Before I had kids, I had no idea which toys were appropriate for which age. In fact, I still have a limited understanding. When will my kid be ready for chapter books or a bike or even all those fun, DIY at-home craft kits? Hell if I know. But in my limited experience as a mom of a toddler, I can tell you about a whole lot of things well-meaning people buy 2-year-olds that are a total waste. If you're shopping for a gift for a 2-year-old, please keep in mind that there are more than a few items you should not buy. Seriously, you guys. Half the stuff on those shelves will either sit in a closet for the next year (or more!) or get shipped out to the nearest donation box as soon as humanly possible.
Now, let me preface this list by saying that I, for one, get it. I absolutely find myself completely and totally caught up in the sections of Target that hold all those pretty craft boxes and exciting toys that my daughter can't handle yet. I have to physically restrain myself from buying them just to try them out, because let's face it: 2-year-old toddlers just aren't ready to follow instructions or walk their way through extra, probably time-consuming steps. They may not be babies anymore, but that doesn't mean they're miniature adults yet, either.
To be on the safe side, opt for gifts that take it easy on a mom's home and a mom's sanity. If there's going to be a mess involved, pass. If it's going to make a bunch of noise, pass. Always. Always, always pass on those stupid, ridiculously loud, flashing toys. Please. In fact, just make sure that toy you're considering isn't one of the following, and the toddler mom in your life will thank you a million times over.
Books With A Million Words
At 2, your kid is probably into book with pictures and a single word, or books that have a short storyline. So something like The Little Blue Truck or The Fairiest Fairy should be your gauge as far as word count is concerned. As much as I am counting the minutes to be able to read Blueberries with Sal to my daughter, we've got a long ways to go before that happens.
Because that is going straight in the trash before my kid even learns what it is. I'm not even sure I'd trust a 5-year-old kid with glitter, let alone a 2-year old toddler that loves throwing her toys around already.
Giant Stuffed Animals
By the time a kid is 2 years old, they have way more stuffed animals than they will ever need. Seriously, stuffed animals multiply like rabbits when small children are around. So the last thing any household with a toddler living in it really needs (unless you know the family really well) is a giant stuffed animal.
Small or large, a trampoline is something a 2-year-old cannot resist but also probably can't fully master. And the last thing you want is to be the person who gave the gift that broke the 2-year-old's arm when mom was trying to go to the bathroom.
Clothes They'll Grow Into
Guys, just stick with clothes you know will fit right here and now. I mean, why would you buys shorts a size up, when that kid will probably only be able to grow into them when January rolls around and it's cold as hell outside? In fact, just ask the parents of the toddler what clothes the kid needs, and stick to those purchases.
Puzzles With A Lot Of Pieces
Just like books, 2-year-old toddlers just aren't able for the big guns quite yet. They're still mastering putting the pieces of the six piece animal puzzle into place, so maybe skip the 100 piece jigsaw for the moment.
Anything To Do With Potty Training
Let the toddler's parents cover the whole potty training thing, especially since potty training books or toys are sort of like giving me a vacuum cleaner for Christmas. It's just more work than play and reminds us parents that we've got a long, messy road ahead of us.
A Bounce House
I kid you not, there was a grandparent toy suggestion that had to be squashed because we do not need a bounce house, thank you. Feel free to ask me if you can rent or borrow one for a special occasion (and I will still probably try to figure out a way to say no), but I do not want that temptation or liability in my house all the time.
Because if it's not eaten, it's going to be smeared somewhere that will undoubtably be difficult to clean. No.
Just because the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) says my toddler is old enough to stare at a screen every now and then, doesn't mean she needs some fancy electronics to take up the majority of her day. Hard pass, thank you very much.
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