When you're shopping for toys for a 2-year-old boy, you want to make sure any toy you pick out not only keeps him engaged and encourages development, but is also durable enough to withstand their often very active lifestyle.
"Two-year-olds are developing their language and pretend play skills," says Colleen Mason, K0/K1 inclusion specialist with a Master's in early childhood education. "They love mimicking adult behavior and getting a chance to be in control, so toys like baby dolls, play kitchens, pretend lawn mowers or gardening tools can be really fun ways for kids to feel involved."
To help find the perfect toy for your toddler, we researched and tested the best options on the market, considering the educational value, durability, safety, and recommended age of each. Our top picks include a fidget toy perfect for little ones from Fat Brain Toys, a Thomas the Tank Engine ride-on from Fisher-Price, and Melissa & Doug chunky wooden puzzle designed for tiny hands.
Here are the best toys for 2-year-old boys.
Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Brand Baby Toy
Can be used as a bath toy
Might not be engaging enough for toddlers who need more stimulation
Small and lightweight enough to play on the go, this silicone bubble fidget toy provides entertainment anywhere, anytime. You can let your toddler bring it to bath time, or hand it to him when he needs to calm down or keep his hands busy. It's a simple concept, but it's brought hours of fun to users.
While there are a ton of counterfeit versions of this fidget popping toy, this model from Fat Brain Toys is the original. It's BPA-Free, and the bright, colorful bubbles are made of 100 percent food-grade silicone. Weighing at just under 5 ounces, this sensory toy can help baby build fine motor skills and understand cause and effect anywhere he goes.
One thing to note is that some toddlers may require more stimulation than this toy can provide. Still, it is great to have in pinch in case of tantrums or short car rides. Your toddler can also graduate to more complex fidgets if this pick is too simple.
Green Toys Tool Set Tool Set
Endures rough toddler play
Screws don't go into holes properly
A hammer, screwdriver, and saw usually aren't appropriate for tots, but this set features kid-friendly tools to keep your little one occupied. The toolbox has four holes on each side that kids can screw and hammer the nuts and bolts into. Also, everything is made from 100 percent recycled plastic and they're even dishwasher safe.
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Pull & Play Learning Wagon
135+ songs, sounds and phrases
Also has activities for sitting
Get those feet moving and bodies grooving with this wagon that plays music. Little walkers can drag the wagon behind them, complete with blocks, learning toys, and a doggy friend, or babies can explore it while seated or standing. There are three stages of lessons so you can set the toy to the appropriate level for the 2-year-old.
Melissa & Doug Wooden Take-Along Sorting Barn Toy With Flip-Up Roof and Handle
Good for small hands
Wooden pieces can call out while putting other pieces in
Melissa & Doug created this small wooden farmhouse that lets kids play pretend and work on their shapes. The toy comes with 10 wooden farm-themed pieces including a tractor, farmer, and all kinds of animals. The flip-up roof allows for quick access to the wooden pieces once your toddler has pushed them through the corresponding holes.
Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog
Quills can be stored inside
Allows for learning through play
Requires a 12V battery
Little boys can practice fine motor skills with this sweet little hedgehog that lost its quills. Peg-shaped quills must be inserted into the corresponding hole along the hedgehog's back. With many quills in many colors, concepts like counting and sorting can be introduced. The quills and hedgehog can be wiped clean and it all stores together in the hedgehog's back.
Fisher-Price Plush Puppy Baby Toy with Smart Stages Learning Content and Lights, Laugh & Learn
Large library of sounds, songs, and words to teach
Multiple levels for learning
Some customers claim it stops working
With over 100 words and more than 75 songs, this Plush Puppy by Fisher-Price will entertain toddlers for hours. Touch is interactive thanks to the different light-up parts of the pup. There are three Smart Stages of learning for you to pick from so the learning is at the appropriate level.
