The Best Birthday Gifts and Toys for 2 Year Olds
I’ve shared the best toys for 2 year olds before, but I’ve learned a lot going through this stage twice. This age group can be a tough one – two year-olds are want their independence. As a mom of now three, I want to share some of the best toys and gifts for 2 year olds, and the ones my two older kids still play with at 3 and 5. Because it’s always a great idea to buy toys that will last, so if you’re looking for a great gift idea, here are some of the top toys and gifts to give for a second birthday.
The Best Birthday Gifts and Toys for 2 Year Olds
My second daughter was born in June 2020, so we spent must of her first two years at home. During that time, I tested pretty much any and every toy that might keep my kids engaged and entertained. From balance bikes to kitchen sets, I’ve learned what works for 2 year olds, and what grows with them, too. I shared a similar list two years ago, and my favorite toddler toys for 18 month olds are still fun for my almost 2 year old. But there are just too many toys my older daughter lost interest in. Not all toys are going to be educational toys, but you can find those great pretend play toys that inspire creativity. These are the ones that my kids really play with and continue to play with time and time again. And a note – the Lovevery play kits are really nice and beautiful, and I loved them when my kids were babies. But I found my kids lost interest in the toddler sets, so i would recommend finding something that will last a little longer at this stage.
What I look for when I buy toys and gifts for 2 year olds
When it comes to buying toys, I’ve found that open-ended toys are the best toys for toddlers. I love educational and learning toys, cause and effect toys, and toys that promote play and creativity. Keep in mind that a 2 year old wants (and needs) to climb, play pretend, and to create (building, arts and crafts etc). There are too many big, plastic toys that they don’t need, and ones that just won’t last. They lose interest in one-function toys like ball drops and car ramps etc. I’ve purchased a lot of toys that we’ve since donated because my kids lost interest in them. Here are the best toys and gifts for 2 year olds.
The #1 thing I consider when buying toys
One of the most important things (to me) are toys that my child will continue to play with. I’ve sold and donated so many toys that my girls lost interest in. But if you have a 2 year old and a second on the way, or an older sibling, or even if you’re planning on one child, it’s always best to bring toys that will last into your home. I love educational gifts, but prefer ones that are fun, and will keep my kids engaged.
Melissa & Doug
The Best Active Gifts for 2 Year Olds
Lily and River
The Best Birthday Toys and Gifts for 2 Year Olds
Stuffed Toys and Dolls
Bitty Baby: Young children love pretend play, and a baby doll is great gift for 2 year olds. They push their dolls all over the house in strollers, sleep with them, care for them, change their clothes, and tuck them into bed. This doll stroller is great (cute and folds easily) and is under $25! And please remember that baby dolls are great gifts for both boys and girls!
Squishmallows Plush Toys: My kids love their stuffies more than I ever thought they could. They’re fun to carry around the house, play pretend with, and most important, their collection in bed at bedtime is truly next-level. Squishmallows are an especially soft and squishy favorite.
Figurines: This is the perfect toy for toddlers who love to play pretend. We always end up with figurines for whatever the girls are really into, and they are always one of their most played with toys. My 2 year old carries around a handful of figurines at all times.
Toniebox screen-free audio player: I put this on every list and gift guide. It’s one of the most fun toys you’ll ever purchase and is really one of the most-used, best things we own. My kids still use it (almsot daily) at 3 and 5. It continues to be one of their favorite things, and we usually get new Tonies audio figurines for birthdays and Christmas. It’s great background while they play, but also the best toy for quiet time. My older daughter no longer naps, but will sit in her room and play with her dollhouse while listening to stories on her Toniebox. We have all their favorite characters in Tonie form, and I’m telling you – it’s just the best toy ever.
Musical Instruments: These are the perfect way to get kids dancing, creating, and singing. My husband plays the guitar, so our girls have quite a few instruments and love jamming with dad.
Rubber Road: This is one of the most durable construction toys – it’s completely waterproof and is rugged enough to be played with outside. Use it indoors, or in dirt and sand. If you’re looking for gift ideas that will last for years, this is one of them. A great toy for 2-year-old boys (and of course, girls, too). My girls love theirs!
Cupcake Set: This toy can be played with in a few different ways and is one of the most perfect toys. They’re great for bath time and won’t get moldy. Or use them at a water table, outside, or in your play kitchen. It’s a great birthday gift, and so durable. Green Toys makes eco-friendly, durable, plastic toys that we love to use in the bath or water table. This one is a favorite.
