My three year old declared to me this morning “I an engineer, I need to fix Mama”. I agreed that engineering sounded like a great career path but that smashing golf tees into the locking mechanism on our filing cabinet may not be the best use of those budding skills. I started to think about her upcoming birthday and Christmas; what could I give her that will foster her desire to build and fix? I sadly came up short. Fellow Facebook Moms came to the rescue. I had so much fun researching the suggestions of other moms and decided it was best to compile a list of their favorite creative inspiring toys.


Toys that encourage a tinkerer

Multiple recommendations for a Take Apart series of toys (the airplane is the easiest)

Create different designs using a cork board, small tacks and a wooden hammer with this Tap Tack Kit.

A tool set (with actual tools) just toddler sized (comes in pink and blue).

Many hardware stores offer FREE children’s programs (like here and here) where you can participate in building and learning with your child. This is a great alternative if you are focusing on Non Toy Gifts

Tiny Tool Belt

For Small Hands is a Montessori site where all the tools/items are real but sized for kids. They include kitchen, garden, cleaning and woodworking to name a few.



LEGO©’s are not the only building sets these Bristle Blocks or a portable building set like this.


Magnet tiles like these or these were recommended by more than five of my friends.


Books That Inspire:

Rosie the Revere Engineer

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls


Marketed Specifically for girls:

GoldieBlox and Roominate Toys  are companies founded by female engineers to create toys and games that encourage young girls to peruse jobs and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).


DIY gift idea:

My friend Stacey told me her mom would keep everything besides the standard paper towel rolls and Kleenex boxes. She even rinsed Styrofoam plates, jug tops and corks. The more random the more fun! This encouraged her to reuse materials to create different things.


Keep a box of recycled goods for craft time and encourage imagination and free thinking by letting your child use it how they see fit.


A gift of experience makes a great non toy gifts, try a pass to visit a museum.


What are you gifting to the kids in your life who are interested in engineering or building? Please share in the comments!



Non Toy Gift Ideas

Building Toy Ideas – From A Mighty Girl


About the Blogger: Briana Hartzell is a Navy spouse, mother to two beautiful girls (3 years and 8 months), a former full time USAA employee and a graduate of Texas A&M University. Briana writes at Being Briana, a blog focused on the joys that military life and parenthood can bring.



238330 – 1216