LeapFrog Scoop and Learn Ice Cream Cart
Variation in ice cream, toppings, and syrups
Comes with activity cards for learning
May be too complicated for some toddlers
A kid that loves ice cream (and isn't that every kid?) will love this ice cream cart. Little boys can serve up all kinds of combinations with four kinds of ice cream, three toppings, and three syrup flavors,a three toppings and three syrup flavors. Activity cards and the cart's features introduce colors, numbers, and flavors while they play pretend.
Little Tikes Cape Cottage Playhouse with Working Doors, Windows, and Shutters - Tan
Usable indoors and outdoors
No accessories included
Kids can play house with this cottage from Little Tikes. Two working doors, two working windows, and a mailbox provide various ways for kids to engage with the house — besides playing pretend in it. It's easy to assemble and a screwdriver is the only tool required. It's safe for indoor use and outdoor use.
Pacific Play Tents Find Me Multi Color Tunnel
Fun, physical play
Easy to set up
Wires might poke out from material
If your toddler loves exploring and playing peek-a-boo, this colorful tent is sure to be a hit. There's no complicated setup required, just take it out of the carrying case and undo the strings that keep it flat—it's ready for playtime!
RadBizz Push Pop Bubble Fidget Sensory Toy
Solo activity for staying busy
This kind of push-and-pop toy has gained a lot of popularity recently as an option for occupying curious kiddos. It's lightweight, reusable, and washable, and made of a safe silicone. Bonus for parents — there's really no popping noise at all. It's a small sound, but nothing that would become irritating.
Small Foot Compact Work Bench With Accessories Nordic Theme
Weighs less than 5 pounds
Some toddlers may need supervision
Get to building at this small workbench. Whether they're sawing, screwing, or pounding, little boys will be having fun while "working." A bonus for parents, the workbench's simple Nordic design would be stylish in any space — not just the playroom.
b. Toys Toy Drum Set
Items can be stored in the drum
Comes with many accessories
Holster isn't adjustable enough to accomodate smaller toddlers
Get the rhythm going with this small drum set. With seven pieces, there are plenty of different things to tap together and sounds to be made. Once he's done making music and working on his coordination, all the accessories can be packed into the drum for later.
Fat Brain Toys Timber Tots Hazelnut House Dolls & Dollhouses for Ages 2 to 4
Creative take on the classic doll house
Has multiple rooms yet is still compact
Only comes with three accessories
Little boys can practice caregiving and fine motor skills with this little raccoon doll and her acorn house. A button makes the inside of the house spin and reveal a new room. Store the raccoon and accessories inside and the acorn house can be taken on the go!
Fat Brain Toys Roll 'n Go Wooden Marble Run
Higher price tag
No ball storage
Set the balls at the top and watch them go back and forth down until they hit the bottom. It only stands 10 inches tall, so it won't be a big reach for toddlers to put the balls at the top of the sturdy wooden structure.
Kidodido Montessori Baby Play Climber Set for Toddler
Able to pick and choose what elements you buy
Requires adult supervision
This toy does double duty as an arch and a rocker. The set is customizable so you can get one of each of the arch, rocker, pillow, and ramp, or pick and choose to get only the components you want. The arch comes in two sizes, so you can get what you think will be best for your exploring kiddo.
Fat Brain Toys Zoom 'n Vroom Ladder Launch Crane
Chunky material good for small hands
Plastic material is breakable
Who doesn't love a crane? This simple plastic toy from Melissa & Doug is constructed in such a way that small hands and young kids can enjoy it without the frustration that might come with a larger, more complicaed crane. Plus, boys will love the two mini trucks they can send flying by tilting the crane arm back — vroom vroom!
Power Wheels Thomas & Friends Thomas with Track
Grows with your child
Most vehicle-themed toys are too small for toddlers at this age, but this Fisher-Price Thomas engine is designed for your child to ride on for hours of fun. He can cruise around in a circle on the included track, and once he's ready to start maneuvering the train on his own, he can venture off track—making it a perfect option that grows with your child.
LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train
Wagons don't stick together when picked up
Kids can stack and build with this train set that helps them count from zero to nine. Each brick has a number and tots can stack them on one of the three locomotives. There are even two Lego figures, including a cat, in the set.
Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano Wooden Musical Toy
Easy to clean
Wooden toy for toddler
Music sheets aren't as engaging
This little wooden piano toy will help him develop musical skills during play. It includes volume control buttons, music sheets, and two modes of play: compose your own songs or play along classic music. Babies will adore the colorful keys on the piano, which sit at a perfect height when sitting or squatting.
3 Bees & Me Bath Toys
Engaging bath toy
Can endure rough toddler play
Needs to be cleaned constantly
At the end of a sweaty, sticky day, toddler boys need to hit the bath, but getting them into the tub isn’t always the easiest feat. This fleet of brightly colored boats, however, will have them begging to dive right in. Four boats come in a pack, and they each have magnets so they can hook to one another to form a bathtub boat parade. They can also be used in a pool, sink, or even on dry land for hours of imaginative play.
Tegu Tints Block 24 Piece Set
Lots of play potential
Magnets could be frustrating for some young children
The 24-piece magnetic wood block set enhances the play building. Kids can work on pattern recognition, balance, building, and imagination with this building set that offers unlimited potential.
Dolls to Play Baby Doll Car Seat with Toy Accessories
Great toy for travel
Promotes nurturing skills
Doll's eyes don't shut
You can even strap this baby doll's car seat next to your toddler's, making it an easy option for play on the go. The set also includes accessories like two bottles, a bib, and a rattle toy for added fun. When he doesn't want feel like carrying baby in arm, your toddler can wear the baby seat like a backpack, thanks to the durable straps on the back.
Melissa & Doug Safari Wooden Chunky Puzzle
Wooden toy for toddler
Paint starts to flake with use
Need an interactive gift for a 2-year-old boy? At this age, they'll start to fine-tune some of their fine motor skills and some will be able to identify shapes, animals, and such. Why not indulge all of these new milestones with a fun wooden puzzle that will have them saying "roar" and more.
LeapFrog Smart Sizzlin' BBQ Grill Learning Toy With Food and Tools
Teaches numbers and words
Easy to assemble
Wheels don't roll smoothly
This isn't just a play kitchen set, but one that's highly interactive for kids. The grill recognizes which foods are placed on top of it and says phrases like, "lets grill for three seconds" or "purple eggplant." Kids don't just learn about food but also numbers.
Little Tikes T-Ball Set
Stand provides some storage for bats and balls
Requires adult supervision
Play ball! Get boys engaged in sports with this T-ball set. The height of the "T" is adjustable so it will fit your kiddo no matter their height. Once they're hitting the ball on the T, you can move to giving it a toss. The ball, stand, and bat are all plastic to keep the ouchies to a minimum and the fun at a maximum.
Sesame Street Love to Hug Elmo
Talks and sings
Body is made of hard plastic, not stuffed plush
What toddler doesn't love Elmo? Gift him this cute cuddly guy that loves to receive and give hugs. Simply squeeze Elmo and he asks for a hug. And when Elmo's tummy is squeezed, he raises his arms and asks for a hug. He also sings and talks!
VTech Call and Chat Learning Phone
Great for pretend play
Sound is a little loud
Everyone else is always on their phone, so of course, the little guy is going to want to be on his too. This one isn’t for scrolling through social media, but rather it’s full of all sorts of educational opportunities at the touch of a button. Don’t worry, they won’t be ringing someone in the middle of the night though. It’s all just pretend, which is great for inspiring imaginative play and saving your data plan.
Little Tikes EasyScore Basketball Set
Adjustable height is great for growing with child
Can be played with kids of various ages
This oldie but goodie will have him shooting hoops like a pro in no-time or he'll at least just love attempting to make baskets. We love that this toy will get him moving and working on his coordination skills.
