Stocking Stuffers for 2-Year-Olds

Here’s list of toys that 2-year-olds will love that are small enough to fit in a stocking and cost less than $20.

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Harmonica, $6

Harmonica


There have been times when the bribe of playing the harmonica was the only thing that would get my 2-year-old to lie down for a diaper change.

Vtech Flashlight, $13

Flashlight or Lantern


This flashlight was designed just for little ones and features more than just light (although that would probably be entertaining enough). It also has music, colored lights and learning activities.

Puzzle pairs, $10

Puzzle Pairs


This is a nice small gift, but still might be a smidge too wide to fit into your stocking, depending on how wide yours is. That said, small little puzzles are great as long as the pieces aren't choking hazards, and this one was designed just for the smaller tots.

Mittens and hat set, $15

Mittens or Hat


This is a great stocking stuffer for those of us in colder climates. Some toddlers will be thrilled with the aquisition of a cool new hat, especially one with green scales or that features another favorite animal or character.

Bath boats, $15

Bath Toys


Open up a package of bath toys and pop them in the stocking. They're fun to open on Christmas morning and BONUS: they may make it easier to bathe your 2-year-old.

Baby Beluga Board Book, $4

Board Books


Options abound for board books. Toddlers can't rip these pages, and they'll be around at storytime for years to come.

Slide Whistle, $8

Slide Whistle


This is one of the easiest instruments for toddlers and happens to be the perfect size to slip into a stocking.

Fisher Price Little People Farm Animals, $16

Miniatures


If your little one already had a play set for her or his miniatures, you may buy a few extra for the stocking. These animals, for example, go along with the Fisher Price Little People Farm.
Toddler Markers, $6

Markers


Here are some stocking-friendly washable markers that will be fun for 2-year-olds to open and easy for them to grip.

Kids' sunglasses from $10

Sunglasses


You'll probably be happy to have these come summertime, and your tot might think it's cool to try on some shades at Christmas.

Set of 3 toddler toothbrushes, $10

Toothbrush


You have to buy these anyway, so might as well add some excitement to the stocking. Plus, with fun colors, they might be excited to open them, too.

Egg Shakers, $8

Egg Shakers


Another easy, fun way for toddlers to start making music and shaking along to their favorite songs.

Easy grip chalk, $5

Sidewalk Chalk


Even if you can't use it until the summer months, sidewalk chalk is always a hit. These little chalk grippers make it easier for 2-year-olds to write, especially when they're down to the last bits of chalk.

Slippers, $12

Socks or Slippers


Socks or slippers are a great holiday gift because they're usually really needed in the winter months, but kids will still be excited to pull them out of a stocking. Double check on shoe sizing before you buy.

Wazoo Kazoo, $6

Kazoo


Another small instrument that your 2-year-old might need some time to figure out but will get a lot of fun out of. A good start to what will surely grow into a bigger instrument collection.

Ziggy Marley Family Time, $12

CDs and Music


CDs might be on the way out, tech wise, but you can't pop an MP3 in a stocking, and you usually get the digital files along with the CD. If you have a musical kid, you can't go wrong with some kids songs for the car.

Easy grip crayons, $5

Crayons


These crayons are designed specifically for little ones to get started with art.

No-spill bubble container, $6

Bubbles


Those of us in less temperate climates might not be using these for a while, but eve if there's snow on the ground where you live, this bubble tumbler will get a lot of use eventually. Looks like the package is a little over 5 inches wide, so make sure it will fit in the stocking before you buy it.

Vtech vehicle 2-pack, $14

Vehicles


Small vehicles are a great candidate for stockings. Make sure they don't present choking hazards. These Vtech vehicles can be fun, especially if your kid already has a Vtech track.

The Best Big Gifts for 2-Year-Olds – $50 and Up

These are toys that are guaranteed to make a big impression on your 2-year-old. They take up a decent amount of space and are on the pricier side of 2-year-old toys available, but if you have the space and are ready to spend, it’s hard to go wrong with these toys.

This site contains affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you end up buying something as a result of seeing it here.

Train Table and/or Train Set


Train tables are loved for years, starting around age 2. Some new 2-year-olds will still be more interested in throwing and crashing trains than running things in a dignified manner, and most wooden train sets are suggested for ages 3 and up due to small parts. But you could consider getting a train table now; they’re also good for dollhouses, cars, and other vehicles. If you have the room and you like the idea of keeping more toys off the floor, click here to read the whole post on train tables for 2-year-olds.

