12 Great Building Materials for Kids

A great list of DIY and easily available building materials and construction items for kids!

If you have kids and have worked & played with kids, you know they love to build!

Stacking items just seems to be second nature for many children -- and stacking things high to see them fall :)

One of our kids' favorite things about going out to eat is being able to use the jelly packets or creamers to build while they wait for their food.  I should be taking pictures of the amazing creations they've constructed over the years -- the wait staff at the resturant is usually very amused when they visit our table.

There are so many wonderful materials that kids can use as construction items.

Blocks and LEGOs are great, but let's face it, kids are creative and can find fun ways to build with almost anything.


Awesome Building Materials for Kids -- encourage creative engineering!

12 Great Building Materials for Kids

There were quite a few amazing building ideas shared at the Discover & Explore Build It   linky and many of the posts featured some great DIY building materials.  We're including links to fun construction activities along with affiliate links to some awesome building supplies we love.

Which of these cool items do you have around the house?



Wood & Cardboard Blocks

One of the classic building items all kids enjoy! 

Blocks aren't just for stacking either -- and they can be made from a variety of materials.

Having a Colorful Wood Blocks Set will inspire many creative hours and we love wood blocks since they are sturdy enough to be used inside and outdoors.  We also love playing with Cardboard Blocks which are very light plus nice and large for tiny hands. 

Try these fun block building activities:

Happy Birthday Author shows us how to build & READ with cardboard blocks! 

Sunny Day Today Mama shared a great idea for turning a video game into fun, hands-on block play with their Homemade Angry Birds game

Fun-a-Day also shared a block construction activity -- building real structures with blocks

And if the kids are tired of their block structures falling down while building, head over and visit the Fit Kids Clubhouse to learn how to make 'sticky blocks'!


Cardboard Building Set

Cardboard Builders

We love taking a cardboard box and turning it into something spectacular -- like a Cardboard Castle complete with working draw-bridge

They have awesome cardboard kits to build a variety of structures --

Build a Pirate Ship!

Or create a Princess Carriage

You can also fly to the moon in this Cardboard Rocket


Cardboard makes wonderful building material because it's not only sturdy but can also be bent and flexible for your design. 

Happy Hooligans shared this awesome tutorial on how to make your own cardboard construction set

Craftulate created a cool set of cardboard ramps with their big box. 


Build with Food


I've already talked about those fun resturant building sessions with jams and creamers. 

Life with Moore Babies shows us a fun way to build & design with cheese cubes.

Another popular food building item is marshmallows -- build your own Marshmallow Constellations with this fun activity!


 Build Art with Legos


Another classic building toy that so many kids love to use to create.  For younger kids, LEGO DUPLO Sets are the best with larger blocks that are easy to manipulate for smaller hands.  Older kids will get years of use out of a Classic LEGO Set -- we've used ours for fun at home and school projects too!

Here are a few wonderful examples of LEGO creations --

Travel Turtle shows us how to use LEGOs to build a piece of art

Build the Water Cycle and learn a little science too.

And for more amazing building & learning with Legos, visit Living Montessori Now for more than 70 fun ideas!


build with magnets

Metal & Magnets

I love the science/engineering overlap when you build with magnets! 

I promise the kids will try to attach the 'wrong' ends of the magnets just to feel them repel each other :)

Once your kids are older (since magnets aren't a safe toy for younger kids), a set of magnetic builders is a worthwhile investment! 

Our set of Colorful Magnetic Sticks is always a popular item when the kids want to build and it's great for car trips. 

We also really love the PicassoTiles Magnet Building Tiles.

For a set of your own, check out this idea from What Do We Do All Day? -- add some magnets to metal items from around the house and you can build some 'can-structions'!


build a bridge

Paper & String

Building with paper is actually an ancient art form (think origami!). But you can also use paper in many other ways. 

School Time Snippets shares a few ways you can use paper to construct a bridge - very fun engineering activities!


Build a Pillow Fort

Pillows & Blankets

How about constructing a fort with the kids!  Another great building opportunity. 

Creative Playhouse shows us how to build a fun reading den -- be sure to check out this list of Great Books to Read in Your Fort too!

Kitchen Counter Chronicles shares that no matter how old you might be, building a fort is still a creative & exciting way to play!


Build a Train Track sprinkler

Pool Noodles

They're not just for swimming! 

Check out this outstanding train track sprinkler that was created by Play Trains!  I love how they used train terminology while constructing the tracks.


bridge challenge

Popsicle Sticks

There are a lot of items you can build using popsicle sticks -- and no, you don't have to eat popsicles all summer just to build :)   Wood Craft Sticks can be found at many craft stores.

Check out this great bridge building challenge from Busy Kids Happy Mom.


Build with Recycled Items

Recycled Items

There are all types of recycled items that can be used for building and constructing something new.  We love to have a Tinker Box in the house so the kids can create & construct on a whim.

Here's an AWESOME example from Live and Learn Farm of how to use unneeded furniture to construct a box for your chicks (built by a 12 year old - very impressive!)


Build a Snow Fort


Ah yes, it may be weather dependent but when you get a good amount, it's worth the time outside to create something awesome! 

We had a neighborhood family that built an Easter Island head instead of your everyday snowman during our last storm. If you have a Snow Block Maker , it's great for making 'snow bricks' as you build.

And Life with Moore Babies shared how building a snow fort can be a great way to learn about construction and design!


Build with Styrofoam


And even though it can be messy, styrofoam is another great building material for kids

Pair it with golf tees, pencils and other items that can be stuck together and you too can build some amazing structures like Mama Papa Bubba!


What unique items do your kids use to build?



Awesome building materials for kids - newspaper, cardboard and more!


15 Awesome Things to Make with Newspaper

DIY Garden Sundial for Kids




Kids Books that Celebrate Fireworks, the Flag and ...
Vacation Craft for Kids: Travel Buckets & Bags