Two-year-olds are so very fun to play with! Did you know that the best way for children to learn is through play?? I’ve put together a master list of the best toys for a 2-year-old. After being in multiple preschool rooms, toddler’s homes, and becoming a mom to a toddler myself, I’ve rounded up only the best toddler toys.
I’ve seen parents and teachers spend tons of money on toys that sit on the shelf collecting dust, and I’ve seen 2-year-olds play for HOURS with some upcycled applesauce lids! Toddlers are a little unpredictable that way. So shred your toddler flashcards, put away the Bach CD, and check out my list of toys below that will be fun AND promote learning!
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What makes a great toy for a 2-year-old?
- Toys that encourage imagination. These are at the top of my list. Imagination builds on many skills, so I’m always looking for open-ended toys (basically toys that don’t need instructions and can be used in multiple ways like blocks).
- Toys that target fine and gross motor skills. Toddlers are in a fun stage, with their skills constantly growing and changing. I like to make sure I have toys on hand for working on motor movements (fine motor movements are things you do with your hands, gross motor movements are bigger, like running and jumping).
- Toys that promote problem-solving. I love to see my own children and the kids I work with problem-solving. It’s an absolute blast to watch as your child figures out how to make something work or go that you didn’t help them with. Problem-solving at this age promotes confidence, independence, and cognitive skills.
- Toys that build language and vocabulary. Just about any toy can be used to help children with their vocabulary and language, but I like to keep an eye out for this since I’m in the business of speech and language. If you want more tips for helping your child talk more, check out my post here.
- Toys that include social aspects. Some toys and games are great for young children because there is a social aspect where they have to talk with other adults or kids. Working on turn-taking and back-and-forth interactions is a great skill to target at a young age.
Best Educational Toys for a 2-Year-Old
I LOVE MAGNA TILES!! Honestly, whenever I went into a preschool room with them, I had to stop myself from taking over the construction of these awesome toys! I love Magna Tiles because they are so open-ended, with so many possibilities. They are a great all-around toy for your toddler because they promote motor skills, problem-solving, and creativity. Below are the original Magna-Tiles. They are a wonderfully reputable brand that has been making great products for years.
If you haven’t heard of Fat Brain Toys, you are missing out! They are Nebraskan (just like me) and they are on the rise. I love this Count and Sort Stacker that has so many great components for learning. From the makers, “A vibrant lesson in counting, sequencing, and number recognition!” It also works on fine motor skills, since toddlers have to carefully stack rings. This a great introduction to several skills that will keep your little one engaged.
This is a wonderful product that my toddler and her toddler cousins just can’t get enough of. This Wooden Latches Board looks like a puzzle, but instead of pieces, it has a variety of latches with “doors” that open up. This toy promotes language (there are a variety of animals behind each door, all in different colors), counting (each door has a different number of animals), fine motor skills (latching/unlatching the doors requires hand-eye coordination), and problem-solving (figuring out how to latch and unlatch). It’s an all-around great toy!
What two-year-old doesn’t want to play with some fun cars? This Zig Zag Race Track set is extremely colorful and interactive. Children can work on their fine motor skills while playing with the cars, and learn new vocabulary that has to do with cars. With its bright cars and tracks, children can also work on learning and naming their colors.
I am a big fan of promoting pretend play, and I love simple toys that help you do this. We love this tool set at my house because my daughter can be just like Daddy without getting hurt! The tools promote fine motor skills (by pressing buttons and using the little screws), language (learning the new words for all the tools), pretend play, and cognition (getting the toolbox opened and closed). This toy is just so much fun because your little one can imitate a parent using real tools!
Another great toy we have for our play kitchen area is these cute food group bins with food. I love these wooden foods that are beautifully painted. The little crates they come in are durable and helpful for sorting the toys in meaningful ways. This toy promotes imagination (pretend cooking and eating), language (learning and using all the new words), cognition (when you talk about the colors, shapes, and sizes of the foods), and basic math skills (sorting). I highly recommend these play foods items!
