready for an advanced K’nex set. It’s excellent for mid-level builders and will probably entertain kids aged 8 or 9. However, if you have a child under the age of 3, it would probably be better to get something with bigger parts because some rods and connectors in this set are tiny and could be a choking hazard.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for in an erector set?

The best features of an erector set will vary depending on what your child likes. If your child enjoys playing with trucks, trains, robots, or construction equipment, there’s an erector set which will let them construct each of those. Likewise, if your child enjoys building cities or aircraft, there’s an erector set for them.

Erector sets typically are not the most aesthetically pleasing toy sets because of all the hinges and holes for connecting, so try not to prioritize looks when you’re assessing different sets. Likewise, most erector sets don’t have pieces that are very high quality when taken individually. The quality of an erector set is found in the set’s completed format rather than in the individual pieces.

On the note of the final format, you will need to find erector sets with great instructions. Pictures are very helpful, as are multiple redundant written instructions. The more instructions that the set has, the more your child can exercise optionality in using their imagination, like in the real world. If your child would prefer to keep things by the book, a good instruction set will allow them to do so, and give them a fuller understanding of when it is acceptable to improvise.

Are erector sets good for creative play?

Yes, erector sets are great for creative play! While constructing an erector set, your child will need to use their creative part of their brain in addition to their motor skills, spatial relationships, following instructions, and engineering judgment.

Even when these motor skills are nascent, exercising their best judgment with the help of the instruction set is a great way to get started. You’ll never need to worry about raising an uncreative child if you raise them on erector sets.

The best part of the erector set experience is that they have two modes of creative play. First, your child must be creative when it comes to assembling the toy. Then, your child can be creative while they are playing with the toy.

Which brands are the best?

There isn’t any single best brand of erector set for your child, so don’t worry about it. If you get wind of an erector set which has a reputation for having good instructions, you should probably go with that one because of how important high-quality instructions are to a kit’s usability.

What type of material is the best for an erector set?

Erector sets are generally metal, plastic, or wood. Each of these materials have some benefits and some disadvantages, so it depends on your child’s needs and the type of project it is. It also depends on your price range as some materials are more expensive than others. Erector sets that include pieces made out of metal tend to be more expensive than sets that use plastic or wooden parts.

Metal pieces will be the sturdiest to build with, but it also may be harder for younger children to work with metal pieces. You’ll find that metal sets usually have smaller pieces than other sets.

Wooden sets are going to be less expensive than metal ones. Wood pieces also tend to be larger and more comfortable for younger children to use. Many erector sets that utilize wood pieces have simpler designs that are more child-friendly. However, if a wood set is not high quality, it can start to splinter over time. Also, when it’s humid, wood pieces swell and can be hard to fit together.

Plastic is the most common material used to make erector sets. Plastic is also the most affordable material. While it isn’t as durable as metal, thick enough plastic pieces is a good option for children as it tends to be safer and easier to build with and is unaffected by humidity. Plastic is also the easiest material to clean.

Do different erector sets have cross-compatible pieces?

Generally speaking, different erector sets are not going to be cross-compatible. Different brands have unique piece designs, and they don’t usually fit together with pieces made by other brands. If you lose a part, you will most likely have to go directly to the company for replacements.

If you have a bunch of different erector sets from the same company, however, pieces may be compatible between sets. For example, if you have two sets of K’nex designed for the same age range than some parts will likely be interchangeable.

Is it better to get a set that makes one specific project or multiple projects?

Whether it’s better to get a set that makes one specific project or something more general is going to depend on your child. Some children enjoy having a particular goal in mind when they are building. They see a picture of something cool, and they’re excited to figure out how to recreate the design. It’s a fun way to teach kids how to follow directions and solve problems to meet a specific goal.

Other children are more inventors than engineers and prefer to create something uniquely their own. They thrive on more open-ended activities and prefer using their structures as a way of expressing themselves. It still promotes problem-solving, but they have their personal goals in mind rather than goals set for them by others.

Thankfully the world needs both innovators to introduce fresh ideas and leaders who take those ideas and make them happen. Follow your child’s lead. They will let you know what they prefer.

I keep seeing building sets that advertise they support STEM and STEAM learning; what does that mean?

STEM stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.” STEAM stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.” STEM and STEAM mean the same thing only with the added concept of art. The terms are mostly interchangeable. STEM/STEAM is a movement in education that started in 2011. The purpose of STEM education is to teach students essential skills that will allow them to be competitive in this technologically advanced and fast-paced modern world.

STEM learning promotes skills like collaboration, questioning, problem-solving, and critical thinking. STEM focuses on applying science, technology, engineering concepts to complete projects successfully.

Many schools are embracing STEM and STEAM curriculum in hopes of setting students up for future success. Erector sets that advertise themselves as supporting STEM education are becoming more and more popular as the movement continues to gain momentum. There is strong support for STEM education, and giving your children toys that help build these skills can be very beneficial.

Although STEM/STEAM education may be a new concept to you, chances are if your child is elementary age or older, they likely have already had some exposure to STEM curriculum. Even certain preschools are starting to teach some STEM basics. Therefore, toys that advertise themselves as supporting stem learning should definitely be considered a positive thing.

Building A Masterpiece

You’re ready to pick the best erector sets for your kid and help them to construct the contents of their imagination. Pick out the set that you think will be best for your child, and don’t look back.

Remember, the most important part of the set will be the instructions. Be ready to help your child with a certain step of the construction process if they can’t figure it out on their own with the help of the plan. Once your child is bored of building the set and playing with the final product, you should encourage them to experiment with building creations of their own for which there is no plan.

They’ll be sure to enjoy the process of maxing out their creativity.

Brett Gordon
 

The brains behind The Toy Report. Having clocked tons of time in toys research and online resource development, today, Brett is dedicated to making The Toy Report a trusted space in the world of toy reviews and recommendations.