Play Kitchen


Toddlers will get years of use out of a little play kitchen, starting around age 2. Most of the coolest looking wooden kitchens come with "small parts" warnings and are therefore recommended for ages 3+, even though in many cases the small parts are only unattached when the kitchen is pre-assembled.
Click here for more pretend toy suggestions.

Balance Bike


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. The best balance bikes cost more than $100, and there are dozens of brands to choose from. Click here to learn more about how to choose one.

Easel


An easel or desk will get years of use from an artistically inclined kid starting around age 2, so I’d suggest investing in one if you have the space and budget. Most kids’ easels these days come with at least one dry-erase surface; dry-erase surfaces are great because they let kids draw without smocks, messes or wasting paper. Most 2-year-olds won’t care about saving their work, so paper isn’t really necessary anyway, and the “butcher rolls” of paper that are really nice for older kids will likely be more interesting for a 2-year-old to pull on than to draw on. You can choose from among plastic and wooden models, some with storage and seating included. Click here for more artistic toys suggestions.

Sandbox


Toddlers love to explore the world with their hands, and you can help them do it in style with a sandbox. Sure, they can be a little messy — but that’s your life with a 2-year-old anyway, right? I’d suggest getting a sandbox with a cover and that includes some seating. (I’m also partial to the sandboxes that lie on the ground, as opposed to sand tables, because kids inevitably want to sit and lie in them.) Click here for more suggestions for tactile toys for 2-year-olds.

Trampoline


The trampoline to the left got great reviews that mentioned ease of assembly and disassembly (again, any toy that takes up significant floor space should be easy to store). It also has a weight limit of 150 lbs, which means kids can use it for years. If you're on a budget, try this Little Tikes 3' Trampoline for $50 (Prime Eligible), with a weight limit of 50 lbs. If the 2-year-old you're shopping for is small for his or her age, you may want to double check whether the height of the bar will work for them. Click here for more toys that will get 2-year-olds active.

Activity Table


Similar to train tables, other activity tables are designed to be multi-use, great for Duplos, dollhouses and more. Click here for more on how to choose an activity table.

Climber or Play Set


This is on my personal wish list. The price would probably be worth it if it steered my 2-year-old away from always (ALWAYS) climbing all over the back of the couch. Other play sets like these can be used indoors or outdoors. Click here for more toys that will get 2-year-olds active.

The Best Types of Toys for 2 Year Olds

Click into any category to get more detailed lists that fit your priorities and budget.

This site uses affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you end up buying something as a result of seeing it here.

1. Ride-On Toys


Most kids will become strong and coordinated enough to ride scooters and pedal trikes at some point during their second year. The average age for kids to learn to ride a pedal bike is age 5, so age 2 can be a great time to introduce these pre-bike riding toys. It's hard to go wrong with a present like this, especially if you have a particularly adventurous toddler.
Click here to get more riding toy suggestions.

2. Pretend Toys (Playing House)


2-year-olds love doing what their parents are doing, and they won't find out until later that cleaning, yard work and cooking aren't super fun activities, so take advantage of this stage to get them involved in chores and house work. It's fun to watch them "work" along with you.
Click here to get more pretend toy suggestions.

3. Building Toys


Blocks! Two year olds love 'em. Maybe it's because they know how much fun it is to dump them all over the floor and wait for their parents to clean them up later. This type of toy will be loved right now but will also be fun for years. It's hard to go wrong with a great set of Megablocks or Duplos, or one of the many other block varieties available.
Click here to get more building block suggestions.

4. Play Vehicles


Anything with wheels is a big hit at this age, and can continue to be loved for years. This category is nice because it's affordable and doesn't take up a lot of space, but is extremely popular, especially with those 2-year-olds who already show a clear affinity for them.
Click here to get more play vehicle suggestions.

5. Dolls, Plush and Figures


2-year-olds really start using their imaginations throughout their second year. That means that dolls and stuffed animals are transformed from mere snuggle buddies into friends with personalities. Dolls and plush toys also help toddlers master people skills, improve their vocabulary, and more.
Click here to get more doll and stuffed animal suggestions.

6. Active Toys


Any toy whose main purpose is to get toddlers moving makes a great gift. 2-year-olds are constantly learning to use their bodies to run, jump, and climb, and they have plenty of energy to do it with. Check out wagons, tunnels, swings, slides and more.
Click here to get more active toy suggestions.

7. Puzzles and Games


2-year-olds are too young for the "board games" you're probably thinking of, and their attention spans won't get to jigsaw puzzle level for several more years, but it's still fun for them to tinker with toys and figure out where things fit. They might have already had a shape sorter but are finally figuring out how to use it. If your kid likes putting things in and out of baskets, likes lining things up and having things in the right spot, they'll probably like a fun puzzle or organizing toy.
Click here to get more game and puzzle suggestions.