I love this series of books: “Never Touch A…” because they are fun and interactive. All of the pictures are bright and exciting. Your child will enjoy touching all of the different textures while you read to them. It’s a win/win!
These cute animal puzzles are great because they are simple with only a few pieces each, but they still target a lot of skills. You can work with your toddler on their language (talking about the different animals, their colors, and body parts), fine motor skills (placing the puzzle pieces together), and problem-solving (figuring out where each piece goes). My little one loves puzzles, and this set of puzzles is fun and challenging in the best way!
Lakeshore has a great set of cars, planes, and trains that many of my preschool classrooms used. I love this set because they are well made (even when toddlers try destroying them) and they are colorful. You can also link the toys together, which makes it extra fun! These toys work on language (names of the different vehicles, parts, and colors), fine motor skills (rolling the wheeled toys and hitching them up together), and imagination. Click below to see why I love them.
Sturdy crayons are a must-have when it comes to toddler play! They often benefit from bigger crayons (to help work on their grip) or sturdy crayons that don’t break as easily. Crayons are wonderful toys because they work on fine motor skills and imagination. (It’s also not hard to work in A LOT of language as you are coloring with your little one.) Below I have a few options for some of my favorite crayons!
This construction toy includes a variety of vehicles and a carrier truck. The toy also has lights and sounds, which are tons of fun for toddlers. Little ones can work on their color naming, fine motor skills, and singing.
As you have probably figured out, I am BIG on pretend play! And a fun play kitchen is great for both boys and girls. Play kitchens target imagination, fine motor skills (turning the knobs, opening the doors, etc.), gross motor skills (standing up and moving around the kitchen), and language (so many opportunities to learn new words). My little one loves this kitchen (and so do I) because she can “make supper” while I’m making supper, and that’s just plain fun.
Mr. Potato Head is classic for a reason: he is silly and fun, while also offering lots of chances to learn new skills. He teaches children about body parts and targets fine motor skills as children construct him. Additionally, there is a little bit of problem-solving and imagination that goes along with playing with this timeless toy!
Playdough is just so much fun! And by 2 years old, kids aren’t sticking everything they see in their mouths anymore. Now, you may choose to go basic and just have playdough, BUT adding tools is a game-changer! Playdough and accompanying tools help toddlers work on fine motor skills, creativity, and independence. It’s just so much fun to see what they come up with!
Ignite your 2-year-old’s imagination with this doctor kit. There are lots of fun doctor toys that will help your toddler pretend they are a doctor. It’s also perfect for fine motor skills and learning new vocabulary.
This cute set of 10 farm animals each comes with their own little barn. This is a great toy to work on matching, colors, animal sounds, and numbers. Plus, what two-year-old doesn’t love putting toys in containers? A win all around!
At this age, toddlers are so curious about buttons, plugs, and knobs. This busy board lets them explore all kinds of things in a safe, controlled way. The toy works on hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, fine motor skills, and focus. A great toys for traveling, too!
Do you have a little helper on your hands? All of my children went through a phase (it didn’t last forever, unfortunately) where they really enjoyed helping clean up. Take advantage of that desire to clean by giving them their own supplies! These toys help practice independence, gross motor skills, and pretend play!
I love Little People, and so do my kids! They are fun little figurines that make imaginative play super fun! This set comes with a firetruck and two firefighters. There are a few buttons that make sirens go off, or play little songs. Your child can learn new vocabulary, work on their fine motor skills, and practice their pretend play.
Have you heard of Sandra Boynton? She is one of my very favorite toddler authors. All of her books are colorful, silly, and fun! Reading books to your child is so important, even at age two your child is taking it in! (Check out my article here about book reading with toddlers.) This box of books has four of Boynton’s best sellers!
Even as young as two, children are figuring out how to put things together. Duplos can be a fun way to start your toddler’s career in construction! Duplos are bigger than legos, so they are easier to manage and harder to swallow. These building blocks are great for fine motor skills, creativity, problem-solving, and color words.
