With additional reporting from Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero
When TDmonthly interviewed retailers in a May 2013 survey, we found that LEGO still rules the roost when it comes to best-selling construction toys. Magnatiles also remained popular, along with these other fun building toys:
No manufacturer paid to be included in this article. All products listed were designated by editorial staff without regard to the company's relationship with TOYDIRECTORY.com/TDmonthly Magazine.
This 48-piece set includes solid colored pieces, along with pieces with holes, curved pieces, a magnetic door and a wheeled piece. Magna-Tiles DX contains 12 small squares, four large squares, six isosceles triangles, 10 right triangles, 11 equilateral triangles, a wheeled piece, and arch and three special shapes. An idea guide is included. — In late summer 2010, five percent of 43 specialty retailers toldTDmonthly Magna-Tiles are an overall best-selling product. — In late Spring 2011, 25% of retailers mentioned Magna-Tiles as a best-selling construction toy. — As of 05/12/2011, this product had 5 out of 5 stars from 23 reviews on Amazon.com. — In a Summer 2012 survey, Diana Nelson, owner of Kazoo & Company in Denver, Col., told TDmonthly that Magnatiles were their overall best-selling toy.
Stop the raptor in its tracks with the lasso in this LEGO Dino Raptor Chase (5884) building playset. The speedy raptor is heading towards the city and must be stopped at all costs. Chase down the dashing dino in the big-wheeled off-roader, fire the tranquilliser gun and capture it with the lasso. — In a May 2013 survey, three out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that LEGO was their best-selling brand of construction toy.
Take to the stars in the classic X-wing starfighter. Featuring wings that fold into attack mode, proton torpedoes, retractable landing gear and opening cockpit, this most iconic vehicle of the Star Wars universe returns to turn the tide in the battle against the evil Empire. Includes 4 minifigures: Luke Skywalker, Jek Porkins, R2-D2 and R5-D8. — As of 3/30/2012 this product had 5 out of 5 stars from 6 reviews on Amazon.com. — In a May 2012 survey, two out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that LEGO Star Wars was their best selling licensed product. — In a May 2013 survey, two out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that LEGO Star Wars was their best-selling construction toy line.
Soar high above the mystical world of Chima in Razcal’s Glider to help Razcal guard the CHI. Fend off other tribes with the Raven Glider’s beak and grabbing claws, or capture them with the chain. Protect the Raven tribe’s CHI. Includes Razcal minifigure and a buildable weapon. Launch date: 2013. — Karen Park, owner of Zaks Gifts in Manchester-by-the-sea, Mass, told TDmonthly that LEGO's new Chima line is their overall best seller. — In a May 2013 survey, two out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that LEGO Legends of Chima was their best-selling construction toy line.
This gigantic marble run features 103 pieces with 12 marbles. Kids can build their structure any way they like, then drop the marbles and watch them race through the run. — In a May 2013 survey, two out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that marble runs were one of their best-selling construction toys.
An 8 in 1 land themed construction kit with Laser Pegs, construction parts, and a Triangle Power Base. — In a May 2013 survey about construction toys Joe Berardoni Jr, owner of Pun's Toys in Bryn Mawr, Pa. told TDmonthly that "Here at Pun’s, we continue to sell Laser Pegs very well, mostly the Land, Sea and Air series. Their new design which makes them compatible with other construction bricks has helped boost sales over last year at this time." — In a July 2013 survey Joe Berardoni Jr., owner of Pun's Toy Shop in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly that Laser Pegs is one of the store's best-selling electronic or battery-operated toys. — Karen Laroche, manager of Kid's Ketch in Lews, Del., told TDmonthly in a Fall 2013 survey that Laser Pegs are one of her store's overall best-selling toys.
ZOOB Jr. features soft pieces that bend, snap together snugly and move. Both sets (15- and 30-piece) feature larger pieces in three basic shapes that are simple to use. Softer, more flexible pieces make connections easier and the larger scale results in giant creations. “ZOOB Jr. brings its unique and dynamic building characteristics to a younger audience. Now toddlers and preschoolers can also enjoy and benefit from ZOOB’s Mind-Building Construction System,” Greg McVey of Infinitoy told TDmonthly. The 30-piece set has a suggested retail price of $24.99. Launch date: October 2007. — Terry Myers of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas, told TDmonthly ZOOB Jr. was one of the best toys at Toy Fair 2007. — A top pick, retailer Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Toys, informed TDmonthly at Toy Fair 2010.
You don’t have to be an engineer to create with nanoblock. With these micro-sized building blocks, 3D structures are constructed like never before. Watch as the beautiful Lady Liberty takes shape with over 700 assorted size and colored pieces. Includes detailed color instructions. Launch date: September 2012. — As of 10/01/2012 this product had 5 out of 5 stars from 1 review on Amazon.com. — Joe Berardoni Jr., owner of Puns Toys in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly in a Fall 2012 survey that nanoblocks are one of their top selling hobby items. — Rebecca Goblish, owner of Picayune Toys in Dunwoody, Ga., told TDmonthly in a May 2013 survey that for older kids, nanoblocks were her best-selling construction toy. Awards: 2015 TDmonthly Magazine Top Toy Award
This set includes 100 pieces of various colors to make creative construction projects and marble runs. Launch date: July 1, 2009. — Rebecca Goblish, owner of Picayune Toys in Dunwoody, Ga., told TDmonthlyin a May 2013 survey that Q-Ba-Maze is one of her best-selling construction toys. — Dean Smith, owner of Jazam Toys in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly in a May 2015 survey that this was a best-selling construction toy at their store.
Kids can build models that move with classic K'NEX pieces. Includes 300+ pieces and ideas to build 30 models like a truck, helicopter and dune buggy. Made in U.S.A. Awards: 2012 Dr. Toy Best Classic Toys — Dalene Lockhart, owner of Toy Town in Casper, Wyo., told TDmonthly in a May 2013 survey that K'Nex was one of her best-selling construction toy brands.
Writer's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author