The age has long been referred to as the “terrible twos,” but this stage in a child’s life is actually pretty terrific! Two-year-old kids are becoming aware of the world around them, developing their imaginations and mimicking what they see. At this age, they’re constantly learning new skills, becoming aware of cause-and-effect, and starting to develop their unique personalities. Plus, they absolutely love playing with toys!
This age is essential for a child’s development as they begin to understand simple concepts, solve problems, and gain independence. Kid gifts, like interactive toys and puzzles, will help develop fine motor skills while books and art supplies will foster their imaginations. With early development, personal expression, and good old fashioned fun in mind, we’ve compiled our favorite gifts for two-year-old kids.
1. Dress-Up Time
Children entering this stage of life begin to recognize both their own individuality and the differences they see in others—and they love to dress up and role play. Outfits and accessories, like masks, that are easy to carry everywhere allow toddlers to explore their imaginations and are especially fun during playdates with friends. Look for familiar ensembles, like a favorite character, an animal costume, ballerina, or superhero for imaginative play. Or, consider outfits that let them mimic what they see around them, like athletes, doctors, or chefs.
2. Scoot Around
By age two, many kids have mastered walking, though they may be a little wobbly or tire easily. Scooters, tricycles, and balance bikes are all toddler toys that keep kids active while strengthening leg muscles and improving balance and coordination. Look for scooters that are low to the ground and stable, propelled forward only by pushing, pulling, or scooting.
3. Chef In Training
Two-year-old toddlers naturally mimic the behaviors and activities of those around them. So, if Mom or Dad is an ace in the kitchen, little one will love having a mini kitchen all their own. Because pretend play helps with developing language and narrative skills, toy kitchens make excellent gifts for kids. A two-year-old won’t know they aren’t actually helping to cook, but they’ll be entertained and safely occupied away from hot appliances and sharp utensils—and dreaming up a lot of exciting new meal ideas.
4. A Baby Of Their Own
A baby doll is often a child’s very first best friend, confidant, or most cherished toy. Unlike stuffed animals and plush toys, two-year-old children will recognize their resemblance to a realistic baby doll and play with it differently. Both boys and girls enjoy cradling, nurturing, pretend feeding, and caring for a baby doll and, in the process, are practicing showing love and care to another person. Plus, baby dolls are great tools for teaching kids to identify their own body parts, developing fine motor skills by dressing and undressing, and helping to get ready for a new baby brother or sister on the way.
5. Bedtime Stories
While books are an excellent gift for a child of any age, they’re especially beneficial for two-year-olds. In addition to promoting literacy and instilling a love for reading, they teach toddlers to listen, help with language development and encourage kids to use their imagination. Appropriate books for two-year-olds have simple storylines and photos or illustrations of familiar things, like animals, food, shapes, and colors. A personalized storybook will allow their creativity to flourish an encourage their sense of imagination.
6. Chunky Crayons
As the very first writing and drawing tool most children will use, crayons provide fun and entertainment while helping kids meet some pretty important developmental milestones. Large, chunky and easy-to-grip crayons are perfect for two-year-olds whose fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are still evolving. While coloring, toddlers are learning to focus their attention on the task at hand, they’re learning about cause-and-effect, beginning to identify colors and expressing their creativity, even when they’re simply scribbling. With practice, some toddlers may even begin to draw discernible pictures at this exciting age.
7. Finger Paints
Like crayons, finger paints can be a great way for a two-year-old to learn about colors, create adorable works of art, and begin to understand cause and effect—plus they’re just plain fun! Start with a set of primary colors, then teach your toddler how colors can be mixed to make new shades. Because two-year-olds are beginning to develop independence and creativity, but haven’t quite mastered dexterity yet, finger paints are a great way for them to explore art all on their own. And, finger paints are a great medium for creating Christmas crafts for kids!
8. It’s Magnetizing
Blocks are fun, but magnetic building tiles are a great way to encourage their sense of play. They can build all sorts of creative structures and let their imagination go wild. Plus, the magnets help with motor skills and push them to create.
9. A Backpack Of Their Own
Simply put, toddlers love putting things in and taking things out of containers, boxes, and bags. They’re also becoming quite independent and possessive of the things they know belong to them. Giving a two-year-old their very own backpack, especially one that’s been personalized just for them, will be the perfect place for them to stash and stow their favorite toys and books at home or on the go.
