Last Updated on November 9, 2021 by admin
If you’re looking for a gift for a 2-year-old whose family encourages lots of outdoor play, or maybe a family that also enjoys hiking, camping, fishing, and exploring nature, you’ve come to the right place.
2-year-olds are too young for most of the outdoor tools and activities that older kids like, such as walkie talkies, binoculars, and real fishing poles. But they can get a lot of use out of the following outdoorsy toys and gifts.
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A Mud Kitchen
My kids loved making “mud pizzas” when they were little, and I can only imagine that a mud kitchen would have made that job even more fun.
“Mud kitchens” have been especially popular in the past few years, joining the ranks of “sensory tables” and “water tables.” It’s little wonder: They combine the fun of a play kitchen with the fun of real sensory play with water and dirt.
An Outdoor Playground or Climber
Options abound when it comes to outdoor playsets for toddlers. Most of the plastic ones, which come in a variety of themes, have a little slide attached to a few platforms ideal for climbing.
If you’re on a budget or aren’t picky, you can generally find one of these playsets secondhand in pretty good condition.
If you don’t love the idea of all that plastic (or you’er just looking for something a little more exciting), you may be interested in a metal climbing dome instead.
A Bike or Ride-On Toy
Balance bikes have two wheels, no pedals and no chain. They’re also called “pedal-free bikes” and “push bikes” because kids ride them by pushing off the ground with their feet. Unlike the stable, three-wheeled tricycles we had as toddlers, balance bikes help kids learn the balance and body control they’ll need to ride a “real” bike.
Outdoorsy families may be more likely to appreciate the athletic value of a balance bike. However, any ride-on toy geared for 2-year-olds can be a great outdoor toy. Other ride-on options include power wheels, scooters, and “wiggle cars.”
When it comes to outdoor fun for 2-year-olds, little else beats the thrill of being pushed on a swing. These days, platform swings like the one shown here are super popular. They’re easy enough for toddlers to lie down on comfortably and safely, and they can also sit alongside a parent or sibling.
Look for a platform swing with foam padding around the core, as these swings tend to be heavy and can hurt a toddler if they’re struck by it. You’ll also need to monitor swing use for toddlers.
All that said, if you have a suitable tree (or are willing to invest in a simple metal swingset frame) these swings can interest kids (and adults!) for many years provide lots of thrilling entertainment for years.
I almost didn’t include this toy on the list because mosts toy excavators are labeled for ages 3 and up. But then I found out that my 2-year-old nephew loves to use the one at his house! Some of these toy excavators are adjustable to fit a wider range of children’s heights. Taller 2-year-olds (or those who are about to turn 3) can probably use it with little difficulty.
Of course, sleds can’t typically be used independently by 2-year-olds — but it’s super fun for them to be pulled around by a grown-up!
Odds are that if you’re buying for the oldest or only child in the family, they may not have a sled yet. And even if the 2-year-old can’t use it right away, it’s still an exciting gift that will come in very handy once it does snow.
A Bug Catcher
2-year-olds generally aren’t old enough for microscopes and magnifying glasses, but a simple bug catcher like this can be a great way to help them observe nature. Mom or Dad might have to be the one to safely capture the bug and place it in its observation chamber, but after that, a 2-year-old can enjoy watching it before letting it go again.
An Explorer Vest
I generally don’t recommend a lot of costumes and dress-up toys on this site, because I think many 2-year-olds are more likely to refuse to wear extra clothes — especially hats — than to actually enjoy it. That said, a little vest with pockets can be a nice place for some toddlers to store their nature treasures until they get home from a hike or a backyard exploration session.
Gardening Tools / Sand Tools
Any sturdy sand pail and shovel will get tons of use throughout a childhood.
Green Toys is a great brand that produces really durable plastic toys from recycled milk jugs. You can even put these toys in the dishwasher when they need a good wash.
A Camping Lantern or Flashlight
This isn’t exactly an outdoor-only toy, but a toddler-sized lantern can get a lot of use over the years, especially for families that like to go camping. (Even for those families who don’t camp, it can have a fun role in pretend play and indoor tent-making).
A couple of reviews for this specific lantern said it’s the perfect size for 2-year-olds, and it comes in a wide variety of colors.
A Toddler-Sized Wheelbarrow
2-year-olds love getting dirty in the yard with dada or mama, especially when there are tools involved. It’s hard to think of a better outdoor toy than a wheelbarrow. Kids can “help” move leaves and dirt, or even just give their stuffies a ride.
The Radio Flyer wheelbarrow shown here has lots of Amazon reviews describing it as the perfect size for 2-year-olds, even though the official age recommendation is 3 and up. (Related post: Understanding Small Parts Warnings on Toys)
I think I speak for all outdoorsy parents in colder climates when I say that an extra pair of mittens is a well-appreciated gift. When you’re in a hurry, it’s easier to grab the extra pair than to scramble to find the ones you left in a random bag or pocket. One of the most appreciated gifts my 2-year-old got was a size 3T raincoat. It was cute and red and I hadn’t thought to buy him one yet. It was sized generously enough that he wore it for years.
A New Water Bottle
Again, this isn’t exactly an outdoor toy, but any family that spends a lot of time outdoors or traveling knows how crucial water bottles are — and how nice it is to have extra ones lying around in case they get misplaced. A water bottle can also be a nice stocking stuffer that a 2-year-old could be excited to open if it features one of their favorite characters.