8. Music Toys


2-year-olds like music. Some more than others – but they can all appreciate it. (They’re just like us!) If you’re looking for a music toy for a 2-year-old who loves to groove, you have plenty of options: instruments, music players, albums and even musical books.
Click here to get more music toy suggestions.

9. Arts and Crafts Toys


2-year-olds are just starting to get into things like crayons and scribbling. But they can start using easels by age 2, and they'll probably use it for years to come. There are also some other art supplies that a two year old can use.
Click here to get more art supply suggestions.

10. Tactile Toys


This one is at the end because a lot of parents end up getting these things for kids before age 2, but if you don't have a sandbox or water table, they can be great fun for a two-year old. Also included: play doh, kinectic sand.
Click here to get more tactile toy suggestions.

Tactile Toys for 2-Year-Olds: Sandboxes, Water Tables and More

Sandboxes, Water Tables and Other Tactile Toys for 2-Year-Olds

Toddlers love to explore the world with their hands, and you can help them do it in style with one of these classic toys.

Sure, they can be a little messy — but that’s your life with a 2-year-old anyway, right?

This site contains affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you end up buying something as a result of seeing it here.

Sandboxes for 2-Year-Olds

Sandboxes make great toys for 2-year-olds
Step 2 Crabby Sandbox, $71

Our 2-year-old’s sandbox, an older model of this Little Tikes turtle, was a hand-me-down from a friend. We were pretty excited, thinking it would lure him away from a patch of what used to be landscaped mulch that his diggers and shovels had turned into a dusty dirt patch.

Frankly, he still prefers actual mud and dirt to sand, but his sandbox is still a big hit, even now that he’s 3. All in all, he has probably only spent more time playing in one other place: the train table.

I’d suggest getting a sandbox with a cover, like the one shown here. (If you ever played in an open sandbox as a kid and discovered a sandy cat turd surprise, you’ll need no more persuasion.) I’m also partial to the sandboxes that lie on the ground, as opposed to sand tables, because kids inevitably want to sit and lie in them. Look for a sandbox that has built-in seating like this sandbox, also from Step2.

Water Tables and Sensory tables

Sensory play table for 2-year-old
Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table, $34

Many a day when I was at my wit’s end with my 2-year-old and had to step away to give myself some space, he would use his freedom to stand on his little step stool in the bathroom and splash in the running water from the sink. I’d pretend not to notice as he got the entire room wet while I stealthily watched an adult sitcom for 15 minutes to regain a sunnier outlook on life.

Yes, 15 minutes – that’s a very long time for a 2-year-old. He’d watch how the water flowed over his various trucks and toys, and find other things to pour, scoop, and absorb it.

If you’re not into letting your kid run up your water bill and soak your bathroom, check out one of these water tables (sometimes described as “sensory tables”). The one shown here got great reviews, or this Step2 Splash and Scoop Bay actually has areas for sand AND water (as if they won’t be immediately combined into one sloppy mess – but still, it looks fun).

These tables can also be used with other tactile activities made from common household items and kitchen tools; here’s a cool list that I wish I would have tried when mine was a little younger.

Play Dough and Play Sand

Kinetic Sand Dino Dig Play Set, $12
Kinetic Sand Dino Dig Play Set, $12

None of the fun squishy stuff you find for kids is going to say it’s OK for anyone under 3, because some 2-year-olds are definitely going to try to eat it. If you’re buying for someone else’s 2-year-old, you should probably hold off for now.

However, if you’re pretty sure your own 2-year-old is past the phase where they eat random stuff, or you’re willing to keep a close eye on them while they play, it can be a great activity. My 2-year-old loved playing with play dough, mostly as pretend mud for his vehicles to “get stuck” in. (Many pretend tow trucks were called as a result.)

I used this recipe to make play dough a few times during my son’s second year. The biggest problem with play dough (including the official branded Play Doh) is that it dries out and leaves crumbs everywhere eventually, and if you forget to put it back in a sealed container, it doesn’t take long.

That’s why I was pretty pumped to find Kinetic Sand on clearance at Michael’s. Kinetic Sand is mostly made of sand, but includes polymers that make it stick to itself. The original Kinetic Sand is more for stamping shapes and squeezing for fun, but they also have a “Kinetic Sand Build” line that is even sticker and can be used to make blocks, snakes, etc. – more similar to Play Doh. (Here’s a link to a Kinetic Sand Build kit for making pretend cakes.)

