You haven’t experienced true rejection until you’ve watched a 2-year-old unwrap your present only to discard it within seconds. You might think shopping for a toddler is easy, but think again. Things they can sort? They love them. Overly complicated building materials? Save that for when your
favorite kiddo hits 5. Too confused to know the difference? Bookmark these 32 best toys and gifts for 2-year-olds that they’ll actually enjoy.
These best gifts for 2-year-olds run the gamut from sensory development toys to early art supplies, motor skills-focused materials to exercise equipment. What they have in common is they’re all fantastic toys and gifts for 2-year-olds, each designed to be age appropriate and attention-grabbing. Consider the indoor trampoline, for example. If you’ve ever watched the sheer joy of a tot bouncing on one of these trampolines in a friend’s living room, then you know that the person who gifted this incredible item surely must be a lifelong hero in that kid’s eyes. You could be the same to a child you love.
And to make shopping even easier, we’ve divided this list of winning gift ideas into categories.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Romper's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. Best Gifts For Energetic 2-Year-Olds
Know a tiny busy body that just can’t stay still? Do their folks a favor and buy them one of these active toys that will help burn off some of their energy.
Play Tunnel from Melissa & Doug
If you want to hear hours upon hours of giggles, this
Play Tunnel from Melissa & Doug is what you need. Ideal for hide-and-seek, pretend, and afternoon naps (yours or your kid’s), this toy offers a wealth of playtime opportunities. It’s really versatile because it can be used both inside or outside, and it offers lots of creative and imaginative play time for your kiddo to do whatever they want. But the real reason to love it is that, thanks to velcro straps, it can be folded up Slinky-style and easily stored away from sight when your child isn’t playing with it. That’s a parent’s dream! Gymnic Roddy
Parents whose kids have this
Gymnic Rody Bounce Horse cannot say enough good things about it and that makes perfect sense. Two-year-olds notoriously love to move around as much as they possibly can, which means they’re constantly bouncing around and probably making a mess doing it… or even doing it in an unsafe environment. This bouncy horse gives them a safe place to jump around so that you can have better peace of mind and they can have fun and get some energy out. It’s soft, so as long as a child is bouncing in an open space, they can’t get injured. Plus, the size makes it easy for small kids to control. A Toddler Balance Bike
It is never too early to start training a child on how to ride a bike, and the best way to prep them for life on two wheels is with a
GOMO Balance Bike. This one is specifically made with younger toddlers in mind and is great for 2-year-olds who are ready to take this step. It’s lightweight enough for them to drag around but still durable, and it has a turn limiter so that they can have a lot of control while steering. There’s a custom footrest and through-wheel axles to stop the wheels from falling off, and a padded seat for comfort. It comes in several different color options as well. Teeter Popper
It might look small and silly, but the
Teeter Popper is actually really fun for little kids. Incredibly amusing, the Teeter Popper is like a mini rocking chair that suctions to the floor as a child sways back and forth. They’ll love it for the action and the noise and their parents will just be thrilled they’re distracted for a minute. This allows toddlers to get their energy out in a safer space and encourages them to move around and play. We love that it’s lightweight and portable enough for them to move it around from room to room, and it even functions as a cute seat while they’re having some screen time. PlaSmart The Original PlasmaCar Scooter
Got a kid that likes to cruise? Then set them up for a joy ride with this
PlaSmart PlasmaCar Scooter they can power with their body weight. Perfect for cul-de-sac rolling, this bright device is also easy to spot. It’s a nice alternative to bulkier items like remote control cars or large wagons. Your kiddo will feel lots of freedom since they’ll be able to move around on their own. It’s also really easy to operate: kids just put their feet up and then steer with the steering wheel, no batteries or charging required. It was also designed for indoor or outdoor use, so if you have the space, it’s a nice winter toy. Fisher-Price Bubble Mower
If the 2-year-old you know wants to be just like their parents (and most of them do), working in the yard every weekend, then this
Fisher-Price Bubble Mower is a sure winner. They can push their own little lawn management tool that will blow bubbles each step of the way. It’s a simple concept that toddlers can really get behind. They’ll love pushing it around on their own, but they’ll also love playing with all of the bubbles that come out of it. This one also makes realistic sounds, and when it moves, the motor spins. Just be prepared with lots of bubble solution for refills! Water Table
A great gift for fast-approaching spring, a water table is a toddler parent go-to that allows kids to splash and play with everything at their own height. The
Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table is a bestseller that usually goes pretty quickly in the warmer weather, so now is the time to buy one. This has so many different fun features that your little one will love: a waterfall feature, plenty of space for more than one person to play with at a time, two different levels, and lots of little accessories that will allow them to scoop up and dump out water to their heart’s content. A Climbing Set
Lily & River wooden climbing set is a bit of a splurge, but if you have a tot who just can’t sit still for one minute and is constantly making you nervous by climbing over couches and other furniture, it just might be worth it. This safe space for climbing is like a little in-house playground, with plenty of rungs for them to use to go up and down, and a slide/ladder accessory that gives them even more options. They’ll get their energy out as they move around on this, and you won’t have to worry about them falling off a high surface. Best Toys For 2-Year-Olds With Busy Hands
Talk to any early childhood development expert and they’ll tell you how important it is to help encourage a child’s fine motor skills. That means giving children toys that require the use of their hands to place shapes inside of varying holes or knock wood pegs into a board. These do just those things in all kinds of ways.
Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Piggy Bank
Give your kids a foundation in finance and shapes with this
Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Piggy Bank that does both and still manages to be toddler-friendly. This bank comes with 10 colorful “coins” that your little one will love putting into the top slot of the piggy bank and then taking out again, just to repeat those steps over and over again. It plays lots of different songs and sounds to keep them entertained, but it’s not so loud and overwhelming that it drives you crazy. It’s also relatively compact, so it doesn’t make too much of a mess, which is always a plus for the parents. Dimpl Duo
The concept behind
Dimpl Duo is so simple, but it’s truly a mesmerizing toy for any young child. They just pop rubber dimples that have the outlines of shapes on them. That’s it. Mind blowing. Each silicone button has a different shape and is labeled with a word in English and in Braille, and on the other side, the buttons are smooth. The fun texture keeps little ones entertained for so long. It’s also made of BPA-free, food-grade silicone, so you don’t have to stress if it ends up in their mouth. And the portable size is perfect for an on-the-go toy option. Brio Railway Brio train sets are great because while they require building, the wood tracks are simple enough that even young kids can manipulate them and play choo choo all afternoon long. This one comes with 32 pieces of fun, which includes a train with a special crane car and flatbed, two trucks, and two magnetic boulders. If they really love this train set, this makes for a great collectible toy — the set is compatible with all other Brio railway toys, so they can all go together as you accumulate them over time. It could become a really cute gift you give as tradition each year. New Sprouts Fix It!, Fine Motor Tools for Toddlers
Knock on wood, this
Learning Resources toolbox toy is going to win you big smiles. Filled with mini plastic tools, it lets 2-year-olds try their hands at building without sacrificing any fingers in the process. It’s the perfect gift for the toddler who loves to follow mom or dad around as they’re fixing things and who always wants to help around the house. The drill even makes a realistic sound when it’s squeezed to make them feel like they’re really contributing. We love the handle on the toolbox that allows them to easily tote this all over the house, and the bright colors that make these fun. Coogam Matching Eggs
Coogam Matching Eggs toy is just downright adorable, but that’s not even the real selling point. What looks like a pack of plastic eggs is actually a toddler-appropriate matching game that requires critical thinking and eye-hand coordination. Each egg features a different colorful interior and shape, making each one of them a tiny puzzle that will require lots of thinking to figure out. They can be used in so many different ways and your kiddo will love cracking them open and trying to do exactly that. This is also a fun addition to any play kitchen you guys might already have. Building Bath Pipes
Water play meets engineering with these
Building Bath Pipes that come in fun shapes and colors, and gives kids a way to channel their energy instead of simply splashing. This is a very different kind of bath toy: kids or parents can attach them to the sides of the bath (don’t worry, they won’t damage anything), and then kids can pour water through them to create little waterfalls. It’s a simple concept that toddlers love. They can also just play with them in the water if they want to. It’s a nice departure from squeezy toys and bath stickers. A Clock Puzzle
Wooden Clock Puzzle isn’t just fun to look at — it will keep your toddler busy and teach them so much at the same time. This is a good way to teach kids about numbers, time, and hand-eye coordination. The blocks with numbers on them fit into a perfect clock shape, so you can teach them how to line them up correctly. Kids can also wind the hands, so you can use that to teach them how to properly tell time. It’s all made with child-safe, water-based paint, so if it ends up in their mouths, it’s not a big deal. Building Tiles
Little kids love building things and absolutely hate when they accidentally knock those things over.
