The best toys for 2-year-olds that foster fine and gross motor skills, sensory play, cognitive thinking, music, arts, and more. This 2-year-old gift guide pulls from classic 24-month-old favorites as well as Montessori and Waldorf toys.
I’ve spent a good amount of time scouring the internet for 2-year-old gift guides but was sort of disappointed by a lot of them. They all just seemed to go with the standard top 10 toys and didn’t really branch out into other ideas and toys. I wanted to share a good mix of the best toys my 2-year-old loves including some indoor and outdoor ideas. I took into account not just the toys and interests of many 2-year-olds, but also looked across different learning styles, getting inspiration from Montessori and Waldorf classrooms as well.
Gift Guide for 2-Year-Olds Under $25
Reusable Stickers – My son loves stickers and so I love the idea of reusable ones. They can be done on paper, an easel, a highchair tray, windows. It’s a great fine motor skill and entertains little ones for a while!
Pop-up Tunnel – Pop-up tunnels are honestly endless fun. We use them as part of a fort, play passing ball games with them, and more.
Mess-Free Markers – This is a nice idea for letting little ones get busy with art when you maybe can’t keep a direct eye on them. These markers only work on special paper, so no mess! Great for dining out and car rides, too!
Chunkies Paint Sticks – These are definitely one of my favorite art supplies for little hands. They literally look like paint (for real I have a piece my son scribbled hanging in my dining room and people ask me where I got it HAH!) I like being able to give kids things closer to “real” art. It’s great that they require no brush or water, and they dry almost instantly, so no smudging! You do just want to monitor when they use these because unlike mess-free markers above, they can get a little messier.
Building Bath Tubes – We don’t own these but I hear such good things and they are often rated as a top bath toy.
First Board Game – I LOVE this because it’s a board game a 2-year-old can totally do. It helps foster listening and direction following as well as taking turns. This game is all about gross motor skills, so each card has an action they have to do, so also great for receptive language.
Crayon Rocks – I was recently turned onto these and love the concept. Chubby rock-shaped crayons for little hands. These are soybean wax and made right here in the US! Definitely adding to my list for Miles.
Eco Play Dough – This is playdough made with non-toxic dyes and no boric acid, parabens, or synthetic fragrances. It comes in tons of colors and varieties.
All-Natural Threading Kit – Threading is such a great fine motor activity, Miles has a threading kit he’ll do OVER AND OVER. I love this one that’s all-natural made and Walford-inspired.
Construction Utensils – I think these are TOO fun. Miles actually got some for Christmas and it can be great for picky eaters.
Sound Wooden Puzzle – We have two sound puzzles and Miles LOVES them. Miles was actually struggling a little with spatial awareness for puzzles and was still challenged by some of the simple shaped ones. I got him these to give him a little encouragement to keep trying and they worked like a charm. He literally advanced in his puzzle skills overnight.
Shape Sorter Pounder – I love how this combines two favorite toys of shape sorters and pounding pegs. Surefire winner.
Counting Shape Sorter – A great activity that’s very Montessori in style, it fosters sorting skills, which is something this age really loves. Also helps encourages color, shape, and number recognition. My son started showing a lot of interest in this game around 2-1/2. But, the actual counting concept will work well into 3 and 4 years of age.
Magnetic Fishing Alphabet Game – Miles got very interested in the alphabet around 2 and this is such a fun way for him to find the letters and name them. The magnetic pole does require some good hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as well. It’s a big hit in our house.
Bath Bombs – I thought possibly my child was the only one who avoided bath time like the plague but turns out you guys DMed me I’m not alone. In a desperate attempt to make bath time more fun I tried a handful of toys, but bath bombs have been his favorite. He’ll actually happily agree to get into the tub if I let him throw a bath bomb in. The ones linked here are just some basic ones from Amazon with a toy inside. Just be careful, many with toys inside are tiny toys that could be a choking hazard. Most recently I’ve gotten some some from LUSH.
Play Pretend Cutting Board – As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this post, kids this age love to do what you’re doing. Miles loves helping in the kitchen and lately wants to help cut everything. We have a dull toddler knife we let him use, but many things are too hard for him to cut. So I love this pretend play option where we can successfully “cut” and really get in on this activity.
Gift Guide for 2-Year-Olds Under $50
Dump Truck – Miles has a dump truck I got him this spring and it’s HANDS DOWN his favorite toy and HANDS DOWN the favorite toy of any friend that comes to visit. So much so, that it’s already starting to break. I love this one because it’s more durable. We also have this John Deere one which is a big winner, too.
Play Sink – We have one of these from our Lovevery Play Kits (mentioned below) and it’s endless fun. Kids just love sinks. There’s a well that holds the water so they can turn it on and off. Personally, I prefer the Lovevery one because it doesn’t come with all the “extra” plastic food. But, either way, a play sink is a winner.
