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Ever since we were hunter-gatherers painting in caves, the “terrible twos” have been a challenging time for parents. At least that’s our guess: the power of this age feels positively primordial. But while tantrums, emotional rollercoasters, and fierce, stubborn independence do kick into overdrive at this age, it’s not all bad. After all, it’s a rollercoaster and not a downward spiral.
Toddlers become sillier, more capable, and lots more fun than when they were infants. Their brains are bursting with new information and capabilities. This, of course, means that gifts for 2-year-olds are more fun, too.
Some of these toys celebrate all the developmental milestones they’ve achieved in the past couple of years, which is monumental when you consider they were inside someone not too long ago. Others encourage them to develop further skills. But all of these toys, regardless of developmental importance, are just plain fun. Because they may not always know what to ask for (or how to count past 10), but they know what they like!
Spin and Learn Color Flashlight
Anyone who has ever held a flashlight within 100 yards of a toddler already knows that those little guys love flashlights. So before they steal yours, go ahead and let them enjoy this one, which plays songs, sounds, and phrases.
Sit n’ Spin
Your toddler will love spinning themselves on this Playskool. Appropriate for indoor or outdoor play, this toy is the perfect outlet for working out energy while staying in one place. It’s all in the name — just sit and spin!
Drill and Learn Toolbox
This toddler-friendly toolbox is great not only for imaginative play but using the tools can help them develop fine motor skills. And because the toolbox even sings songs about how everything works, less-than-handy caregivers may find they learn a thing or two as well.
Duplo Mickey Mouse Birthday Train
Straight from the Clubhouse, Mickey and Minnie are all aboard the birthday train! The set includes everything your little one will need to build a train that really moves and Mickey and Mini figures. Hot dog, that’s a fun toy!
Little People Playhouse
This gift for 2-year-olds is a perfect first dollhouse. It comes with three figures plus interactive details and sounds throughout this adorable home.
Choose your “Learning Level” and the house plays different songs, sounds, and educational lessons, from ABCs, opposites, and more.
Let's Play House 6 Piece Pretend Play Set
Toddlers love imitating adults, so why not set the right tone with this adorable, child-sized set, including a broom, mop, duster, dustpan, brush, and storage stand?
They’ll love to help you throughout the house … and if you’re lucky, this behavior will stick as they get older! (Hey, we can dream.)
Have fun building creativity and spatial intelligence with this simple but limitless toy. This is another one my kids got as toddlers, and they still play with them to this day. In fact, we bought a second set in the past couple of years because they kept fighting over them!
Little People Helpful Neighbors Garage
This is the perfect gift for 2-year-olds who can’t get enough of anything with wheels. We love the elevator and twirly ramp of this sweet garage, which comes with two cars and drivers.
Uptown Play Kitchen
I can say from personal experience that this play kitchen is where it’s at — and if I’m being honest, there were times when I wished my cooking space was this nice. Complete with a stove, microwave, refrigerator, cabinets, and more, there’s plenty of space to keep your little chef entertained through grade school.
Learn To Mix & Play DJ Pad
This is the perfect gift for 2-year-olds who love to make noise. Channel that instinct by letting them know, “There’s an art form for that!” With an 18-key synthesizer, sound effects, and a variety of instruments, they’ll be spinning at the hottest club in Ibiza in no time. (And yes, they will pronounce Ibiza “ee-BEE-tha.”)
My First Reading Club Subscription Crate
This subscription box is a great way to build your toddler’s library. Every month, they’ll receive a minimum of 3 books (which will also be a greater market value than you pay), and you (or the toddler’s adult) will receive a “mommy gift” because goodness knows they deserve a treat.
Indoor Arch Rocker
Crafted from wood with a Sherpa-covered seat, this rocker allows your 2-year-old to explore movement, develop better strength and balance, and, of course, have a lot of fun (and a great place to lounge around).
We absolutely love this platform swing for hours and years of outdoor fun with friends. With a weight capacity of 700 pounds, this can provide an entire childhood of fun.
There are lots of play tents out there, but we absolutely love this one, both for its unique shape and for the aura of calm it exudes. Just imagine the chill space you can create with this for your 2-year-old to imagine, nap, and daydream.
Plush Spring Rocker
If you had one of these as a kid, then you don’t need me to tell you how much fun they were. If you didn’t, please allow me to assure you personally this indoor toy is loads of bouncy fun. And since it has a weight capacity of 80 pounds, they can enjoy it for years to come.
Company Stella Buggy
They may not be out of their own stroller yet, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want one for their own baby doll (or stuffed animal: babies come in all shapes and sizes). This sturdy, versatile stroller can even perform double duty as a carrier, so they can take their lovey anywhere with them.
Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
This sweet book is all about the power of compassion and friendship… but this is no schmaltzy kiddie book: in true Mo Willems fashion, Leonardo is hilarious! Your kiddo and you will laugh as you watch Leonardo try to scare the tuna salad out of a little kid.
John Deere Tractor Trike With Hauling Trailer
Who among us doesn’t recall their days tearing up the neighborhood on their big-wheeled trike fondly? Well, with this design, your 2-year-old can have that same feeling and have a trailer full of toys behind them.
