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.