2023 Gift Guide for Kids who Love Block Play!

2023 Gift Guide for Kids who Love Block Play!

Welcome to the 2023 Everyday with E and J gift guide for kids who love block play! This isn't your run-of-the-mill gift guide, instead of listing stuff across all different random categories that your kids might like this list is purely made up of toys that enhance block play. Every item on this list is tried and tested by my own family as well in classrooms I've had the joy of working in over the years.

There are two categories in this guide: accessory block sets which are block sets that you can add on to your collection to enhance play, and block play accessory toys which are toys which might not be directly block related but are super fun additions to open ended play.

Many of the links you'll find in this gift guide are affiliate links which means that if you shop through them I sometimes make a small commission. Thanks for using my links. It's a really easy way for you to support all of the free content I share without actually costing you any extra dollars.

If you are looking for guidance in buying unit blocks please check out my UPDATED unit block buying guide!

Now, let's jump into the gift guide - a list of really fun toys that are worth a look on their own, but stand out in their ability to genuinely enhance block play.

Accessory Blocks

Little bricks

“Little bricks are easy to build with. They look like real bricks and they’re heavy like concrete but they’re tiny!” That’s why E (age 6.5) loves having little bricks in our playroom. They’re used daily, especially for construction themed play. Another fun detail - little bricks can be used in water, mud, and with play dough as long as you rinse and dry them after! 

Guidecraft Little Bricks - $64.95 - use code EVERYDAY10 to save

Unit Block Roof Boards

Our most used “extra blocks” are the roof and building boards by Community Playthings. We have tried and tested roof and building boards from Community Playthings, Lakeshore Learning, Everwood Friends, and Community Playthings and while they’re all fine in their own way the boards we have from Community Playthings are completely superior. They’re grippier, more affordable, not too heavy but heavy enough that they’re sturdy and easy to build with. My kids use these EVERY DAY. They use them all and ask for more. And at only $4 each for roof boards I really could not recommend them more highly. 

Roof boards by Community Playthings - order early, their ship time is long!

Guidecraft rainbow blocks

Rainbow blocks are unit block size but colorful! The colored panels allow light to pass through so they’re great as windows in buildings and add some really beautiful detail especially on a sunny day. I love that these blocks are unit block compatible but bring a bit of color to the party! 

Guidecraft rainbow blocks - 30 piece set - $84.95 - use code EVERYDAY10 to save

Guidecraft mini hollow blocks

Mini hollow blocks are a PERFECT companion to unit blocks. They’re mathematically designed with the same dimensions as unit blocks so the two can be used completely compatibly together. The coolest thing about mini hollow blocks is they big ramps! These are pretty light weight and very easy for young children to move around. If you’re looking for a more heavy duty version check out the Constructive Playthings junior hollow blocks I recommend below. 

Guidecraft mini hollow blocks - $144.95 - use EVERDAY10 to save

Constructive playthings junior hollow blocks

The junior hollow blocks from Constructive Playthings are incredibly high quality and SUCH a fun set. Like the Guidecraft mini hollow blocks this set is completely compatible with unit blocks. It differs from the GC set in what pieces are included. In addition to the expected square and rectangle blocks, the CP set includes 2 hollow block quads which are extremely cool, as well as 4 wide ramp blocks - these are very big and great to use in building but can also act as a really cool balance beam! The Constructive Playthings junior hollow blocks are heavy and solid and I wouldn’t worry at all about kids using them for climbing. 

Constructive Playthings Junior Hollow Blocks - $266.99 - EVERYDAY23 to save

Arches and tunnels

My kids like to use these to build big, strong tunnels in their block play. They’re often garages or homes for cars and trucks. They’re also made to work perfectly with unit blocks - the narrow arches are the depth of a single unit and the larger tunnels are the depth of a double unit block. 

Guidecraft arches and tunnels - $94.95 - use EVERYDAY10 to save

Gem blocks 

Gem blocks are available from lots of different brands these days. The ones from Everwood Friends however, are compatible with unit blocks. They’re the same dimensions as unit blocks which means they can easily be built into structures without messing with structural stability. I’m a big fan of that! 