Jumbo Cardboard Blocks
True story: my oldest got these when he was a toddler. He’s now 12, and I just gave them to another family, which is amazing for two reasons. 1) Even though these fun jumbo blocks are made of cardboard, they hold up super well, even to toddlers, and 2) They can provide more than a decade of fun.
One of Sesame Street’s most famous residents, Elmo has taught kids vital lessons for decades. Now, this plush little monster wants to come live with your 2-year-old. Perfect for bringing to the playground or snuggling next to at bedtime.
Kids can pretend to wash and dry clothes just like their parents with the super realistic washer-dryer set. It's packed with interactive features like a tumbling drum and built-in slots for storage baskets. Plus, it makes realistic sounds to really extend the pretend play for hours.
Dressy Kids Activity Doll
This loveable, huggable doll comes with lots of activities for busy hands and growing brains. Zippers, buttons, buckles, and more enhance imaginative play and promote fine motor skills.
This fun and functional train takes sorting toys to the next level. Your 2-year-old will have fun placing the brightly colored blocks on the train (probably pretending they’re actually cargo, because 2-year-olds see the world differently) and pulling it through the house.
Duplo Town Airport
This set is the perfect way to introduce your child to building toys and promote spatial intelligence. It’s also tons of fun to play with. This set comes with everything you need to build a control tower and plane, plus a pilot, dad, and child figures.
Pull and Sing Puppy
Yeah, dogs are cool, but can they teach your 2-year-old colors, numbers, parts of the body, and play music? We didn’t think so. This adorable Dalmatian is the perfect pal for your toddler – plus none of the mess of a real puppy!
10-in-1 Activity Trunk
Composed of 10 different activities, this playset will keep your busy toddler even busier. Wooden blocks, puzzles, and bead maze roller coasters encourage hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. And the handy storage keeps your child’s play area organized and neat.
Sunny Patch Snappy Turtle Lawn Mower
One day, your 2-year-old will be a salty teenager who groans when you ask them to mow the lawn, but it is not this day. Today they will love playing grown-up with their very own push lawnmower. The dials really click and the pull cord makes a realistic motor sound, too.
Double-Decker Celestial Star Explorer Wooden Activity Center
Fully equipped with lots of wire bead runs, gliders, and spinners, this large activity center boasts four quadrants of multi-level play and supports motor development, cause-and-effect learning, and imaginative discovery.
Laugh and Learn Sweet Manners Tea Set
It’s okay to admit that ever since Beauty and the Beast, we’ve all been a little disappointed in non-singing teapots. Fortunately, this little set not only sings but teaches shapes, counting, colors, and manners, and encourages sharing and role play, too.
Melissa & Doug Safari Wooden Chunky Puzzle (8 pcs)
This eight-piece wooden puzzle features easy-to-grab safari animals — that also just so happen to make pretty fun toys in and of themselves, by the way, that can encourage imaginative play.
Most 2-year-olds probably have a cuddly bear, but do they have a cuddly zebra? Lovable and unique, this plush toy is the perfect friend to snuggle and play with.
This soft playset brings the fun of seesawing, swinging, stomping, and sliding — all from the comfort of their playroom. With so many ways to play, your little energetic 2-year-old will love growing with this toy for years to come.
Toy Fire Truck
Every kid needs a big red fire truck, and this chunky, friendly-looking truck is perfect for 2-year-old hands. It’s also made from 100% recycled materials and uses minimal packaging, so you can feel good about their future, too.
You may find that your 2-year-old is really into climbing lately, which is a great developmental sign. Unfortunately, they always seem to want to climb somewhere dangerous. Encourage safe climbing with this fun slide, great for inside or outside.
Ride-On Toys Sit 'n Scoot Tractor
Get your farmer-in-training their very first John Deere tractor in this sit-and-scoot design. It looks like the real thing but is safe for small riders. The wide wheelbase promotes stability, and with a weight limit of60 pounds, your child can have fun tending their fields on this for years.
Rock and Roll Teeter
Whether you want to play see-saw with a friend or just climb and crawl, this toy is perfect: Just flip it over for two different kinds of play.
Don’t worry, it has rounded edges and easy-to-grip handles, so it’s as safe as it is fun.
Toddlers have this unfortunate habit of drawing on walls. It’s a great sign of creative development, but not so fun for you to clean up.p.
Designate the bath as an OK place to scribble with these all-natural crayons. Just wipe away when they’re done.
‘If I Were A Puppy’ Board Book by Anne Wilkinson
Toddlers and puppies have a pretty similar adorable/chaotic vibe going. So if they were a puppy probably not too much would change. (Don’t worry: It’s normal.)
This tactile board book not only encourages reading but also engages your child with all kinds of fun textures and bright, simple illustrations.
This adorable puppy is impossibly soft and the perfect size for little arms to hug. Plastic pellet fill gives this toy good heft, so it can stand up against the most enthusiastic cuddling your 2-year-old can manage.
My First Railway Set
Known for their durable, super fun train sets, Brio has made this simple set perfect for first-time train owners. Magnets connect the different train cars as they ride around the simple wooden track. And when they’re ready for a bigger railway empire, it's compatible with other Brio products… and they will want more Brio products!
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