This stuff does not dry out. It does get dirty over time as your 2-year-old repeatedly drops it on your not-swept, pet-hair-covered floor (or is that just me?), which makes it a little less sticky and more likely to leave bits of itself behind. It’s also much more expensive than play dough, but I still think it’s worth it to reduce the mess and the guilt that comes with consistently having to throw away the dried-out play dough you accidentally left exposed to the elements.

Milestone Toys and Gifts for 2-Year-Olds

Kids change a lot from the time they turn 2 to the time they turn 3. You get to watch your little one learn new words and phrases every day and get much stronger, taller and more coordinated physically. Along with this growth, there are several milestones that typically come during this year, and, of course, plenty of products that are made to help parents make these changes more easily.

If you’re a parent or a grandparent, you might want to incorporate some of these products into an upcoming birthday or holiday celebration, or just into your upcoming budget.

This site contains affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you end up buying something as a result of seeing it here.

Potty Training

Many kids won’t potty train until they’re 3 or even 4, but many are ready to begin as early as 18-24 months (You can consult your doctor or check these lists of signs of behavioral, physical and cognitive readiness for potty training. Potty training is a big deal, so I wrote a full post just about potty training toys and gifts: Click here to read it.

Transition from Crib to a Big Kid Bed

Big Enough for a Bed Board Book, $5 and under

Tots typically transition out of a crib to a big bed sometime during the time they’re 2. They can stay in a crib as long as they fit in it, but for some, it starts getting a little snug sometime within this year. Others need to transition out earlier because a new sibling is on the way.

The best article I found comparing the pros and cons of buying a toddler bed versus just skipping right to the twin is here on Apartment Therapy.

If you’re looking for a gift for a 2 year old who might move to a new, big kid bed soon, you could splurge on fun, twin-sized sheets or even a full bedding set to get them excited about the change. You might also consider one of several books available on the topic, especially if you think the new bed will be a hard sell. The Elmo book shown here got great reviews on Amazon.

OK to Wake! Children’s Alarm Clock and Nightlight, $28

Finally, along with the transition out of a crib comes the inevitable power trip toddlers get when they realize that they technically don’t have to stay in their beds anymore. My kid took about a week to realize there was nothing physically holding him in bed, and then the battles began – both at bedtime and for early morning wakeups.

Several clocks have been developed that help kids understand when it’s OK for them to actually get out of bed without having to understand how clocks or time work. The clock shown here, for example, simply changes color when kids are allowed to get out of bed, according to the times you set.

Becoming a Big Brother or Sister

My New Baby, by Rachel Fuller

Of course, not every 2-year-old must go through this fun period, but it’s certainly a very common time for kids to have to adjust to the idea of a new little sibling.

If this describes the 2-year-old in your life, there are plenty of books on the subject to help get them used to the idea, including the one shown here.

You can also get your little one a baby doll and some accessories to get him or her used to the idea of a baby being around. Some good baby doll options are Corolle dolls and Baby Stella dolls.

Eating at the Table (Instead of On the High Chair Tray)

It might be a little more difficult to pass this one off as a fun gift, but your 2-year-old might get excited about out-growing their baby high chair and getting one for bigger toddlers, like this OXO toddler booster seat.

It’s a bit pricey at $75 or so, but you can use it throughout their preschool years — and you might need it if you have another little one coming along who needs the other high chair.

I wish I had purchased one of these when mine was younger. I hesitated to spend the money, and he is now almost 4 and has been sitting in a grown-up chair on a yoga block covered with a towel to eat. It’s not a good look. I’m going to end up buying one of these now when I could have had a few more years of use out of it. (At least I will be able to use it with my second.)

The Best Potty Training Stuff for 2-Year-Olds

Diapers are expensive. Poop is yucky. Therefore, we all want our kids potty trained ASAP. Many kids are ready to be introduced to the world of potties anytime after 18 months, although others won’t be ready until they’re 3 or even 4. You can use this potty training readiness checklist to decide whether you think it’s go-time. And if you think it is, the first thing you need is a potty.

(This might seem obvious, but I’ll say it anyway because this is a web site about toys and gifts: This post is for parents and possibly grandparents. Don’t show up to a birthday party with a potty as a gift unless the parents have expressly asked for it – way too personal.)

This site contains affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you end up buying something as a result of seeing it here.

Potties for 2-Year-Olds

Fisher Price Learn to Flush Potty, $24, can be used as a chair and a seat

If you’re gearing up for potty training, hyping up a new potty as a gift can be pretty fun for a 2-year-old and can be a nice way to start what will definitely be a trying task.

You have two basic options for potties: potty chairs that sit on the floor, and potty seats that fit on top of a toilet seat.

