The 16 Best Gifts for 2-Year-Olds in 2021

Surprise your toddler with a fun, thoughtful gift

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Buying a gift for a young child can be difficult, as you want to purchase something that's beneficial to their developmental health and growth, but is also engaging, fun, and unique. 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. Anything learning-based or tactile are great options, but consider looking at ride-on toys, gifts that help teach them their numbers and ABCs, or sensory toys that keep their hands and fingers moving.

Ahead, we researched the best gifts for 2-year-old boys and girls.

Our Top Picks
Little hands will push, touch, and feel with this colorful sensory toy.
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Little ones can learn and laugh while poking and playing with this interactive and adorable critter.
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Little ones will have a deliciously good time scooping ice cream and learning along the way.
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Not only will this toy encourage motor skills, but it also inspires imaginary play and an interest in science.
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This mixing and matching game is an egg-cellent way for kids to learn about colors and shapes.
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From towers to entire towns, this set will drive their imaginations wild.
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Kids of all ages will love to stack, build, knock them down, and start all over again.
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Bath time becomes play time with this toy that isn’t just fun, but also encourages coordination.
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Your little doctor now has the perfect kit to treat any pretend bumps and bruises.
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Introduce this classic book to any tot and watch and listen as their vocabulary expands.
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Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Baby and Toddler Learning Toy

The fun and interactive pushable buttons 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 two year olds. Made of plastic and super lightweight, you can easily take it from room to room or on the go.

Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog

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

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

Melissa & Doug Nesting and Sorting Garages and Cars

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, Classic

Mega Bloks

“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.

"One thing to note is that the set doesn’t have an equal number of blocks in each color. This potentially limits their value for sorting activities, but shouldn’t be a deal breaker for kids more interested in building walls of blocks and then knocking them down."—Hailey Eber, Product Tester

Munchkin Fishin' Bath Toy

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

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

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

John Deere Toolkit

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

lifestyle-custom-kitchen

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

Little Tikes EasyScore

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.

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

Nuby-Octopus

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 811X 4-in-1 Stroll ‘N Trike

Radio Flyer 811X 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

Recommended Age

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.

Safety

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.

Educational Value

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.

Longevity

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.

FAQ
  • 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.

Updated by
Jenna Stregowski
Jenna Stregowski, RVT, Pet Expert and Contributing Writer for The Spruce Pets

Jenna Stregowski, RVT, has worked in veterinary medicine for more than two decades. Her veterinary experience ranges from routine wellness care and preventive medicine to emergency and specialty care, where she has performed duties ranging from specialized nursing to clinical administration. Jenna has been writing about pet care for over 10 years, including for publications like DVM 360 and DogTime.

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