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Buying the perfect gift for a 2-year-old can be difficult when you're trying to find something that's beneficial to their developmental health and growth but is also engaging, fun, and unique.
With those challenges in mind, we tested and researched the best toy options on the market for 2-year-olds, considering the recommended age, safety, educational value, and longevity. Our list includes fidgets from Fat Brain Toys, bath toys from Munchkin, and kitchen sets from Step2.
Here are the best gifts for 2-year-old boys and girls.
Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Baby and Toddler Learning Toy
The fun and interactive pushable buttons on the Fat Brain Toys Dimpl toy may act as a stress reliever for a teenager or adult, but for little ones, they provide a fun, stimulating sensory experience that will keep them entertained for hours.
Dimpl toys come in various shapes and sizes, but this basic model is ideal for 2-year-olds developing sensory and motor skills. The simple mechanism will capture your toddler's attention immediately. Once they pop all bubbles on one side, flip it over and start the process again.
Made of lightweight ABS plastic and food-grade silicone, you can trust that this toy is hazard-free. It's also easy to transport from room to room or on the go because there are no loose pieces. Keep it in your purse for when your 2-year-old is fussy or needs a fool-proof distraction. The silicone and plastic wipe down easily when you need to clean this toy, but the Dimpl isn't dishwasher safe.
Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog
Perfect for tiny hands, Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog comes with pegs that perfect fit into his body as spikes. Two years old can practice their fine motor skills by placing the correct pegs in each spot, then practice counting and sorting with the different color "spikes" that come with this kit. The adorable critter is bound to keep kids entertained and engaged as they solve the mystery of his missing spikes.
LeapFrog Scoop and Learn Ice Cream Cart Deluxe
Kids can mix and match the flavors and toppings on their very own ice cream cart to create the perfect cone, all while learning and laughing. This set comes with recipe cards so toddlers can build their memory and sequencing abilities while also practicing their fine motor skills through giving and receiving money for the tasty treats.
3 Bees & Me Dinosaur Toys
This rolling herd of dinosaurs will provide a roaring good time for tiny toddlers. Four dinosaurs, come in this value-priced pack. Each dinosaur is modeled after a real prehistoric dino. There’s a brontosaurus, a stegosaurus, a triceratops, and of course, a T-Rex, all in bright primary colors, perched atop wheels.
Coogam Matching Eggs Color & Shape Sorter Puzzle
This carton of (fake) eggs is packed full of educational enrichment. The dozen eggs open to reveal six colors and 12 shapes, which kids have to match up. The eggs are made of durable material and they’re the perfect size for smaller hands.
Melissa & Doug Nesting and Sorting Garages and Cars With 7 Graduated Garages
Rev up the fun with this set of sorting cars and garages from Melissa & Doug. It comes complete with seven numbered wooden cars in graduated sizes. There are also seven garages included, each with a number and color that matches one of the cars for endless counting, sorting, and matching opportunities.
All of the garages can be stacked on top of one of another as well, for stacking (and knocking down) and building.
Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag
“Wow!” will be their reaction when they see this mega bag of Mega Bloks. It comes with 80 brightly colored blocks in a variety of shapes. They’re the perfect size for little hands and versatile enough for them to dream big with their creations.
From castles to cars and so much more, there’s no limit to the things they may create. This is a perfect starter set, but it also works with all other Mega Bloks sets.
Munchkin Fishin' Bath Toy
Bath time will become play time with this fun toy. Kids use the lightweight, magnetic fishing pole to catch the three sea creatures. The pole even makes a clicking sound. Not only is this fun, but can also teach kids hand-eye coordination.
Battat Deluxe Doctor Kit
The smallest doctor in your family now has their own kit to take care of any pretend bumps, bruises, or scrapes. The 11-piece set has colorful gear like a stethoscope, thermometer, tweezers, and a needle. Everything fits in the plastic case for easy storage.
First 100 Words: A Padded Board Book
This book is such a classic and is ideal for kids ages 1 to 3. It features 100 photos to accompany each word. Kids will expand their vocabulary all while enjoying the colorful pics. The book is made of durable material and the cover is slightly padded, making it easy for kids to hold.
John Deere Deluxe Talking Toolbelt
It’s tot tool time thanks to this set from John Deere. It includes a belt and six tools, including a screwdriver, wrench, and hammer. All of the tools feature rubber handles that are easy for little hands to grip. What’s really awesome is that the belt makes tool sounds and even says two phrases.
Step2 LifeStyle Custom Kitchen Playset
Your 2-year-old has some time before they actually start cooking, but this kitchen set is a fun start. The stove has cool sound effects like water boiling and a sizzling pan, while shelves and drawers provide plenty of storage space for the 20 accessories that are included.