Potty Chairs

My son preferred the floor potty, especially at first, because it was easier for him to sit down and get back up. Potty chairs can get very toy-like, with musical flushers and buttons and smiling faces. There are plenty of options available online with great reviews. I opted for a simpler Baby Bjorn potty chair that I found on Craigslist, and it worked great for us.

If you want to make cleaning your floor-style potty a little easier, consider attaching a handheld bidet or diaper sprayer to your toilet to easily rinse the potty out. We already had one installed from using cloth diapers, but it was really helpful for cleaning both the potty and plenty of accidentally-poop-filled undies.

Potty Seats

The best thing about the seat-style potty is that you can move it from toilet to toilet, and you can take it with you on errands or trips more easily. Another perk: It saves floor space in your bathroom. Some potty seats come with a little storage hook for the side of the toilet, which is nice. If you opt for a potty seat, you’ll probably also want a step stool so your 2-year-old can climb up on their own and have a place to rest their lil feet while they sit.

I’d suggest trying both kinds of potties to see which your child likes, because anything that makes potty training easier should be very welcomed. My nephew was pretty intimidated by the height of the potty seat, for example, which is something you won’t find out until you get started.

Potette Plus Travel Potty Seat, $18

Some potty models, such as The Fisher Price Learn-to-Flush potty pictured above, can be used as both floor potties and potty seats because the seat lifts out and fits onto a toilet.

Travel Potties

Although most potties for toddlers are small enough to pack and take on a roadtrip, you may also want to consider a potty that’s specifically designed for easy travel. The Potette travel potty, shown here, can be used as a seat or a chair, folds flat for easy storage, and is designed for use with absorbent liners that you can throw away easily (just like you would a diaper). You can also try this travel potty from Cool Gear, which even has some storage space and folds up into a little carrying case.

Potty Books for 2-Year-Olds

Long before my son had any interest in actually sitting on his little potty, he loved to read books about potty training. There are a bunch of books available on the topic, but our favorite was Potty by Leslie Patricelli. I happened to see this book at the library and loved it right away. My son loves the book, too. It’s one of the highest rated on Amazon, and it came up as the first suggestion in potty training books. I think everyone loves it because it’s so simple – great for younger toddlers – and it’s very fun. We also purchased and liked Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel and My Big Boy Potty by Joanna Cole.

 

Potty Training Dolls

Once Upon A Potty Plush Doll Set With Mini-Potty, $13 (girl doll is also available at link)

Some 2-year-olds might be more convinced to try this whole potty training thing if they have a little buddy to do it with.

That can be as simple as taking one of their favorite dolls or stuffed animals into the potty with them and pretending that they have potty time too. However, you might consider getting a doll just for the occasion that was made for potty training, like the little doll shown here. Any doll with a little diaper and a little potty will work.

Good luck with potty training!

The Best Puzzles for 2-Year-Olds

Puzzles are a fun, affordable gift that encourage fine motor skills and cognitive development, and there are plenty of puzzles designed just for 2-year-olds that are well-loved. (Whether their parents will love picking up all the pieces is a different story.)

This site contains affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you end up buying something as a result of seeing it here.

Basic Puzzles for 2-Year-Olds

Melissa and Doug Chunky Farm Puzzle, $10

Puzzles geared for 2-year-olds all have larger pieces that are easy for little hands to grab, either with pegs or by being taller than the background board. These puzzles take the guesswork out of figuring out which piece goes where, but still provide the satisfaction of fitting the pieces into the right spots.

The company Melissa and Doug seems to dominate the market for this category. My son likes trucks, so we have their very popular construction site puzzle.

Another popular pick is this toolbox puzzle, which is nice because they’re sized just right for imaginative play. It’s also hard to go wrong with farm animals, like in the puzzle shown above.

Personalized Name Puzzle, $35

Finally, for a really unique gift, try a personalized name puzzle (shown right). These are a cool way to help toddlers learn about letters and spelling, and they look great on display in their bedrooms, too.

 

Make A Match Baby Puzzle Game, $18

Puzzle Pairs for 2-Year-Olds

Puzzle pairs introduce kids to the next step in puzzle play: actually fitting pieces together. These puzzles can also can teach numbers and matching. They’re great for toddlers who may have graduated from basic puzzles and are ready to learn counting. There are a lot more puzzle pair options marketed to the 3-and-up crowd with smaller pieces, but the brand shown right is well-reviewed and made just for younger toddlers.

Busy Boards for 2-Year-Olds

Melissa and Doug Latches Board, $20

2-year-olds are fascinated with opening and closing doors and fasteners (which is just one of the many reasons why you can never take your eyes off them). That’s why 2-year-olds, especially younger ones, love latch boards, also sometimes called activity boards or “busy boards.”

