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Best Overall: Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag, Classic at Amazon
"These blocks are the perfect size for little hands."
Best Dinosaur Toy: 3 Bees & Me Dinosaur Toys at Amazon
"There’s a brontosaurus, a stegosaurus, and of course, a T-Rex."
Best Car Toy: Melissa & Doug Nesting Garages and Cars at Amazon
"Offers endless counting, sorting, and matching opportunities."
Best Active: Radio Flyer 811X 4-in-1 Stroll ‘N Trike at Amazon
"They’ll be cruising the neighborhood in style with this sleek 4-in-1 vehicle."
Best Educational: LeapFrog, My Own Leaptop at Amazon
"Great for long car rides and any other time that calls for fun on-the-go."
Best for Sports: Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set at Amazon
"Budding ballers can shoot and score over and over again."
Best Musical: B. Parum Pum Pum Drum at Target
"This fantastic music set is cute and functional."
Best Overall: Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag, Classic
“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.
Kids of all ages will love to stack, build, knock them down and start all over again and again. From castles to cars and so much more, there’s no limit to the things they may create.
While they’re having all that fun, their imagination and fine motor skills are being bolstered too—win, win! They also come in a great environmentally-friendly storage bag that makes them easy to take along and clean up.
This is a perfect starter set, but it also works with all other Mega Bloks sets, so you can grow their collection over time to build bigger and better things. The possibilities are endless.
"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
Best Dinosaur Toy: 3 Bees & Me Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls
This rolling herd of dinosaurs will provide a roaring good time for tiny toddlers. That’s right, herd, as not one but four dinos, come in this value-priced pack. It’s a gift that makes a big impression.
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.
They’re easy-to-grip and the perfect size for little hands. Not only will they encourage motor skill development, but they’ll also inspire imaginary play and ignite an interest in science (future paleontologist perhaps?). More than anything, however, these dinosaurs are fun. Toddlers will love racing them, chasing them and creating all sorts of silly scenarios. Older kids will have fun with them too. Heck, they’re so much fun, don’t be surprised if mom and dad want to get in on the Jurassic action. The fun will show no threat of extinction.
Best Car Toy: 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 (count them, 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. Of course, kids won’t have any idea they’re learning such valuable lessons as they vroom, vroom the day away.
All of the garages can be stacked on top of one of another as well, for stacking (and knocking down) and building. From towers to entire towns, this set will drive their imaginations wild.
Don’t worry about the mess of all those moving parts either. All of the garages also nest within one another, making storage easy. Not to mention, they’re a great value for the price, which makes giving this gift especially nice.
Best Active: 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).
There’s a removable canopy to protect little ones from the sun and also a storage bin for snacks, keys or small toys. There’s even a cup holder for sipping on the go when all that pedaling leaves them panting. The seat is adjustable, and it holds kids up to 49 pounds for years of active, outdoor fun.
Best Educational: LeapFrog, My Own Leaptop
Light up their world of learning with this little, pretend laptop. Just like Mom and Dad, toddlers can get down to business with their very own keyboard and screen.
Packed with games, songs and various learning modes, there’s so much to explore and learn with this little machine. From learning the ABCs to spelling and animal names, they’ll be tap, tap, tapping away at endless educational activities that are brought to life with fun songs and engaging graphics. Bonus: kiddos can even send and receive emails—pretend emails, but emails nonetheless.
The laptop is toddler tough, weighs less than 2 pounds and has a handle that makes it easy to carry. It’s great for long car rides and any other time that calls for fun on the go. Three AA batteries are included, so the fun can begin immediately.
Best for Sports: Little Tikes Easy Score 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.
The base is made to be filled with sand to keep it steady when the wind blows, but you can also skip that step and keep it indoors for climate-controlled fun. A game of H-O-R-S-E, anyone?
Best Musical: B. Parum Pum Pum Drum
If there’s one thing we know about kids, it’s that they love to make noise, and this is one gift that helps them do just that. They’ll 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 so you can pack up the whole thing and take it wherever the music moves you.
All this musical inspiration comes at a great price, and it’s a hit with girls and boys alike. If you’re feeling extra generous, you may want to throw in a set of earplugs for mom and dad for those times when the beat goes on and on and on…
We bought a top-rated gift for 2-year-olds and our reviewers tested it for six hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this toy, from its educational value to its longevity. We’ve outlined the major points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
Age rating Any time you’re buying a toy for a young child, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t have any pieces that could be dangerous, whether posing a choking hazard or otherwise. Most toys come with an age rating, so check that the product you’ve chosen is safe for 2-year-olds.
Educational value Two-year-olds are like little sponges, soaking up all sorts of knowledge and learning new skills every day. A toy that teaches them something — 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.