Little Tikes EasyScore Basketball Set
To say this gift will be a slam dunk would be an understatement (and a silly pun), but it’s true. Budding ballers can shoot and score over and over again with this sturdy basketball hoop designed just for them. Perfect for hoopsters 18 months to five years old, it's easily adjustable and can go from 2 feet up to 4 feet. It also has an oversized rim for maximum points. The best part: the set comes with not one, but three, rubber balls, so if one rolls away to places unknown, the game doesn’t have to come to an end.
b. Toys Toy Drum Set
Kids will be marching to their own beat with this fantastic music set that’s as cute as it is functional. Included are silly centipede drumsticks, jingle bell ants, a busy bee maraca and clacker, a caterpillar tambourine and a shaker egg—plenty to make up a whole band. They all come packed in a bright drum with a handy carrying strap for some music on the go.
Nuby Floating Purple Octopus Interactive Bath Toy
This brightly colored toy is sure to make your kid smile. It’s perfect for 18 months and older. The purple octopus floats in the tub and includes three rings so kids can place them on the tentacles. The material is BPA-free and because the toys are sealed (no holes), there’s no worry about mold.
Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll 'N Trike
They’ll be cruising the neighborhood in style in this sleek 4-in-1 vehicle. It’s a gift they truly won’t outgrow for years, as it grows with the child.
It starts as an infant trike (basically, a sporty looking stroller), complete with a three-point harness for safety, as mom and dad do the work pushing. Then as little legs get bigger and stronger, the trike can transform into a steering trike and a learn-to-ride trike. Finally, it can be turned into a classic trike when they’re ready to pedal off on their own into the sunset (or at least to the end of the driveway).
What to Look for in a Toy For a 2-Year-Old
Age recommendations are an important gauge of safety and stimulation, so always take a look at this piece of information, says Kristin Morency Goldman, senior advisor of strategic communications for The Toy Association.
Keep a special eye out for any toys labeled 3+, says Morency Goldman, since these toys may contain small parts that pose a choking hazard, even to older toddlers. It’s also smart to avoid items that are too hard and heavy, as well as those that are long and unwieldy, since your toddler may not have the finesse and stability to handle these appropriately.
2-year-olds are like little sponges, soaking up all sorts of knowledge as they learn new skills. A toy that promotes news skills—be it fine motor skills, walking, talking, music, or critical thinking—will be both educational and entertaining.
Two-year-olds, in particular, tend to love exploring the world around them, so gifts that allow them to move and explore are a safe bet. According to Dr. Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician in South Overland Park, Kansas, these types of gifts also help hone their burgeoning physical skills.
Young children grow at an astounding rate. Consider whether the gift you buy for a 2-year-old can grow with them—it might be much better to invest in something a child can use for a long period of time, as opposed to a toy they’ll grow out of in a few months.
What are good gifts for an active 2-year-old?
Active toddlers enjoy gifts that let them move around and expel all of that energy. Consider interactive gifts like a mini basketball net or a drum set.
What do two-year-olds like to do for fun?
At this age, toddlers enjoy touching and feeling objects and exploring the world around them. They are just starting to draw and color. The best gifts will allow them to use their hands and develop their minds. Consider picture books, beginner art supplies, and simple games.
What products are safe for 2-year-olds to play with?
Gifts for 2-year-olds should be labeled for children of that age. Avoid gifts for age 3+ as these may contain small parts that can be swallowed. Choose durable, safe gifts that can withstand rough play.
Why are non-staining paints or markers best for 2-year-olds to play with?
Toddlers are still developing their fine motor skills and lack the dexterity of older kids. They are still learning how to use paint and markers and don't understand what surfaces to avoid. Non-staining paints and markers make cleanup easier for parents and protect clothing and surfaces from permanent damage.
How can a 2-year-old stay entertained with a toy without making a mess and staying safe?
It's important for an adult to supervise children of this age while they are playing. Contain toys to a specific area of the house safe from household hazards. Guide toddlers when they hold paint or markers and use non-staining materials whenever possible.
Why Trust the Spruce?
This roundup was written by Patrice J. Williams, a lifestyle writer who's contributed gift guides to The Spruce since 2020. She loves helping her friends and family find unique, thoughtful, and wallet-friendly presents. In addition to her work for The Spruce, she's appeared on-air for The Today Show, WEtv, and was the Savvy Shopper reporter for WPIX in New York City.
Additional reporting was done by Jenna Stregowski, a veterinary technician and hospital manager with over 20 years of experience. Jenna has contributed content to The Spruce and The Spruce Pets for over 10 years.