Crafty, hands-on types might try making one themselves (here are some ideas), or you could just go for the tried-and-true Melissa and Doug latch puzzle, shown here, for $20.

The puzzle is suggested for ages 3 and up, likely because its small parts could become choking hazards if they fell off. However, the reviews say it’s sturdily built, and many user reviews reference 2-year-olds really liking the toy. As always, use discretion and check for loose or damaged parts.

Other Great Puzzle Ideas for 2-Year-Olds

Boikido Wooden Geometric Stacking Puzzle, $25

A few more cool options in the puzzle category:

 

Boikido Stacking Puzzle, $25 – Tots learn to sort shapes and stack them in the right spots in this cute wooden puzzle.

Puzzle Play Mat, $40 – These, large foam floor mats double as puzzles and as colorful play spaces.

Tomy Hide n Squeak Eggs, $11 – Six colorful eggs – each fits into its own space in a carton, and each has a shell that’s perfect for a 2-year-old to take apart and fit back together.

The Best Games for 2-Year-Olds

Board Games, Memory Games and More

2-year-olds have short attention spans, can’t be trusted with small parts, and don’t have the fine motor skills you’d expect to be required to play a board game.

However, there are some fun options available that make games a great gift choice for 2-year-olds.

They can help develop cognitive skills (memorization, matching, counting, etc.), social skills (taking turns, cooperating) and fine motor skills (rolling dice, moving pieces). Plus, as gifts, games can be a nice change of pace from the dolls, cars and stuffed animals that kids typically receive.

But most importantly, they’re fun. My 2-year-old asked to play some of these games over and over again.

Below I’ve listed a few games that make a good intro to the myriad board games that are geared toward the preschool crowd (over age 3).

This site contains affiliate links. That means I get a small commission if you end up buying something as a result of seeing it here.

The Best Memory/Matching Game for 2-Year-Olds

Seek-a-Boo Memory Game for 2-Year-Olds
Seek-a-Boo, $25

My son got Seek-a-Boo for his second birthday.

I thought it might be too tough for him at the time, but he loved it and it actually kept him occupied longer than most activities. He just turned 3 and we still play it occasionally. He would demand to play it over and over (although I didn’t always enjoy the epic battles we had over cleaning it up).

Seek-a-Boo is nice because the cards are easy for little hands to pick up, and it keeps tots moving around and interested because the cards are spread all over the floor.

Seek-a-Boo is probably the only memory game your 2-year-old needs, but if you’re looking for something less expensive, and you don’t think your 2-year-old will destroy / chew on cardboard flash cards, the company eeBoo makes a lot of popular memory game sets. Check out The eeBoo Number Memory Set ($13) or these eeBoo Pre-School Picture Dominos ($13).

Note to parents: If you’re feeling creative, you can always play memory games with objects around the house instead of buying a game.

The Best “Board” Games for 2-Year-Olds

Roll and Play Toddler Game
Thinkfun Roll and Play Board Game, $20

Most of the games geared for this age level aren’t competitive, and some even encourage cooperation.

My 2-year-old has had a lot of fun with this Roll and Play Board Game, which basically consists of rolling the die and then performing the action prompted on the card with the same color. Actions involve things like counting, making faces and identifying body parts, colors and emotions.

First Orchard Board Game for 2-year-Olds
My First Orchard, $24

The toy company HABA makes several games just for the age 2 crowd. One of the most popular is called First Orchard. You take turns rolling the die and collecting non-swallowable-sized fruit before the raven reaches the orchard. From the product description: “This cooperative kids learning game is designed to foster social skills, develop color recognition skills, and teach counting by ones.” Sounds like a good combo to me.

Finally, the game A Snail’s Pace is a popular classic. Technically it’s for ages 3 and up because of the small parts, but it’s definitely geared toward younger toddlers.

Other Games for 2-Year-Olds

Gobble Gobble Guppies, $10

2-year-olds also love magnetized fishing toys (not technically games, but still fun). Try the Melissa and Doug Kids Count and Fish game for younger tots. This Djeco wooden fishing set, $18, also looks nice.

Finally, if you’re looking for a game for the bath or pool, check out Gobble Gobble Guppies (shown right). Simple concept, and it’s as fun as it looks.

 

Art Supplies and Activities for 2-Year-Olds

2-year-olds can’t “draw” in the traditional sense, but they’re very interested in using tools to make marks, lines and colors, so art supplies can make great gifts.