Magna-Tiles are a fun way for them to build and create, and the fact that they have magnets that lock them together make them just a little bit sturdier. This set comes with 32 colorful pieces that allow your child to have tons of imaginative and creative play. They can turn these into castles, buildings, or whatever it is they want to. It’s easy to keep all of the pieces together, and they come in all different shapes and sizes. You can always add more in the future, too. Pretend Toys Perfect For 2-Year-Olds
Encouraging imaginative play has been shown time and again to be beneficial to children’s development. Help them build their pretend worlds with these great toys.
If you know a little one who loves to pretend to cook, then give them the ultimate gift of a mini kitchen playset. There are tons to choose from out there, but this
KidKraft Farm-To-Table Kitchen is especially adorable (and pretty affordable). It’s aesthetically pleasing, with faux “wooden” accents and window plant boxes for them to “grow” veggies, and the colors aren’t too jarring. There’s plenty of space to stack pots, pans, and fake food, and even a chalkboard that lets kids color while they’re “cooking.” This is a perfect addition to any real adult kitchen, and it’s pretty chic as far as play kitchens go. JOYIN White Rocket Spaceship Tent
A pop-up play tent is always a good gift idea for toddlers if you have the space. This
JOYIN White Rocket Spaceship Tent is shaped like a rocket ship, making it extra adorable. It’s easy to assemble and is made of a water-resistant polyester fabric that makes cleaning it extremely easy. It comes with a carry tote when you need to store it away, and it’s easy to pop open or close up if you don’t want it out. Kids will love pretending they’re going to the moon in this tent, or they can use it as a place to lay down and relax (if that ever happens!). It’s great for 2-year-olds, but will also grow with them a bit. Melissa & Doug Vet Playset
Loving animals begins at an early age for many, so this
Melissa & Doug vet kit makes a great gift for a budding veterinarian. It comes with so many fun things that will entertain your tot: two stuffed animals (a dog and a cat) that are the perfect size for little hands, and all of the little vet tools they need to take care of those stuffed animals. There is everything from fake bandages to a little cast to a stethoscope in there, and all of the tools can fit in a convenient carry bag they’ll want to take everywhere. A Baby Doll
For little kids who love to pretend to play mommy, this
Perfectly Cute Baby Doll Deluxe set is an adorable gift option and comes with everything they need. The baby doll itself is adorable, with clothes that can be taken off and an open mouth for a pacifier and feeding. The set comes with pretend food, a pacifier, lotions and a brush, a bottle, and even some toys for the baby to play with. The brand, Perfectly Cute, makes lots of fun accessories for these dolls as well, so you can always add on to the gift if your little one is really into it. A Tea Set
A lot of toddlers love to pretend-play with fake food, with a tea set being a particularly popular game of choice. There are tons of sets out there to choose from, but we love this wooden
Teatime Toy Set from Manhattan Toy, which is aesthetically pleasing as well as loads of fun. It comes with everything they need for the most perfect tea party: a teapot, sugar and honey canisters, mugs, coasters, tea bags, spoons, and even little utensils to get the honey and sugar out. The wooden tray is the icing on the cake. This set will definitely grow with your little one and become a cherished hand-me-down. Pretend Fruit
This set of
Wooden Pretend Play Food brings a new level of fun to fake food for toddlers. With magnets in the middle, these fruits easily snap apart and can be put back together again. The wooden pretend knife inside is used to slice these in half, something that teaches kids imaginative play, how to explore with food, and hand-eye coordination. They’ll be fascinated by the process of taking these apart and fitting them back together again, and when they’re not doing that, these make a great addition to a pretend kitchen. The wooden tray keeps them all in place when not in use. Their Own Table
At 2 years old, toddlers are starting to become incredibly independent, which means they don’t want to be strapped into a high chair at a table anymore. This
Lalo play table is the best way to give them their own safe space to use for eating, playing, coloring, and more. The modern and sleek Scandinavian inspired design means this is one kid’s toy that will actually look sophisticated and cool in your home, and it’s also very functional. You can mix and match the colors of the chairs, and it’s all really easy to clean. Your child will love having their very own mini table to use for all of the activities. Artsy Toys For 2-Year-Olds
Letting children get creative with art supplies can open whole new worlds within their imagination. Fortunately, companies like Crayola have figured out ways to encourage this behavior without making a mess.