10. Everything They Need
If they’re a budding artist or starting daycare, a collection of supplies to stock their new backpack will help them feel independent and responsible. They can carry their new masks, crayons, and finger paints, as well as little odds and ends that they pick up along the way.
11. Cuddle Up
Stuffed toys, plushy pets, and cuddly toys will provide a two-year-old with comfort and security as they begin to transition out of the crib and into a big kid bed, during travel or in unfamiliar places. In addition to providing comfort, stuffed and cuddly toys are perfect for imaginative play. Stuffed animals can also be a useful tool in teaching kids to appropriately, safely, and humanely interact with pets.
12. All Sorts Of Shapes
Like puzzles, classic shape sorting toys are a fun way to teach toddlers about shapes and colors while introducing them to more complex concepts like object permanence. As toddlers learn to manipulate pieces and shapes to fit them properly into their corresponding holes, they’re developing hand-eye coordination and improving dexterity. But, these toys aren’t just for learning and development, they’re totally fun—making them one of the most popular Christmas gifts for kids.
13. It’s Instrumental
Any parent of a two-year-old knows kids this age love to bang, boom, shake, and make noise. Help a budding composer hone in on their craft with an assortment of musical instruments made especially for tiny musicians. From plastic drums with safety sticks, easy-to-grip maracas, twinkling tambourines, and pianos that can take a pounding, musical instruments are engaging and fun, let kids experiment with sound and movement, and are perfect for group play and collaboration with other kids or family members.
14. Bubbles Aren’t Just For Baths
Bubbles as a gift may seem small and simple, but their impact on a two-year-old is enormous. Always a big hit with toddlers, a plain old bottle of bubbles can provide hours of good, clean entertainment. Kids—and their parents—will love being active by jumping, chasing, and popping bubbles that float and fly through the air. Plus, playing with bubbles creates a great opportunity to talk about science with kids. How the bubbles form, why they float (and eventually fall to the ground), and how they stick together are all simple scientific concepts that kids can start to understand.
15. Get Artsy
Cultivate a child’s inner Picasso by gifting them an appropriate place to practice their art. A kid-sized easel with paper on one side and a magnetic sheet or chalkboard on the back gives them twice the space to get creative. An art easel also provides an appropriate place for coloring, drawing, and painting—something mom and dad will surely appreciate.
16. Big Building Bricks
Construction toys and building blocks have always been a favorite among toddlers as well as parents and child psychologists. Two-year-old kids love building blocks because they’re big, bold, and fun to play with. Parents love them because in addition to keeping kids entertained and occupied, they’re incredible for cognitive development. While building with blocks and bricks, toddlers learn spacial awareness and can experiment with unlimited shapes and color combinations.
17. Doin’ Wheelies
Wheeled cars, trucks, and toys they can push, pull and play with will always be a welcomed gift for any two-year-old. At this exciting age, toddlers engage in more independent play and an assortment of automobiles can keep them entertained while creating scenarios and storylines for their vehicles. Be sure to shop for wheeled cars and trucks that can handle a rough-and-tumble toddler.
18. Can You Dig It
It’s no secret that toddlers love playing in the sand and dirt so providing a safe environment for digging, building, exploring, and playing pretend will provide hours of entertainment. Stock a toddler’s sandbox with dump trucks and construction toys and watch them build an entire town with roads, houses, and hills. Stock it with kitchen toys and they’ll bake up tasty mud pies and treat their toys to a sandy tea time. Or, fill it with garden tools and let them pretend they’re growing their own special garden—they’ll be a little plant lover in no time.
19. Clean With Me
Toddlers love mimicking their mom and dad, so give them pint-sized versions of the same gadgets and tools they see being used at home. Play-sized cleaning tools, like a mini vacuum cleaner, mop, or broom and dustpan make it fun and easy for kids to help clean house without getting in the way. In addition to letting toddlers feel like they’re helping, these toys also teach important housekeeping habits they’ll take into adulthood.