The key word to remember when buying any art supply for a 2-year-old is washable. It’s pretty much inevitable that they’ll draw on the carpet, furniture or walls at some point when their parents look away for more than 60 seconds, and you don’t want to be responsible for the damage.

An easel or desk will get years of use from an artistically inclined kid starting around age 2, so I’d suggest investing in one if you have the space and budget. For smaller budgets, scroll down to the later half of the post and combine a few the art supplies and accessories listed for a fun gift that will also get years of use.

The Best Easels and Drawing Desks for 2-Year-Olds

Step2 Easel For Two with Bonus Magnetic Letters/Numbers, $50

Most kids’ easels these days come with at least one dry-erase surface; dry-erase surfaces are great because they let kids draw without smocks, messes or wasting paper. Most 2-year-olds won’t care about saving their work, so paper isn’t really necessary anyway, and the “butcher rolls” of paper that are really nice for older kids will likely be more interesting for a 2-year-old to pull on than to draw on.

A note about dry erase markers for 2-year-olds: Look for the ones marked washable, like these. They technically won’t “dry” erase, but they’ll easily wipe off with a wet cloth or paper towel and are safer to get out of clothes, furniture and carpet. My 2-year-old had just as much fun wiping his off his easel as he did marking it up.

Step 2 Flip and Doodle Desk with Stool, $60. (The red desk surface also fits on top of the desk for eye-level drawing.)

If you’re looking for a plastic easel, Step 2 makes several that are very popular. Shown above is the easel for two, which features a whiteboard that is also magnetized for extra fun. (If your 2-year-old is still interested in putting things in his or her mouth, save the magnets for when they’re older and out of that phase.) They also make a highly rated “Flip and Doodle Desk” (shown right) and another $50 Easel-Desk combo.

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel, $53

If you’re looking for a wooden easel, you can choose from among lots of options from companies that specialize in wood toys. Most of the recommended ages on those easels are 3 and up, probably because there are a few small-ish parts, and perhaps because of the easel height. If those things don’t phase you or you’re buying for an older 2-year-old, check out these easels from  Hape ($69) and Melissa and Doug ($53, shown right, the most popular kids’ easel on Amazon).

CP Toys Tabletop Easel, $50

I got lucky and found a beautiful wooden Land of Nod easel on Craigslist that looks great in the living room. My 2-year-old artist could only reach the bottom of the easel at first, but didn’t seem to mind. By age 3 he could reach most of it, so I think it was a good investment.

If you want to save some space, you might be interested in tabletop / desktop easels, which fit on any desk to let kids paint at eye level. I found several models on Amazon but most were suggested for age 3 and up due to small parts, so use discretion.

Fingerpaint for 2-Year-Olds

Finger paint for 2-year-olds
Crayola 6 Count Fingerpaints (8 Ounces), $19

Fingerpaint is a classic: Fun for kids, but very messy very quickly in the hands of any energetic 2-year-old with a naturally short attention span. However, I got some good ideas from the reviews of these well-loved Crayola washable fingerpaints: one woman squeezed the paint into a ziploc bag and put the bag on the tray of her tot’s high chair for her to explore. Others mentioned letting toddlers play with fingerpaints in the bathtub – on their bodies and on the tub walls. If you’re going to buy fingerpaint for a 2-year-old, you might want to also throw in a cute little artist’s smock like this one, and perhaps some jumbo sized paper. For kids who don’t like to get their hands dirty (they’re out there) you can also try these paintbrushes that are shaped just for easy gripping by toddlers.

Other Art Supplies for 2-year-olds

Dot markers: A great art project for 2-year-olds
Dab and Dot Dauber Markers Set of 8 Washable Paint Marker Dabbers, $16

2-year-olds may not be able to draw tangible shapes yet, but they can stamp them. That makes these washable dot markers, shown right, a big hit.

It’s also hard to go wrong with a good set of sidewalk chalk, especially if you’re looking for a gift for a warm-weather occasion. Try a set like this one that comes with chalk holders to make it easier for toddlers to use them longer and without scraping their little fingers.

Finally, younger 2-year-olds may appreciate these egg-shaped crayons, which were shaped perfectly for toddlers.

Art Activity Sets for 2-Year-Olds

ALEX Toys Little Hands My First Scribble, $10

There are plenty of art project suggestions for young toddlers online and on Pinterest, but if you don’t want to get sucked down those rabbit holes, you can check out some pre-packaged art projects. The one shown left is just $10 and has 50 pages of activities, including plenty of stickers. Or, you can try this Tots Art Start kit, also from ALEX Toys, that guides you and your tot through specific projects. $17.

