Two-year-olds can be a surprisingly tough crowd for which to shop. They’re officially out of the baby phase but aren’t quite ready for “big kid” life just yet. At the same time, they want to be entertained—a lot. That’s where selecting the best toys for 2-year-olds can really save your sanity (and theirs), from the best outdoor toys to educational toys and sensory toys for tots.
For 2-year-olds, “play is critical—it’s how kids learn,” says Robert Keder, MD, a pediatrician who specializes in developmental behavior at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. In this age group, kids are big on imitating adults, he says. “They watch you cook and then fake-cook, or put a ‘phone’ to their ear,” Keder says. “Play is such a great way for kids to understand how things work in the world.”
Two-year-olds are gaining skills in “everything” at this age, Keder says, but are especially working on their fine motor skills and cognitive skills, like picking up puzzle pieces or trying to figure out how things stack to make certain shapes. “All kinds of toys are fun at this age,” Keder says, adding that pretend-play toys are particularly great because children can mimic adults at a level that is comfortable for them. But, he points out, kids this age just love to play and explore, both indoors and outdoors.
With that in mind, these are the best toys for 2-year-olds, so you can blow away the little one in your life at the next gift-giving occasion—or at least keep them occupied during your next quarantine.
A Pretend Kitchen You’ll Want To Play With, Too
A Mess-Free Way To Paint
A Ride-On Toy That Grows With Its Owner
An Introduction To Play-Doh That’s Less Than $10
A Cool STEM Toy With Endless Possibilities
A Multipurpose Educational Toy With Wheels
A Tricycle That Converts From Pushing To Pedaling
This Toy Phone Counts, Plays Games and Sings Songs
This ‘Tablet’ Doesn’t Need a Wi-Fi Connection
A Dress-Up Set With A Slew Of Accessories
A Cool Looking Ball That’s Perfect For Kicking And Throwing
A STEM Toy With Built-In Storage
A Shape Sorter With An Added Challenge