20. Big Ol’ Dump Truck
Everyone’s favorite classic toddler toy, a chunky dump truck is a staple in any two-year-old’s toybox. Big and sturdy and designed especially for toddlers, a big ol’ dump truck can be pushed, pulled, or sat on. It can carry toys across a room or dirt across a garden. Plus, the excitement and joy a toddler expresses when they see a real working dump truck on the road or at a construction site makes this one toy that’s worth every penny.
21. Party In The Playhouse
For a toddler that likes to play pretend, a playhouse is a perfect place to have fun. Playhouses can range from a simple and portable pop-up tent to an elaborate two-story outdoor playset. As toddlers become more independent, playhouses give them a special place to play that’s all their own, unless, of course, they invite you in. Playhouses foster imagination and give them a space of their own.
22. A Workbench Of Their Own
Two-year-old kids love to watch, mimic, and learn in all areas of the house—including the garage. But, because a workshop isn’t always the safest place for a toddler to play, it’s important to provide them with their own set of tables, tools, and projects to build and repair. A pint-sized workbench, complete with their very own kid-safe hammers, saws, and screwdrivers will allow kids to safely participate in home improvement projects or pretend to make their own very important repairs around the house.
23. Play Doctor
For the first few years of their lives, doctor’s visits are quite common and sometimes scary. One especially fun and interactive toy that lets little kids play pretend while easing their worries about frightening doctor’s office visits is their very own kid-sized medical bag and fake first aid supplies. The role of playing a doctor is also an excellent tool for teaching toddlers about their bodies and learning to identify each part.
24. The Classic Wagon
The always classic and trusty red wagon is a toy that even parents and grandparents remember fondly from their childhood. Great for transporting your toddler’s toys, hauling things along on a walk, or going for a fun ride, wagons can also double as adorable storage solutions in a kids’ bedroom or play area.
25. Let’s Go Shopping
We know that two-year-old kids love toys they can push and pull and they naturally mimic the behaviors they see around them. With that in mind, a kid-sized shopping cart filled with pretend food creates the perfect opportunity for fun pretend play. Toddlers will love shopping for plastic fruits and veggies, pretending to pay at a toy register, and putting groceries away in their toy kitchen.
26. Sense Of Adventure
If they come from an outdoorsy family, this is the perfect age to start encouraging them to enjoy getting out. Camping supplies that fit their size plus their very own big kid blanket to stay cozy in their new tent will have them ready for adventure for years to come.
27. Play Ball
An inexpensive, readily available and totally affordable toy, just about any two-year-old will love tossing, rolling, catching, kicking, bouncing, dribbling, or dropping a ball. An essential item in any child’s toy box, balls help kids develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, they encourage collaborative play and introduce toddlers to the world of sports.
28. In The Garden
Because young kids love to help out around the house and in the garden, they’ll love having their own set of garden tools. A kid-sized working watering can allow your toddler to help care for plants, while a little shovel and rake will allow them to pretend to plan and grow their very own garden. In addition to learning to care for the earth and living things, pretend play helps children develop language and narrative skills while fostering their imagination.
29. Interactive Teaching Toys
Interactive toys can include any number of toys that respond to various types of touch and play like squeezing, pressing, shaking, or hugging. For example, an interactive book may read pages aloud as they’re turned, an interactive baby doll may make cooing sounds or appear to drink from a bottle, or an interactive farmhouse toy may make various animal sounds as buttons are pushed and doors are opened. Interactive toys help children understand the concept of cause and effect while teaching them any number of fun and fascinating things they’ll encounter in the world around them.
30. Bath Time Bliss
Toddlers don’t always look forward to bath time—unless the tub is an exciting source of exploration and play! Stock the tub with toys that encourage imagination, foster creativity, and give mom or dad a few uninterrupted moments to clean their kid of dirt and grime. Simple floating toys like rubber ducks or balls can be a blast, while buckets and cups encourage kids to explore pouring and splashing, and toys that suction to tiles can create an entire wall of bath time bliss.
When shopping for toddler toys and gifts for two-year-old kids, there will be some things to consider in addition to supporting their developmental milestones and providing them with fun. Toys very often end up strewn about a toddler room, so those that are easily picked up, put away, and taken to-go can make life easier for busy parents. Toddler toys that are non-toxic and eco-friendly are safer for the child and easier on the environment. And, toys that can easily be washed or cleaned are well-served at an age where things frequently go into mouths.