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.
Miles turns 2 next month and so I’ve been definitely starting to think about 2-year-old gifts. I’ve also bought a lot of 2-year-old gifts this year as a lot of friends had little ones who turned two. I definitely scoured 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.
So, I figured since I’ve been brainstorming all types of gift ideas for 2 year olds I’d put together a little gift guide. I took into account some of the classics, but also dipped into Montessori and Waldorf practices to think of other, more open-ended toys that would make amazing gifts.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.