LECAMEBOR Finger Crayons for Toddlers 12 Colors Paint Crayons Sticks
Safety hole to prevent against choking
Doesn't store conveniently
Instead of letting your toddler struggle to use tiny crayons, get these larger ones with a palm grip. The more scribbling, the more fun! The crayon will go all over the paper, but not their hands since these crayons are made not to get little hands dirty.
Skip Hop Toddler Backpack
Fun and friendly design
Can fit a small lunchbox and clothes
Too small to fit medium-sized folders
While not really a toy, this backpack is the perfect size for most 2-year olds. He can store all of his toys in here when he goes to grandma and grandpa's house or use it for daycare. No matter the use, he'll enjoy having a bag of his own.
Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table Playset
Indoor and outdoor toy
Additional toys and accessories included
Some users needed to use a power drill to assemble
A water table is a gift that keeps on giving. They'll enjoy this toy from around 18 months and well towards eight years old and possibly beyond. They can use their imagination while playing solo or with a buddy to create waterfalls and watch the parts move and spin.
Press Here (Interactive Book for Toddlers and Kids, Interactive Baby Book)
Can endure rough play
Can use a stronger binding
Books are always a great gift. This favorite teaches kids about following directions and the importance of cause and effect. Though it's a children's book, the entire family can enjoy this.
Green Toys Dump Truck
Great outdoor fun
Easy to clean
Doesn't perform well in sand
Boys (and girls alike!) are fascinated by trucks. Why not indulge their interests with a toy dump truck that they can play with for hours on end. This dump truck will help them work on their gross motor skills as they zoom this around the house and try to figure out how to dump the "trash" out.
Fat Brain Toys Alpha Abacus
Contained pieces that won't get lost
Example words could be too advanced for some kids
Toddler boys can put their hands to use while they learn their alphabet and numbers. One side of the spinning wooden blocks shows the number; flip to the other side and see an example word and illustration. And with all the blocks on rods in wooden frame, you won't have to go looking for missing pieces later.
VTech Ring & Learn Cash Register
Exposes children to numbers
Encourages social play
Doesn't come with toy money
Cha-ching! He’ll be ringing up customers left and right with this awesome little interactive cash register set. It includes the register with a scale for weighing food, a credit card scanner, and a pretend credit card, of course. It also comes with a shopping basket and 10 pieces of healthy plastic food like fish, grapes, and milk—no cookies or ice cream here.
Micro Kickboard Micro Mini Original Kick Scooter
Can be used right out the box
Comes in various colors
Not easy to make turns
If he is pretty stable on his feet, why not push his gross motor skills even further with a scooter? This favorite has three wheels so it balances well for small users. He can zip around the neighborhood with ease and perhaps speed up your walks around the neighborhood.
Best Baby Shark: WowWee Baby Shark Official - Singing Bath Time Bubble Maker
Parents may not enjoy playing this song over and over again
Baby Shark (still) isn't going anywhere. Indulge his love for this addictive song with a puppet that lets you change the tempo of the song so you can play it again and again!
Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag
Blocks don't fit together securely
A staple in playrooms everywhere, these Mega Bloks are a perfect first foray into the world of block building. It comes with 80 brightly colored blocks for tons of building fun, and clean-up is easy as they come in their own storage bag. Made for little fingers, they’re perfectly sized for stacking, building, and smashing, then starting all over again. They can create towers, buildings, creatures, and whatever their little minds can dream up.
Bluey Cloud Bag Doctor's Set
Accessories back into the travel bag
Made of durable material
Stickers can only be used once
Let your little boy play pretend and practice his caring skills with the Bluey Cloud Bag Doctor Set. With seven play pieces, kids can "take care" of Bluey, you, and themselves.
Playskool Little Wonders Pop-A-Tune
Dome keeps the balls from flying
Comes with batteries
Price may be too high
Make music and play with balls with Playskool's Pop-a-Tune. Every time little boys tap a key, a colorful ball with fly. Choose from classic piano sounds or funny, silly noises. Only two AA batteries are required for hours of musical fun.
