Mini Modernists: 15 Designer Toys for Young Architecture Fans

Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks
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Younger children often get their feel for shapes and forms, assembling new structures, when first playing with wooden blocks. This series by Tegu incorporates magnets so the blocks can be put together in new ways, creating all sorts of objects that wouldn’t be possible with ordinary block sets. The heirloom-quality toys are made of FSC-certified hardwoods and finished in water-based lacquer.

LEGO Architecture Studio
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Ordinary LEGOs are perfectly great for kids to experiment with building, but the Architecture Studio series gives you a crash course with 272 pages of tips, techniques and exercises by leading design houses. With all-white blocks, creations are simplified to their essential forms. Like pretty much all LEGos, this set definitely falls under the ‘toys for kids of all ages’ umbrella.

Vintage Architectural Board Games

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America’s largest public-trust collection of architectural toys can be found at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., which includes everything from Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs (which were invented by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son John, by the way) to board games that encourage kids to be mini urban planners. It’s a shame that we can’t really get our hands on playable versions of games like “Sky Rail: Build and operate sky rail systems of tomorrow” anymore.

Open-Sided Dollhouse by Roger Limbrick
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Included in the Play exhibition presenting Modernist toys at a London furniture showroom in 2015, this open-sided dollhouse by Roger Limbrick was designed in 1963 and produced by James Galt. Vintage models can still be scored on eBay, but it’s also still being produced, now in MDF form. While you can get it with various roof colors, it’s awfully pleasing in pure pale wood, a beautiful blank stage for those miniature furniture showpieces. Can’t you just see the mini Eames lounge and ottoman nestled perfectly into the second floor?

Floating House Shelves

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These fun floating house shelves look like Modernist doll houses, but they’e actually intended for adult use, making everyday objects like wine glasses, cell phones and sunglasses look comically oversized.