Ideas for building with a kids straw building set
Creative Play Sculpture

How My Kids Use Their Straw Building Set


My Kids Favorite Building Set

This post contains affiliate links. When I interviewed Maia the other day, she claimed her straw building set to be one of her favorite Christmas gifts. I thought I’d follow up and share a few of the structures she’s built with the straws as well as other things she’s done with them.

First, though, here’s a picture of the straw builders and connector pieces in their box ::

Writing with Straw Builders 2

The whole straw building set is quite compact and unassuming. A medium-sized cardboard box with, well, plastic straws. And little jacks-like connectors. Granted they are sturdy straws. But still, just straws.

But Oh, how many castles, houses, and other fun structures have been built with this set!

Using a Straw Building Set

Kids Straw Builders 3

Here is one house that Maia and Daphne (mostly Maia) built for their dolls, covering the top with playsilks and scarves (held on with clothespins) and outfitting the interior with a small rug and bed. There’s even a door!

Kids Straw Builders 4

Another day, Maia built this kitten castle (see the crenellation?) for Daphne, who was pretending to be a kitten. And then, when the kitten in question was taking her afternoon nap in her own bed, Maia did some reading in the cozy castle.

I could go on for a long time with all the various structures that have been built, including a hot air balloon, following the instructions provided with the Brilliant Straw Builders set. But here’s the latest use for the straws:

Writing with Straw Builders 1

Writing words! Daphne made a letter D and then Maia wrote both names out using the straws.

Reminds me of when Maia used to use pretzel sticks to write her name. And, of course, the straw builders are similar to the marshmallow and toothpick sculptures (and grape sculptures…) we love so much, but on a much bigger scale.

By the way, the straw building set is called either Roylco Straws and Connectors or Brilliant Builders, depending on where you buy them. And as building toys and construction sets go, I think it really is pretty brilliant. We have the 230 piece set and it has obviously been enough for some great building action. I’m itching to either get a second set or even splurging on the 705 piece set, though, just because of how much love and use it has received. Maia always wants to build higher and bigger but runs out of pieces. (On the other hand, a limited number of pieces has forced her to be creative in how she uses them…)

Where to buy the straw builders

You can buy the straw building sets on Amazon, if you like to shop there.

Here’s the 230 piece set and here’s the 705 piece set.

Or you can buy the Brilliant Builders from Discount School Supply (great if you’re placing an art supply order with them and want to get over the free-shipping threshold).

Here’s the 230 piece set and here’s the 705 piece set.

How about your family? What do your kids most like to build with?

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Ideas for building with a kids straw building set


  • Reply
    January 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm


  • Reply
    January 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    These look so fun! Your website looks great, Jean.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    These look fantastic! It really is the simplest things, isn’t it? :-)

  • Reply
    January 30, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Those look like fun! We use to love to build with Mega Blocks, but we left them at Gramma’s when we moved (we didn’t think we’d have the room for them).
    I’ve really wanted to try out building with rolled up newspapers, but we don’t get the paper :0)

  • Reply
    January 30, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    I am so glad that you posted about these! My kindergartener came home last week saying that they played with straws during indoor recess, and I wasn’t sure what she meant by that. I just showed her your pictures, and she confirmed that this is what she played with. Then she said she wanted a set, which is great because her birthday is in two weeks and I was not sure what to get her (since her birthday is so close to Christmas). We love Discount School Supply; they are one of my favorite on-line retailers. Thank you!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    I remember having a set of something similar… but a lot less sturdy. Would love to get these for my kids will have to look around and see if I can find a retailer in Australia! thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Oh my, my kids will love these! PS They are cheaper on Amazon! (and there is a good value for the 400 pc set!)
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 30, 2013 at 7:04 pm


  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 30, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Thanks, Dawn!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 30, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Yes! It really is the simplest things.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 30, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Oh yeah! I forgot about rolled up newspapers. We haven’t tried that but I saw a great post about building with them on Inner Child Fun back when it was Frugal Family Fun. Perhaps a neighbor of yours gets the paper and could save a stack for you? Or find some at the recycling center?

  • Reply
    January 31, 2013 at 12:57 am

    I want to cry right now…happy tears! I spent my entire life playing with these things at my grandmothers house…I didn’t know you could still buy them! Looked everywhere years back! Can’t wait to see my little ones enjoy them!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2013 at 9:21 am

    My mom, who watches the kids during the day, builds with boxes and duct tape and rolled up newspaper. Often the creations are accessorized with whatever they find in the recycling bin. They’ve made front end loaders, robots, a mini-golf course complete with balls and golf clubs, castles… This week she picked up some hinges and screws and they’re creating with those.
    We did discuss getting a similar straw and connector set for the kids for Chanukah, but we decided that my four year old son would just use it to make swords. :)

  • Reply
    January 31, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Great post! I am so happy to learn of another fun building toy for my four year old boy. His siblings enjoy them too, but he could spend all day with his Magnatiles, Duplos, Wedgits, and wooden blocks.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    This looks awesome! It also seems like it would be great for vacations (hotels rooms and such). Thanks!!

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    January 31, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    My nephews got the 7 hundred some piece set for Christmas and my son was in love with them. I have it on my wishlist for him. I love how it’s a simple toy with so many possibilities.

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    January 31, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Just found our 6th birthday present!!! Our daughter is constantly building mini rooms within rooms out of pillows, boxes, books etc…she’s going to flip!

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    February 6, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    We splurged on a Fort Magic set. It’s more like PVC pipes with all kinds of connectors — 6-way, 3-way, 45-degree, elbow, couplers, etc. They are very sturdy and come with fabric clips that secure and tighten the fabric.

  • Reply
    Carrie @ Rhubarb Sky
    February 14, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Thank you so much for this post! It fully influenced my choice to buy this set for my god daughter AND my own daughter’s birthdays (2 days apart. 5 and 8 years old respectively).
    I got to give it to my daughter yesterday and found her this morning at 6:30am about eyeballs deep in a space rocket she was building! Hooray for a great/open ended and creative gift.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Awesome!! So excited to buy some soon

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    April 17, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    My guys would LOVE these, maybe for the next birthday…
    Their building material of choice is Lego bricks, by far. Also Magnatiles. But they don’t have anything to build big with – I am sure though if we lived near the beach they would make driftwood forts. :)

  • Reply
    Heather Collins
    June 11, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    I’m trying to decide between a straw building set like this or an EZ fort set. Have you ever tried an EZ fort set? It seems like the straw building is more versatile though, and will allow for a wide range of fun imagination.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2014 at 2:58 am

    After reading this review, we got a set for my daughters at christmas and they love it. So thank you for a wonderful review.

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