Toddlers are among the hardest group to buy for. They seem to have everything yet need nothing. I’ve really tried to be intentional in coming up with some of the best gifts for 2 year olds.
Y’all Millie turns two this weekend. Woah. You might ask yourself, that Millie that was just born yesterday? The one that arrived just days before we closed on this house? The one who has been keeping us on our toes since the day she arrived? Yes, that Millie of ours turns two on Sunday. Although it feels like she’s been a big girl for a while now, it’s exciting and a little bit sad to officially be out of the baby stage. Since Millie has a birthday coming up, I’ve been spending an irrational amount of time online scouring sites for the perfect gifts for her. My plan was to find gifts that she’ll be able to enjoy for a long time not just right now. Since I love sharing whatever I find, in hopes of being helpful, here are some of the best toys for toddlers that I’ve found and just pretty darn cute toys for 2-year-old girls (and boys).
Everything on this list is for pretend play. Like most little ones, Millie loves pretend play and all things dress up. She literally changes her outfit no less than five times per day. In addition to some pretend play items, she’ll get some more dress-up dresses and tutus in her birthday packages. Additionally, Millie loves buses. She loves seeing buses are her sissy’s school and is really into the song, Wheels on the Bus. We talk multiple times a day about buses and the fact that they are yellow and that the baby goes wah, wah, wah. So along with the dresses she’s getting this wooden school bus that I know she is going to fall in love with.
Let’s dive into these gift ideas, shall we?
Brands we love:
I think we can all agree that toddler toys are so cute but as parents, it’s even more important that they be educational toys as well. We love toys that our kids love but also serve a purpose like promote social-emotional learning, imaginative play, ones that help with motor skills, teach colors and shapes, etc. It’s also important to me as a parent to have toys that last. I prefer investing a little more money in a toy that will last ages than spend a few bucks on toys that I’ll throw away in a few months. That’s why I love wooden toys so much. I think they last so much longer. Many of the toys that we still have from when Peighton was this age are wooden items from brands like Melissa and Doug, Hape, and Le Van Toys. I love all of these brands and while you will pay a little bit more for the items, they look nice for a long time and their overall durability is much better.
Ice Cream Scoops and Puzzles:
Millie is really into saying her colors right now (probably because of the yellow school bus). A lot of 2-year-olds are discovering their world so given them items that help them learn about colors, sounds, etc. is so important. I’m excited about the colored ice cream scoops and the classic wooden shapes puzzle. Not only are these great for learning colors and shapes, but both of these toys are also great for hand-eye coordination and developing motor skills.
Baby dolls are a great gift for this age group as well. I didn’t add it to my list because Millie has dozens of babies already. Between both girls, we have a whole nursery full of sweet baby dolls. Millie loves to pretend to be a mommy and take her baby to the store, and give it a bottle, and put it to sleep. Gifting a baby doll at this age really promotes caring and empathy which is necessary for human development. We love this baby doll (she comes in several skin tones) and it would go great with this set of accessories.
This year, I won’t be buying a baby doll but a dollhouse is another story. I love the idea of a wooden dollhouse that the girls can share and that we can keep for their children one day. I picture myself having a special dollhouse that my kids played with that I’ve saved for my grandchildren. Won’t that be so special? I love this wooden one. It’s very reasonable and it’s foldable which means it takes up less space. There are similar ones at the girls’ school that Millie loves to play with so it would be really neat to have one at home.
Another dollhouse option is this one. I love this brand of toys and this dollhouse is an absolute dream for any child let alone a 2 year old. It’s an item that would definitely grow with the child which is exactly what we want. Going the other direction, we also have an older version of the Little People dollhouse that is just perfect. We introduced Little People probably around 1 and they are still a hit in our house. We now have several playsets like the airplane and the farm. This is also a great gift for a 2 year old.
Pretend Play – Cash Register, Food, and More:
How much did you love a play cash register as a child? I always had a blast playing with them. I remember going to the children’s museum and always wanting to be the cashier in the little pretend store area. Peighton has one in her classroom and Millie plays with it every day during drop-off. This cash register is great because it’s wood and will last a long time.
More wooden toys options that I love are this popsicle set and this little mixer. For kids that love to play pretend, play food is where it’s at. Melissa and Doug make great play food set that last. If you are going to invest in play food, make it wood so that it will look nice for a long time.
An Art Easel:
An easel is a great gift idea for this age group. 2 year olds are explorers and love trying new things. This easel from IKEA is a great affordable gift that your child can really grow into. Gift this with a pack of washable tempera paint or washable markers. Allowing toddlers to practice their fine motor skills by holding a paintbrush or marker is so important. This easel has a chalkboard side and a whiteboard side plus you can attach a roll of white paper to it – so many options!
A Balance Bike or Scooter:
We got Peighton a balance bike at this age and it was so helpful. She learned so much coordination on that bike and before she turned four she was zipping around our culdesac like it was nothing. We upgraded to bike with training wheels but she had those off in days all thanks to the magic of a balance bike. Millie isn’t quite yet two and she’s already getting the hang of Peighton’s scooter. We are a big fan of the Micro scooters in our house and I see a lot of kids riding them around. With a bike or a scooter, make sure you instill helmet rule first thing so that they get used to riding with a helmet and associate riding with head safety.
Some other gift ideas for 2 year olds:
This list can get quite extensive but there are a few other things that I really think are worth mentioning as great gifts for 2 year olds. Any type of vehicle toy, like I mentioned the bus above, but train sets, planes, and cars are all fascinating to boys and girls alike at this age. Millie loves the V Tech Go! Go! Smart cars that sing a little song as well as her Little People airplane.
Musical instruments are another great toy for this age group. My aunt got Millie a play microphone that she absolutely adores. Musical instruments like a play piano, drums, or even a little tambourine do so much for development. My children love music so having an opportunity to make music with musical instruments is so wonderful for them. It’s a great opportunity for imaginative play while also teaching some great motor skills.
I could go on and on about toys for 2 year olds but I think I will stop there. Do you have any toys that have been just the bee’s knees for your toddler? Let us know in the comments so when others are on the hunt for the best gifts for 2 year olds they can start here!