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The Best Toys for 2-Year-Olds
My husband and I have limited space in our starter home. So when it comes time for Christmas or our daughter’s birthdays, we don’t want to end up with a bunch of toys that we don’t need.
So we do something that’s a little less traditional. But it’s been working out really well for us…
We scour the Internet for the best types of toys for our daughter and try to come up with a list of toys that promote different skills (imaginative play skills, fine motor skills, etc.). We then create an Amazon Wish List for those toys and only share it with our closest family members who appreciate us giving them hints at what to buy. (We try not to do it in a tacky way).
Now that we’ve had some time to watch our daughter play with her toys for 2-year-olds, we know what worked and what didn’t work well.
Toys for 2-Year-Olds
The two-year-old phase is crazy! It’s amazing how much a two-year-old develops in a matter of just a few months.
And a lot of toys out there seem like they’re either for babies or are marked for ages 3 and up. So finding toys for two-year-olds might seem like a daunting task. But even if you get a toy for your two-year-old that might seem a little too advanced, you’d be surprised at how soon your child ends up catching on to it and playing with it.
We found that our daughter wouldn’t show interest in some toys when she first turned two in February. But then she almost magically caught on to some of them overnight and suddenly knew exactly what to do with them.
So after searching through the Internet for toys for 2-year-olds that promoted different developmental skills and getting some other cool gifts for our two-year-old, here’s our list of some of the best gifts for 2-year-olds (at least we think so).
The Best Toys for 2-Year-Olds
These stacking blocks promote building skills and some balance/fine motor skills. They’re also a great gift for a one-year-old, but we found that our daughter started to play with them more independently at age 2.
The blocks have colorful pictures on all sides. And your child can learn how to stack them according to size and number, as well as how to fit them back inside one another.
A Barn and Farm Animal Set
A barn and farm animal set like this one can promote imaginative play for your two-year-old. It also acts as a great opportunity to share with your child how farms tend to work.
We especially love this set because it’s made by Green Toys, which makes non-toxic toys that are made from 100% recycled materials.
My daughter received a set of magnetic Picasso Tiles as a gift for her second birthday. It took a while for my daughter to take to them because they require some practice with fine motor skills. But now, she’s obsessed with them!
Not only do they promote good fine motor skills, but they also encourage creativity and problem-solving.
Puzzles are great for learning, problem-solving, memory, and fine motor development. When my daughter first turned two, she was doing much simpler puzzles like these Melissa & Doug puzzles.
Now, she’s moved on to more advanced puzzles. And she’s really been enjoying doing these harder Melissa & Doug puzzles over and over again. We love them because the pieces are sturdy and non-bendable, which is essential for a two-year-old.
A large set of blocks like this 150-piece bag of Mega Bloks is a perfect gift for 2-year-olds. The blocks promote mathematical and problem-solving skills. And they also promote creativity and self-expression.
The only downside is that they’re overwhelming to pick up afterwards. But sometimes playing with only half the bag at a time can help with that!
A play kitchen and food set are not only for girls, but rather the boys we see at the local library seem to love playing with food as well! They promote imaginative play skills and social interactions.
My daughter has these hand-painted wooden food items by Melissa & Doug. (We generally prefer toys that are made from wood or recycled materials versus cheap plastic).
And for her kitchen set, she has a cute little wooden, hand-me-down kitchen set. But you should see some of the kitchen sets they make now! We may need to upgrade to one of them later. 😉
Train Set and Table
OK… So this toy takes up a lot of space. And you may find that your local library has one for your child to play with anyway. But my husband and I really wanted a train set and table for our daughter (probably because we always wanted ones for ourselves when we were younger). So since we had some extra space in our game room, we got one.
Both our table and train set are Melissa & Doug. We really love the table, which can be used for other things as well! And we got this train set for our daughter. It’s a little easy for her to knock down the pieces when you elevate them, but it’s definitely a great set for her to grow into.
Train sets can help with skills like problem-solving and engineering. They can also help with communication and social interactions, especially when you play together with your child. (Related Post: 11 Simple Ways to Teach Your Toddler Communication Skills).
Animal Alphabet Bath Toys
My daughter loves playing with these animal alphabet bath toys. They can stick to the sides of the bathtub when you wet them. But my daughter also likes it when we line them up in alphabetical order on the floor and sing the alphabet song.
These toys promote fine motor skills, as your child will require them to take the letters in and out of the animal. They can help teach your child animals and the alphabet.
Mr. Potato Head
A two-year-old requires some help with playing with Mr. Potato Head because it requires some strength to stick the pieces into the potato. But it’s still a great toy!
Mr. Potato Head promotes creativity and fine motor skills. It can also help your child learn about body parts and clothing accessories.
An Art Easel
Of course, drawing and coloring are great for two-year-olds. And coloring books make great gifts. That’s because coloring can be calming and can promote creativity, self-expression, and fine motor skills.
But for a gift that’s a little more unique, this Melissa & Doug two-sided art easel is awesome. (I seem to have a thing for Melissa & Doug toys. But I actually didn’t realize it until I was writing this post!) It comes with a chalkboard on one side and a dry erase board on the other, as well as some clips to hang paper from.
A Mess-Free Coloring Tablet
When you have a two-year-old, coloring with crayons and markers can get quite messy. That’s why I love these simple Melissa & Doug On-the-Go Water Wow! reusable activity pads.
Your child only uses water to color on these pads, and there’s no paint involved. They work by your child going over the pictures with a water pen to uncover the colors and hidden images that they can try to find.
This is a great toy for when you’re on-the-go. It can also promote visual scanning skills and fine motor skills.
If you have a daughter, chances are that she’ll eventually want a dollhouse. So we thought it would be a good idea to get one for our daughter early. And she loves it!
KidKraft makes beautiful dollhouses. My daughter has this one. I love the colors and that it was easy to assemble. Warning: the dolls, which are sold separately, are old-school wooden dolls. But my daughter doesn’t mind, and what’s great is that their legs bend so they can sit on chairs.
Playing with dolls can promote self-expression and practice with social interactions.
And even boys love to play with dollhouses, too. If you’re concerned that most dollhouses look too girly, check out this dollhouse by another great brand, Hape. This was our second choice because we thought we should get something gender neutral (but then my mom reminded me that little boys don’t actually care whether things look girly).
Most children love playing outdoors and will play with outdoor toys for hours. This gives you a chance to relax and to perhaps get a few things done.
Here are some of the outdoor toys we got as gifts that our daughter loves. They promote creativty, problem-solving, and fine and gross motor skills:
A Water Table
And Don’t Forget About Books
If you start reading to your child early, chances are that he’ll love reading books. My daughter loves My First Brain Quest, which doesn’t look like a book and teaches your child communication skills.
We also love books by Sandra Boynton and Eric Carle right now!
Buying Toys for 2-Year-Olds
Overall, remember that two-year-olds grow so much during one year. So you want to have toys that promote the practice of a variety of developmental skills.
It’s also good to have some toys that your child can grow into throughout the year and beyond (without going overboard and getting toys that are meant for a higher developmental level).
What toys does your two-year-old absolutely love? Let me know in the comments below!