Kid Kraft Foody Friends: Deluxe Baking Fun Puppy Activity Center
Comes with many accessories
High price tag
With this Foody Friends set, there's nothing a 2-year-old boy won't be able to "cook." He can practice his shapes and fine motor skills while combining different plastic ingredients to make something delicious. An apron and chef's hat seal the deal on this fun pretend-play and learning toy.
Lillian Vernon Personalized Plush Zoo Animals Play Set
Able to be personalized
Packs up for easy storage
Limit of 12 characters for customization
Little boys can play on the wild side with this barn animal soft toy set. With four sets of animals — one adult and one baby — there's plenty of pretend play potential. Everything can be packed up and stored in the soft red barn for safekeeping.
Bigjigs Toys Learn to Count
Teaches colors, numbers, and shapes
Pieces can get lost
This award-winning educational wooden puzzle acts as a fun introduction to mathematics and counting skills. Match the numbered squares to the dots on the base of the puzzle and then count the brightly colored discs as they are placed onto their individual pegs. 55 pieces are included to help develop dexterity and concentration. Made from high quality, responsibly sourced materials and conforms to current US safety standards.
Great Pretenders Storybook Lion Cape
Available in two sizes
Specific dimensions aren't available for the sizes
Let kiddos "roar" to their heart's delight with this lion cape. A tail at the back and paws at the front that kids can slide their hands into complete this animal dress-up look. With the only closure at the neck, boys should be able to wear it for several years before they grow out of it.
Step2 Spill & Splash Seaway Water Table
Large accessories great for smaller hands
Comes with an umbrella
This two-tier water table is perfect for staying busy on a hot day with some cool fun. While many water tables are recommended for ages three and up, this one is suitable for kids as young as 18 months. Eleven accessories ensure there's plenty to play and experiment with. Use it indoors by the filling the interior with balls or dried beans.
What to Look for in Toys for a 2-Year-Old Boy
Make sure you check to see if the product’s age recommendation includes two-year-olds. This guideline is there to help you gauge how safe and engaging the toy will be, says Kristin Morency Goldman, senior advisor of strategic communications for The Toy Association.
Similarly, you should avoid any toys with small parts that pose a choking hazard—generally these toys are labeled 3+, says Morency Goldman. You should also consider material and size—avoid items that are too hard and heavy, as well as those that are long and unwieldy.
Toddlers tend to throw, drop, and generally run their toys ragged. Look for toys that are particularly durable—those made of thick plastics or solid wood—as they’ll better withstand frequent and rigorous use.
Development-focused toys can be based on physical skills, like a tricycle to help with balance and gross motor skills, says Dr. Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician at Pediatric Associates in South Overland Park, Kansas. They can also be learning-based, like puzzles or building sets. Tactile toys, like finger paint or magic sand are also really fun for older toddlers and help them explore texture and build fine motor skills.
What kinds of toys should a 2-year-old have?
"Two-year-olds are beginning to develop their pretend play skills," says Dan Mason, a licensed pediatric speech language pathologist at Positive Development. "Think about toys such as baby dolls and food/kitchen toys."
What educational toys are good for a 2-year-old?
Two is a key developmental age, so it’s a good idea to purchase toys that encourage toddlers to further their physical and mental skills. Consider toys like building block towers, crayons, puzzles, and other similar finds that'll promote toddlers to practice these skills.
What should you get for a 2-year-old who doesn't like toys?
Look to toys that don't involve pretend play. Tunnels and sports toys are great for active kids, while blocks and crayons will cater to 2-year-old's creative side. Age-appropriate puzzles and books can be fun, too.
Why Trust the Spruce?
This article was written by Julie Evans, a writer and editor who has worked with a host of diverse companies including Microsoft, USA Today, Realtor.com, Brit + Co, CafeMom, and SheKnows among others. She started writing for The Spruce in August 2017.