Nice to Meet Ya
Any parent knows that there’s a big gap between what an almost-1-year-old and an almost-4-year-old can do, but a lot of toy web sites just lump the 2-year-olds into the toddler category or the baby category.
When I would search online specifically for toys for 2-year-olds, I would get pages and pages of toy suggestions, many of which my 2-year-old would never want to play with, and no real guidance on where to start. I found other, more specific lists somewhat helpful but not in-depth enough.
So, I started this site to write about the best toys for 2-year-olds. I hope it helps you in your search.
How I Make Money on This Site
When I reference toys, I usually link to their pages on Amazon.com. I do this because:
- Amazon makes it easy for me to insert images onto my pages
- Amazon’s product pages have the most reviews and a great price comparison tool
- most people are comfortable with and trust Amazon
- if you actually buy a toy I’ve linked to on Amazon, I get a small commission (like 4% or so)
To put it more directly, I’m a member of the Amazon affiliate program. I think it’s a pretty great way for full-time parents like me to make some money doing something that helps other parents.
A Note About Objectivity
I don’t get toys for free just to review them. I don’t get any discounts on the toys I review or link to. I think it’s important to avoid the bias that these kinds of things create.
I have plenty of toys to evaluate and knowledge to draw on just based on what I’ve bought for my kids personally, what my friends and family have bought my kids, and what I see my friends’ and neighbors’ two-year-olds playing with.
How I Evaluate Toys
I actually think that kids in the United States, in general, have too many toys, but I still completely understand value and the fun of giving a well-thought out toy, as well as the need to quickly pick up an obligatory present for an upcoming birthday party.
I haven’t come up with a detailed rating system yet, but here are the general values I use to make toy suggestions.
- Safety – this is kind of a no-brainer, but of course safety comes first. A lot of toys come with warnings about small parts that are choking hazards, for example, but sometimes it’s not the obvious hazards that you have to watch out for. Sometimes this means suggesting a more expensive bike that has recessed bolts, for example, so that when the inevitable fall happens there will be minimal damage to your lil rider.
- Learning – Toys don’t have to attempt to teach math or the alphabet for them to be educational. They can help your tot learn to be more active and confident with his body or encourage her to use her imagination.
- Fun – The best toys keep kids occupied for at least 10 minutes at a time (we’re talking about 2-year-olds here, so let’s keep it realistic).
- Value – Value means that the toy will last and be played with for a long time, and possibly can be passed on to other kids or re-sold when you’re finished with it. This also means letting you know where you can find the best price, including when you should try to find something used instead of new.
- Ethics – This one is important, but it’s a little harder to evaluate.
- The environment – Is this toy going to end up in a landfill soon? Was it produced sustainably? Is the company making some effort to reduce its environmental impact?
- Labor practices – Are the people who make these toys are getting a fair deal?
- Gender – When I can, I choose “gender neutral” toys. Blocks are blocks. Trains are trains. Dolls are dolls. Along with making a lot of assumptions on what all boys like and all girls like, gender-specific toys also are less valuable, because your options to re-sell or pass them along later are more limited.
I hope you enjoy the site. If you have a question, contact me.