Parents' Choice: Top Toys for Kids Who Love Engineering

Tinkerers everywhere, rejoice!

If your child has a knack for resourceful problem-solving, expresses an interest in machines, and loves to build, then these toys will further pique those interests.

Give fledgling engineers the tools and training to reimagine the world around them — from their own kitchens to outer space. Here are some excellent toys that can develop engineering skills:

1. Kids First Aircraft Engineer

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What it is: A building set that encourages kids to construct various forms of transportation (from a helicopter to a solar glider) as they progress through a narrative of the fictional Omega family’s vacation

Parents’ Choice Award®: Gold — “an attractively illustrated story that has assembly instructions built directly into it

Number of players: 1+

Recommended for lovers of: Interactive storytelling, aircraft, imaginative play, building

Ages: 3–5

Price: $44.99 (purchase)

2. Kids First Amusement Park Engineer

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What it is: A building set that encourages kids to construct a range of amusement-park rides (from a log flume to a merry-go-round), learning key physics concepts and vocabulary in the process, as part of a narrative about the fictional Omega family

Parents’ Choice Award®: Gold — “provides excellent long-term play and learning values as well as hours of imaginative and creative play

Number of players: 1+

Recommended for lovers of: Interactive storytelling, physics, imaginative play, building

Ages: 3–5

Price: $64.99 (purchase)

3. Kids First Automobile Engineer

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What it is: A building set that encourages kids to construct a range of vehicles (from a fire engine to a crane), learning about basic physics concepts and tools in the process, as part of a narrative in which the fictional Omega family travels through town

Parents’ Choice Award®: Gold — “[young children] practice and hone fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, following-of-directions, patience and persistence

Number of players: 1+

Recommended for lovers of: Interactive storytelling, vehicles, physics, imaginative play, building

Ages: 3–5

Price: $44.99 (purchase)

4. The Kids’ Book of Simple Machines: Cool Projects & Activities that Make Science Fun!

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What it is: A thoroughly engaging book that describes six simple machines — wedge, wheel and axle, inclined plane, screw, and pulley — and their ubiquity in daily life, detailing easy related projects for kids

Parents’ Choice Award®: Gold — “for junior engineers, this is a great book; for any curious child, it could be an ‘aha’ moment

Recommended for lovers of: Reading, hands-on building, experimentation

Ages: 5–9

Price: $14.95 (purchase)

5. Maker Studio: Winches Set

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What it is: A kit that challenges young learners to use its contents, together with household items, to construct machines and solve problems.

Parents’ Choice Award®: Silver — “well-designed and well-priced

Number of players: 1

Recommended for lovers of: Building, repurposing, visual learning, machines

Great to pair with: The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay

Ages: 8+

Price: $19.99 (purchase)

6. Remote Control Machines: Space Explorers

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What it is: A building kit for constructing several machines (at three levels of difficulty), including a space shuttle arm, that can be operated by remote control

Parents’ Choice Award®: Gold — “a wonderfully rich learning experience

Number of players: 1+

Recommended for lovers of: Building, problem-solving, robotics, astronomy

Ages: 8+

Price: $99.99 (purchase)

7. Chibi Lights LED Circuit Stickers

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What it is: An LED light kit that allows kids to build circuits while learning about current, switches, series vs. parallel, and light design

Parents’ Choice Award®: Gold — “excellent long-term play value

Number of players: 1+

Recommended for lovers of: Problem-solving, building, electronics

Ages: 13+

Price: $30.00 (purchase)

To discover other great educational toys for kids with a variety of interests, check out all nine gift guides from Noodle and Parents' Choice®.