Chunky Puzzles: These simple puzzles can be hard to find online, but my kids love them. I started them young with these and the pieces can be used as figurines. Learn different shapes and colors, and use the puzzle pieces for open-ended play.
Books: I love a good picture book – and books are always a good gift. We love storybooks and board books and probably have way too many of them. Looking for the best books for little kids? Here are some of our favorites.
Puffy Sticker Play Set: You’ll want to keep a close eye on your 2 year old when playing with this, but it’s one of the best toys for travel and dining out. My 2 year old will sit down with these sets for 15-30 minutes which in toddler minutes is basically an hour.
Ice Cream Counter: We love this gem from Melissa & Doug – it’s the perfect gift. This is one of those tried and true favorites that young toddlers and older children will love. Toddlers love imaginative play, and this toy is it. I’ve heard from parents of 6 year-olds who’s kids still play with this toy, and it’s great for little hands. My 4 year-old has been playing with it for almost 3 years! My girls love playing ice cream shop, and it’s great for learning colors and stacking, too.
Play Kitchen: Play kitchens are great for toddlers and little kids. They’re good for hours of fun – a classic toy that your kids will use throughout early childhood. We have one with a fridge, and if I could do it all over again, I’d save space and skip the refrigerator.
Flower Garden Blocks: Ok, so this is one of the best cheap plastic toys ever. It’s one of those things you would think I would hate having in my home, but a friend recommended it, and my girls use it weekly. They make flower gardens and flower towers. My 4 year old still loves it – it’s great for hand-eye coordination and is a lot more fun than basic wooden blocks. There are some small parts that I removed until my 2 year old stopped putting small toys in her mouth, but if you were to pull those out, you could let a 1.5 year old play with this one.
Magnatiles: These are a great way to develop fine motor skills. It took my oldest until she was 4 to get really into Magnatiles, but my younger daughter loves them at 2. Toddlers and young children can learn new skills like building and these are great for learning shapes and colors.They just came out with some Magnatile dinosaurs – they have been a huge hit with both of my kids.
Stepping Stones: These are great for a child’s development and can be played with indoors and outdoors, too. Learn colors, build strength, jump, and climb. I love this simple toy that strengthens gross motor skills. This is a great alternative for outdoor use.
Trampoline: I bought this to help my daughter build up strength (and learn to jump) when she was 2, and it did the trick. It’s a great toy for getting energy out on rainy days or during winter months. And I like that the handle folds over the trampoline. It’s not small but does fold for storage.
Pikler Climber: Another popular toy you’ll see on most lists, it’s a wonderful gift for toddlers and preschoolers. This is one of my favorite wooden toys. It’s great for babies once they start moving around, but my girls were late walkers and didn’t start using it until a little later on. Build gross motor skills, and climb and slide during winter months without leaving your home. We have the rock wall and ladder (both also function as a slide). This is especially nice to have if you live somewhere where it’s cold half the year, and will get used for years and years.
Balance Board: This is another fun and simple toy that my girls love. We use it as a bridge with our rubber roads, and the girls love climbing the bridge, or using it as a rocker.
Toddler Scooter: This scooter is the perfect size for 2 year olds and converts to a normal scooter that works for kids up to age 6! Push it like a stroller and help them learn to use their legs and balance. Then turn it into a regular scooter once they’re old enough.
Ride-on: Sure, you could buy a plastic cozy coupe and that’s timeless and fun and all, but this really says happy birthday, doesn’t it? It’s beautiful! Ride-ons are always fun but this one is really…elevated. For a toy.
Ride On: You could buy a balance bike, my kids weren’t ready for balance bikes at 2. Tricycles are a great option for kids who aren’t quite ready for a balance bike, and make a great gift for 2 year olds.
Water Table: This water table is the right size for families who are short on space, or those who don’t want a giant plastic water table in their garage. It’s simple in design, has a small footprint, and is very affordable. Just fill it with their favorite toys and it folds up for easy storage (and takes up very little space) when not in use. The bells and whistles aren’t really necessary – they love this one for outdoor play.
DIY a Playhouse: We got our daughter a playhouse for her 2nd birthday and our friends painted it for us since we were in the middle of a crazy few weeks. This is the exact playhouse I really wanted but it was sold out at the time. I love the style.
This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something using my links, I may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.