The Best Toys for Dinosaur-Loving 2-Year-Olds

Last Updated on December 18, 2022 by admin

As we wrote in our full post on role-playing toys for 2-year-olds, toddlers develop the ability for imaginative play throughout their second year and beyond.

As their imaginations grow, some kids also start to develop what scientists call “intense interests,” according to this article from The Cut. These intense interests can start as early as 18 months, and “dinosaurs” are one of the most common intense interests that kids have (apparently second only to vehicles).

If you have a dinosaur-loving toddler in your life, you have plenty of gift options to choose from. Here are a few of the best dinosaur toys for 2-year-olds.

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Dinosaur Figures

Jumbo Dinosaurs from Learning Resources, $

My kids received these jumbo dinos as a gift from a beloved aunt and they got so much use over the years. (You can see the T. Rex from this set in the featured image for this post.) I can vouch for this brand because the dinos are just the right amount of soft and bendy, and are also a size that makes them easy to for toddlers to play with. Pro tip: Don’t put them in the bath. They will get water inside of them that’s pretty impossible to remove.

(Another note: I’m not exactly sure why these have a big 3+ age suggestion except the fact that some 2-year-olds might not be as into imaginative play yet enough to enjoy them. There are no small parts, but they would still make painful projectiles despite being softer than the average plastic dino.)

Dinosaur Hand Puppets

Schylling Dinosaurs, $29.84

Most 2-year-olds will probably be a little too young to actually manipulate these kinds of hand puppets correctly themselves. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t still be fascinated with them when they see them on your hand as you make the dinosaurs “talk” and “eat.” My own kid LOVED these but didn’t discover them until he was in preschool. But my 2-year-old nephew was very fascinated with them on his last visit and liked to stick them on his hand even if he couldn’t make the mouth move on his own. We found the Schylling brand of hand puppets, shown left, at a local toy store, and they have been great.

Plush Dinosaur Hand Puppets

Aurora 10″ Velociraptor T-Rex Pteranodon Dinosaur Hand Puppet Bundle, $28.06

If you like the idea of a hand puppet but want something a little less scary, check out the friendlier plush dinosaur hand puppets.

Dinosaur Duplos

LEGO DUPLO Jurassic World T. rex and Triceratops Dinosaur Breakout 10939 Building Toy Gift for Young Dinosaur Fans; New 2021 (36 Pieces), $30

Duplo is one of the best overall toys for kids, in my opinion. They’re choke-hazard free, high quality, and are played with for years. Duplo does have a few Jurassic World sets. Even though there’s generally just a few dinos per set, it still looks super fun for a dino-loving toddler.

Dinosaur Towel

Dinosaur Hooded Towel, About $30

Hooded towels are a nice little combination of both useful and fun. The hood keeps little heads warm while also turning a towel into a fun opportunity for imaginary play. My own kids had a hooded shark towel that they liked, but this one would have probably been even more popular.

Dino Play Tent

Dino tent, $28 on Amazon

Play tents can be a lot of fun for 2-year-olds, and choosing a tent with an exciting theme can make a gift even more fun. The dino tent pictured here might not be an heirloom-level-quality toy, but can definitely be a great place for your little one to sit, play, and imagine. If you want to know more about what to look for in a toddler play tent, check out our full post on play tents.

Dino Puzzle

Dino puzzle, $18

Simple puzzles are a great purchase for 2-year-olds, and there are plenty that have a fun dinosaur theme, like these.

Stuffed Animal Dinos

I had to include a few cute little stuffed dinos in this list even though my my boys absolutely preferred their plastic dinos (listed earlier) to the stuffy ones we had.

Cute little baby dino stuffies

Naturally KIDS Dinosaur Plush Toys Set 6, $38

If the two-year-old in your life prefers cute and fluffy dinos, this little set looks fun.

The set even comes with an optional tiny dino backpack to store them in.

Medium-sized modern dino stuffies

If you’re looking for something a little larger and more cuddly than the backpack dinos, I really liked the line of plush dinosaurs from from the Manhattan Toy Company.

Stomper from Manhattan Toy Company, $29
Spike from Manhattan Toy Company, $29
Growly from Manhattan Toy Company, $29
Gummy from Manhattan Toy Company, $29

Realistic dino stuffies

I don’t usually recommend toys that my kids haven’t used or that don’t have a ton of reviews online. However, I came across these realistic toy dinosaurs at a local toy store and they seemed like something my kids would have loved because they look so real — closer visually to the plastic ones that they loved than the cute plush ones.

20-inch Pteradactyl, $21
20.5-inch Lotosaurus, $26
Loch Ness Monster, $30
31-inch Apatosaurus, $39

Ride-On Dinosaurs

Bouncy inflatable dinosaur, $22

If your 2-year-old doesn’t have a bouncy ride-on toy yet, they might have fun both playing with and riding on an inflatable toy like this one from JOYIN.

Dinosaur Books

Yes, this post is mostly about toys, but dino books are also a fun and popular gift choice for dinosaur enthusiasts. My kids loved this Little Kids Big Book of Dinosaurs that their aunt bought for them. They were older than 2 when they got it, and even at age 3 there are a few ripped pages and even a few images that may have been a little too scary (I’m looking at you, Yangchuanosaurus). However, it was their favorite dino book by far, so I wanted to list it here for older 2-year-olds.

If you want something a little more age appropriate, here are a few of the books I’ve seen online that are super well-reviewed and feature dinosaurs:

Digging for Dinosaurs
How to Catch a Dinosaur
Tiny T Rex and the Impossible Hug