 

 

 

 

Active Toys for 2-Year-Olds

Any toy whose main purpose is to get toddlers moving makes a great gift. 2-year-olds are constantly learning to use their bodies to run, jump, climb and more, and they have plenty of energy to do it with.

If you have an active toddler on your hands and the room to play with some bigger toys, browse the list below to get some ideas.

(If you’re interested in ride-on toys like bikes and scooters, which are also great for encouraging physical activity, head on over to the full post: Ride-On Toys for 2-Year-Olds.)


Little Tikes Basketball Hoop $34

Pre-Sports


The basketball hoop shown here is a classic, and is adjustable for your child to use until they're ready for the real thing. Golf fans will like this Children's Toddler Golf Set, $20. T-ball sets like the Little Tikes TotSports T-Ball Set, $22 and extremely popular on Amazon, are also a great gift idea for a 2-year-old. And although most 2-year-olds have enough work cut out for them just figuring out how to kick a soccer ball, the child of big soccer fans might enjoy this Little Tikes Easy Score Soccer Set, $37 and adjustable for years of use.


Radio Flyer Steel and Wood Wagon, $156

Wagons


Age 2 is a great time to invest in a classic wagon.
The Radio Flyer wagon pictured left is the best-seller on Amazon, but is a bit pricey at $156.
Another popular, highly rated plastic alternative:
Step2 Neighborhood Wagon, $56.

Swing-N-Slide Monster Web Swing, $144

Swings


I like these web swings because they allow younger toddlers to lie down and feel secure, but are just as fun as kids get older. If you're looking for a more traditional swing that's impossible to fall out of, try the Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug 'n Secure Swing. It's just $28 and is the #1 best seller in swings on Amazon.

Little Tikes First Slide, $35

Slides


These plastic slides are ubiquitous for a reason they're durable, affordable and lots of fun for toddlers. You can also choose from among folding, collapsible slides for easy storage. Try Step2 Naturally Playful Big Folding Slide for around $105, or Little Tikes Easy Store Large Slide, also by Little Tykes, for about $100 (Amazon Prime Eligible).

Spooner Board, $45

Balancing Toys


The Spooner Board shown here has great reviews and will particularly appeal to surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding fans. This is also a toy that can be used from age two and on for years. Another popular balance board type option: Teeter Popper - Green, $48.

Bilibo, $26

Spinning Toys


The Bilibo, shown here, is great for sitting and spinning, but their promotional video also shows plenty of uses for it. Other options for toddlers who love to spin: the classic Playskool Giraffalaff Sit n Spin, $43, or this cool Radio Flyer Spin N Saucer for $46 (Prime eligible).

Gonge Riverstones, $59

Obstacle Course Toys


These are a little pricey for what they look like, but customers love them and I can imagine why. You'd be surprised how interested two-year-olds are in jumping from spot to colorful spot, and if they're elevated, that just adds a whole other layer of fun. Some people have reported success using fitness balance pads for this type of play, too.

Truedays® Play Tent Hut Ball Pit, $27

Ball Pits


Most of us can remember the joy of playing in a ball pit as a child. I liked this one shown because it doubles as a tent, and it's easy to collapse and store. Kids will inevitably get bored if something sits out indefinitely, so you'll want to be able to put this away - especially because it takes up some floor space. You'll also have to buy the balls for the pit separately.

The Original Toy Company Fold & Go Trampoline, $88

Trampolines


The trampoline to the left got great reviews that mentioned ease of assembly and disassembly (again, any toy that takes up significant floor space should be easy to store). It also has a weight limit of 150 lbs, which means kids can use it for years. If you're on a budget, try this Little Tikes 3' Trampoline for $50 (Prime Eligible), with a weight limit of 50 lbs. If the 2-year-old you're shopping for is small for his or her age, you may want to double check whether the height of the bar will work for them.
Toy Monster Monkey Bars Tower, $145

Climbers


This is on my personal wish list. It's a bit of an investment, but will be worth it if it steers my kid away from always (ALWAYS) climbing all over the back of the couch. Good for indoor or outdoor use, but it doesn't look like it's easy to disassemble (I couldn't find a climber that was ... if you find one, please comment).

Melissa and Doug Sunny Patch Happy Giddy Tunnel, $25, Prime Eligible

Tunnels


The tunnel pictured here got an average 5-star review on Amazon, and many of the satisfied commenters bought it for their 2-year-olds. Bonus: it's weatherproof. (It lists a choking hazard warning, so keep an eye on any damaged parts if your toddler is still interested in putting things in hes or her mouth.) If you're on a tighter budget, check out this Prime Eligible #1 seller in play tunnels on Amazon for just $15.