11 Best Toys for 2-Year-Olds
Two is little, but it’s a BIG age for your child’s physical and cognitive development. By now your toddler is exploring the world around them and learning how to mimic that world at play time. If you’re shopping for a 2-year-old’s birthday or stocking the toy box for your own little guy or gal, there are several ideal toy types to be on the lookout for at this age.
Physically, your 2-year-old needs lots of action, so toys that keep them busy and tire them out are key. They’re also learning to sort, build, and identify the objects and concepts around them. As your toddler develops their fine and gross motor skills and advances with problem-solving and cause-and-effect, their playthings need to advance along with them! Your little one is way “two” clever and strong to thoroughly enjoy many of last year’s toys; here are some new ones to consider…
Mini Grown-Up Stuff
At this age, role-playing as Mom, Dad, and other adults is important. It teaches a sense of responsibility and offers a fun way to develop their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving abilities. A diaper bag loaded up with bottles, diapers, pretend baby food, and a little rattle for their favorite doll or stuffy is a great idea. Your 2-year-old would also benefit from a pint-sized mop and broom set, like the popular one from Melissa & Doug or a pretend lawn mower.
Play Kitchen or Tool Table
To foster pretend play, a mini version of something their parents use is perfect. Invest in a play kitchen at age 2 and watch the fun roll out for years to come. There are so many out there at a variety of price points. You might also consider a miniature workstation with tools for toiling—bonus points if you can install it next to Mom or Dad’s, so they can “help” you the next time you’re fixing or building something.
Quiet Corner Tent
Create time and space for quiet, peaceful play and eventually it will come naturally to your child. A play tent provides privacy, space, and comfort—plus that built-in feeling of having a little fort or nook, without having to destroy the living room in the process of creating it. Set up some floor pillows or a cozy blanket inside and leave a few picture books nearby to encourage your little learner to enjoy this special space whenever the mood strikes. A collapsible tent like the one by West Elm (shown) is easy to move around the house as your needs change.
Two-year-olds love to build almost as much as they love to destroy! This is a great age to introduce Play-Doh and, while most of the branded kits are recommended for ages 3 and up, you can help your 2-year-old manipulate and shape their Play-Doh with simple tools found in the kitchen like plastic spoons, a miniature rolling pin, and so on. Blocks like toddler Legos or a wood option as shown are other building tools to explore and enjoy with your toddler.
Get creative and have fun! Age 2 is all about exploration, and art is a great place to start. Your little one’s art station should include lots of fun trappings—from rolls of paper and a tin of nontoxic crayons to new and exciting supplies like pom poms, glue sticks (to be supervised when in use), washable finger paint, and an easel where the magic happens.
Great for alone play, parallel play, and role-playing, a miniature rendering of real life starts to make sense at 2. Consider a cool train table or set, or a dollhouse with furniture and people that are easy for their hands to grip (like the Fisher-Price version shown). Save the fancy ceramic accessories and teeny, intricate pieces for later in childhood, though! Simple, sturdy, and too large for putting in the mouth is best for now.
Critical thinking ramps up at 2 years old, and your toddler can benefit hugely from puzzles. These classic playthings double as learning tools for shapes, colors, animals, and other areas of exploration. We love the ones with knobs for easy gripping, and anything educational that will teach them more and more as they grow from 24 to 36 months and beyond (like these shown).
Flap Books & Busy Boards
Quiet time gets a boost from soft activity sets featuring all sorts of ways for kiddo to work on their fine-motor and problem-solving skills, pincer grip, and early learning in lots of subjects. The backpack shown is a great example. Any lift-the-flap and other books that let your little one manipulate the story as you read are another great way to foster that adventurous storytelling spirit.
Ride-On Vehicle or Bike
Busy babies are the happiest ones! And let’s face it, just about anything that “goes” is a win at this age. A fun, motorized car or train is a special splurge your 2-year-old will absolutely adore. And a tricycle, bike with training wheels, or balance bike like shown are other wonderful options for getting them outside and on-the-go.
Two is the perfect age to explore shapes and colors. These educational toys are a classic with good reason. As your little one learns and grows, foster that early love of discovery while helping to strengthen their fine motor skills with a box that shapes fit into (shown) and other clever sorting toys for toddlers.
A Cuddly Friend
Meet your toddler’s new BFF! SNOObear is ready to play all day (finger puppet holes in the arms let Mom and Dad put on a show), but unlike other toys will also help your tot sleep at night. SNOObear plays doctor-designed white noise, making it your kiddo’s perfect on-the-go sleep companion.
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.