Everwood Friends Gem Blocks

Notch blocks

Notch blocks are such a cool BIG ticket gift for kids who love to build. They are not perfectly compatible with unit blocks, but gosh they’re so fun. Kids can build kid-sized structures that they can climb on and get inside of. My kids use them most often for forts and to build kitchens or restaurants in our playroom.

Guidecraft notch block set - 89 pieces - $569.95 - Use code EVERYDAY10 to save

Block Play Accessory Toys

Doll house people

People figures are a great block play accessory. It’s especially fun to add a family to your block play area that resembles your own family and friends. This can help children play out real life experiences that they’re still making sense of. Of course in addition its fantastic to include people who look different from your children to help represent the greater world! Hooray for social emotional learning through play! 

Plan toys doll family

Cars and trucks

My kids can play with cars and trucks pretty much non-stop and vehicles are absolutely a huge point of interest for block play. Keep it simple and grab realistic cars and trucks from hot wheels or matchbox OR get fancy and grab some from candylab or plantoys. These all work so well with blocks! I put a bunch of options on my amazon block play idea list. 

Plan Toys - Planworld Vehicle set

Guidecraft roadway system

These wooden roadways are SUPER easy for kids to put together independently - super low frustration and I love that. They are also nicely compatible with unit blocks - a perfect width, and work so well if your kids like hot wheels cars! 

Guidecraft roadway system - $99.95 - use EVERYDAY10 to save

Unit block ball run

This ball run is only 40 pieces but it’s totally unit block compatible so the builds you can do with this combined with your block collection is pretty endless! I love this set because my kids can build cool stuff independently - I don’t need to build ball runs for them - they can do it on their own! Even when J was newly 3 he was able to build with this set successfully after a bit of trial and error! 

Guidecraft unit block marble run - 40 pieces - $89.95 - use code EVERYDAY10 to save

Animal figurines

If your kids like animals, adding animal figurines to your block play can be a great point of interest. Our favorite animal figurines are from Schleich and Safari ltd. 

Schleich - safari baby animals

Character figurines

This one might be a bit controversial, but favorite character figurines are FANTASTIC points of interest for block play! By inviting these characters into block play your child has the chance to build little worlds they love on their own with blocks! For hesitant builders this can be a total game changer! 

Bluey Family and Car - this car is a FAVORITE in our house!

Doll house furniture

We passed on our doll house almost a year ago and haven’t looked back! Instead my kids (6.5 and almost 4) build their own little houses with blocks. We have kept our dollhouse furniture and it’s a fun accessory to rotate in once in a while to encourage house building! I added a few sweet sets to my amazon block accessory idea list, but be on the lookout in local FB marketplace groups and you might score some used! 

Hape wooden doll house furniture - kitchen set

Play silks

One of our favorite open ended toys - play silks! You can’t go wrong with adding these to your play space. We started with just a green and blue mini silk to use as grass and water in block play and have grown our collection over time. They are used daily! 

Sarah's Silks - enchanted forest play silk

Giant dump truck

Any dump truck works, but this is our favorite for big block play because it is so big and sturdy and heavy duty! It can carry A LOT of blocks and when my kids are in construction mode it’s used non-stop. It is also super well loved for block clean up! 

Tonka giant dump truck

Here's an amazon list with a bunch more ideas for block play accessories!

Thanks for reading the Everyday with E and J 2023 gift guide for kids who love block play. I hope you found something fun for the block lover in your life. If you found this post helpful please consider sharing it on social media! And if you have a question that wasn't answered here please comment on this post or send me a message on instagram! I'll be super happy to help you find the perfect block adjacent gift for your kids!

About Sami

Sami is a homeschooling mom and progressive educator with a special interest in learning through block play! She has her masters of science in childhood and early childhood education and taught in progressive education classrooms for over 10 years before leaving to stay home full time so she has had lots of experience observing and facilitating block play. Find her on instagram @EverydayWithEandJ