At two, children are just starting to take more interest in coloring and drawing. Avoid the mess while letting them explore with this magnetic doodle board. Great for fine motor skills, creativity, and independence.
Unique Toys for a 2 Year Old
Bears in Pairs is a fun, educational game that teaches matching (which is a base skill for many math concepts), fine motor skills (opening the little doors), language (you can talk about the house, the different kinds of bears, and what they are wearing, etc.) and social skills (turn-taking). My 2-year-old got this for her birthday and she loves it! It’s a great starter game, that is fun and engaging! I highly recommend this toy.
So much learning can happen in the kitchen! And why not make it fun by letting your little chef feel official with their own hat, apron, and accessories? Children can learn some great math skills through cooking like counting and measuring. Cooking is also a great sensory and fine motor activity that will keep your little one engaged.
This clever toy is designed so your child can make 3 different vehicles out of the same pieces. You and your toddler can make a rocket, a train, or a helicopter. This toy is great for fine motor skills and problem-solving. A great toy for those budding engineers!
It’s not too early for a 2-year-old to start working on letters. And it just so happens that the best letters to start working on are the ones in their name! These puzzles can help toddlers work on color naming, letter identification, and fine motor skills. It can also double as a cute decoration in a room!
Who doesn’t want help eating with a couple of construction vehicles? This fun and unique set is a great gift for a 2-year-old because they are working on eating independently! These utensils promote fine motor skills and problem-solving. Not to mention, it might make your picky eater a little more willing to try new foods!
This toy is fun and it’s a great gift for toddlers. This pegboard is good for fine motor skills and learning colors. There is also a wide range of shapes that your child can learn while they play with this fun toy.
Outdoor Toys for a 2 Year Old
Balance bikes seem to be all the rage these days and for good reason! These fun, toddler-friendly bikes help your child gain independence and confidence when riding a bike. Instead of the classic bike with training wheels, or a standard tricycle, this balance bike doesn’t have pedals at all. Instead, your child learns to balance on the bike over time. This toy promotes gross motor skills, independence, and problem-solving.
This Little Tikes basketball hoop is so fun and great for when you get some outside time! This helps children work on important gross motor movements and helps with coordination. Your toddler will love the chance to run and play with this toy.
This fun outdoor toddler toy is exciting because kids get to “help” mow the lawn (just like mom or dad), and bubbles come out. Children love to pretend play, especially when they get to imitate their parents. It’s great for working on walking and pushing toys while they stroll.
Trampolines are so fun and a great way for toddlers to burn off all of that famous toddler energy. Jumping is an important gross motor skill. This trampoline also has a little bar so children can be extra safe while working on their jumping.
For those hot summer days, kids can really use the relief of water play. This water table has tons of fun elements that your toddler can check out. It’s good for learning new words, fine motor skills, and problem-solving.
Common Questions about Toddler Gifts
- What are the best gifts for a 2-year-old girl or a 2-year-old boy?
- The above list is great for both girls and boys! Although some of them might seem more like boy or girl toys, they are easily enjoyed by all toddlers.
- What are the best gifts for a 2-year-old that has everything?
- The first four toys on this list are very unique! They are made by high-quality brands that design educational toys for children. If you are trying to get a gift for a toddler who has everything, go with one of the first four toys on my list.
- Why don’t you have any toys that sing/talk/move?
- I very purposefully chose toys that help children with their play skills and creativity. Although some toys that require batteries and are extra interactive can be great, I find greater worth in toys that don’t do all the work for you. I want children to be able to create and imagine on their own, and those types of toys can sometimes inhibit this. So while I’m not completely opposed to such toys, I tend to prefer the kind without all the bells and whistles.
Toys are a great way to help children learn and grow! With the list I’ve provided, your favorite 2-year-old will not only have lots of fun but will learn something along the way!
What are some of your favorite toys for two-year-olds? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!