Wooden Bowling Set – We bought this recently for a friend’s second birthday and I think it’s a fun cause and effect activity. I love LOVE that it’s handmade by a family in Colorado. She actually messaged me after my purchase just to say thanks! Love it.
Cashier’s Till – This is a fun pretend play activity and I like that unlike some other cashier’s tills it doesn’t have too many tiny parts, so very 2-year-old safe.
Set of Wooden Blocks – You can’t beat a classic. I like these wooden blocks because they are solid wood they have a good weight to them. They’ll be used for YEARS.
Nested Cloth Dolls – These nesting dolls require little ones do different tasks to un-nest each one such as zipping or untying. Great toy for travel, too!
Sensory Play Tools Set – I just LOVE LOVE LOVE this wooden sensory playset with scoops, tongs and cups and pots. So great for all kinds of sensory play. I prefer wood to plastic for this kind of play because it has more weight and durability.
Building Stones – I absolutely ADORE these Waldorf-inspired building stones! Definitely on my top 5 list for Miles. I just think there are endless open-ended play scenarios for these. And they foster all sorts of stuff like problem-solving, hand-eye coordination, color and shape recognition, counting and sorting, and spatial relationships.
Tabletop Sensory Bin and Tools – This is great for sensory play with anything from sand to beans to water beads. It comes with two wooden spoons, 2 wooden bowls with top, a brush and scoop. We use ours ALL the time.
Glo Pals – Glo Pals are little cubes that light up when in contact with water and then turn off when they are out of water. Great for water sensory play, but we love them for bathtime!
Maileg Mouse – Maileg Mouse comes in tons of varieties, but I love the Big Brother/Little Brother or Big Sister/Little Sister ones. They come in these little boxes with a pillow and blanket. Little hands love opening the box, putting the mouse to bed, closing the box up again, and repeating.
Xylophone – Xylophone is a great 2-year-old musical instrument option. Miles loves to play his when he listening to music or (of course) when he asks me to sing for him. I’m a great backup singer.
Cleaning Set – 2-year-olds LOVE to help. They want to do what you’re doing. They like putting pods in the coffee machine, helping put away dishes, putting laundry in the basket, and sweeping or wiping down things. I have a kid-size broom for Miles because without a doubt if I sweep or mop he wants to, too. He also LOVES the dustpan, too.
Gift Guide for 2-Year-Olds $50+
Guitar – Every toddler I know loves their guitar. This one is definitely a little nicer than others and actually comes with real strings that are tuned. Definitely, something that will grow with your child since at 2 they’ll likely just randomly pull the strings. But, as they get older they can use it for YEARS. And, I love the idea of toys that will grow with our kids and not just be abandoned after a year. You can also opt for a more budget-friendly option like this one which is cheaper but has won toy awards.
Easel – We use our easel multiple times a week. We have this Hape one which has a spot for a paper roll, a magnetic dry erase side and a chalkboard side.
Balance Board – Balance boards are fun because they are so open-ended. Kids can do so much with them from being a surfboard to a slide to a table to a tunnel. I think it’s a super versatile gift that would be used FOR YEARS. Such a great gift!
Magnatiles – I don’t know a child that hasn’t enjoyed Magnatiles at some point. They aren’t super cheap, but you can start with a small set and add to it. Some kids love them at 2, some kids don’t really play with them until closer to 3, but either way, they are a toy staple. We actually bought these non-name brand magnet tiles which are about half the cost and so far love them.
Train Set– We got Miles the Hape train set, which you can add on to over time. It’s nice sustainable wood and I think the price point is great. I love that this can grow with him, as he’ll play with it more and more in the next few years and we can add to it as we go. I also HIGHLY recommend the battery-operated train to go with it, Miles uses it 4x longer with this.
Power Wheels – Miles was gifted the John Deere Power Wheels from my in-laws for Christmas. Honestly, I never would have thought to get it myself, but he uses it ALL THE TIME. It’s been well worth it and I know he’ll use it for years to come. This one is really fun because it has a wagon on the back and he likes to drive it around and pick up things in the yard.
Scooter – I gotta add this to the list after my friend got it for her two-year-old and it was the biggest freaking hit. Miles uses it all the time and likes to take it on walks, too.
Lovevery Play Kit – I can’t have this list without mentioning one of my all-time favorite toddler toy ideas and that’s a Lovevery Play Kit. You can gift just one box or even just get a gift card. They also have the option to do joint gifts if you want to get it with someone else. Either way, gifting a Lovevery Play Kit is a foolproof gift for any age, 0-36 months. Read my full review of Lovevery kits here.
Pikler Triangle – By far our biggest financial investment in the “toy” department, but this has been so well-used and will be FOR YEARS to come. You can see the one we have here and read my full review.
I haven’t create a book list just for the 2 year old age (it’s coming!) But to see my current favorites kid’s books, check out the list here.
Toy Storage/Display Items
Below are a few items I use for toy storage and toy rotation. I like using baskets and trays to put toys out for use. It keeps items together and organized.