Their Favorite Book Character Pajamas
You’ve probably read your child’s favorite book a million times, and if one of those books happens to be a classic by the late, great Eric Carle (RIP, thank you for everything), your 2-year-old will get a huge kick out of these comfy, cozy pajamas. Available in a few patterns, including another
The Very Hungry Caterpillar design and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, these pajamas are just delightful and go all the way up to size 5T, perfect if you have an older sibling who loves to match. Nothing beats an Eric Carle illustration, and your child will get such a kick out of seeing one of their favorite stories come to life on their own pajamas. Crayola® Easy-Clean Fingerpaint Set
Easy clean is the optimum phrase here. With this
Crayola Easy Clean finger paint kit, little hands can go wild on the colors without parents having to worry their house will be destroyed. This finger paint set makes cleaning super easy: you put paint and paper inside the unit, and then they can use their fingers to push the paint around without actually getting anything on their hands. It’s genius and even works as a great on-the-go toy. This is a perfect introduction to painting for messy toddlers. Munchkin Bath Crayons
Equally easy to clean up are
Munchkin bath crayons. Children can use the tub as their canvas, then watch their works of art wash away when it’s time to pull the plug. This set of five comes in different bright colors and they won’t destroy your bathtub since they can easily be wiped off the walls when bath time is over. It’s a fun way to get them to be creative without having to worry about the mess they might make, and it will definitely keep them busy in the bath while you’re washing their hair. It’s a win for everyone! Their First Easel
Aspiring artists need an easel to work on, and this
Melissa & Doug Standing Art Easel is a best-seller for a reason. With space for a dry erase board, a chalkboard, and a roll of paper, this gives kids tons of options on how they want to create their works of art. There is plenty of space for art supplies like crayons, chalk, and paint, and the double-sided aspect makes this particularly wonderful for two kids. It folds flat when it’s not in use, and the height of the boards is adjustable so that it will grow with your kids as they sprout up. A Mess-Free Mat
Letting your toddler play with crayons and markers is fun until they start drawing on your furniture. This mess-free
Toyk Water Doodle Mat is a genius creation for strong-willed 2-year-olds who like getting creative. The markers and pens get filled with water, and colors and designs show up on the mat as they color with them. Since they’re just playing with markers filled with water, they can’t color on other items if they tried! As the water dries, the designs and colors on the mat disappear, giving them a clean canvas to start all over again. It’s the perfect solution for a mess. A Play-Doh Set
If you’re confident in the idea that your 2-year-old won’t try eating it, Play-Doh is a great gift option. Kids can have hours of fun entertaining themselves by molding it into different shapes or mixing it all together, and it’s inexpensive enough that if it gets ruined, you can easily replace it. This
Play-Doh Play ‘N Store Kids Play Table set comes with an activity table that makes it easy for them to get creative, as well as lots of molds and shapes that will encourage them to try new things with their Play-Doh. This is a fun introduction to molding clay, and the activity table is a versatile plus.
No matter what you choose, you're bound to find something for the curious, creative, sometimes mischievous 2-year-old in your life.
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This article was originally published on
Dec. 7, 2020