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Are you looking for gift ideas for a toddler in your life? Maybe it’s your kid, maybe it’s a friend or family member’s kid. Either way, finding age appropriate toys that young kids will both enjoy now and be able to grow into isn’t always an easy task. This can make it especially hard for family and friends that want to find great gifts for birthdays or holidays, but don’t have kids the same age as your little one.
There are so many toys out there. So. Many. Toys. How in the world do you know what they’ll like?
I recently put together a “wish list” for my family for Little’s upcoming birthday and thought it might be of some benefit to share it with you all as well.
These ideas are based of off my son’s current interests at almost two, but are things that I can see him enjoying and growing with over at least the next year.
Two Year Old Gift Guide
This one is purely for practical purposes. It’s a non-toy, I know. But Little likes to stay hydrated and I like a great water bottle that doesn’t spill. I think that’s simple enough.
Another fun one that he can grow with and also play with friends. I love that they whole family can enjoy these maracas together. It’s fun to make different rhythms together and introduce Little to making music. I was in the band throughout college, so it’s important to me that he at least be exposed to some musical instruments maracas are a really fun percussion toy to start out with!
Little explicitly asked for this. Well, not this specific puzzle, but a number puzzle. We’ve got an ABC puzzle that he loves and lots of ABC things already. We have a felt set with numbers, but not a puzzle. I added this specific one because it goes up to 20 rather than just 10. Little is confident in his counting to 10 and identifying those numbers so I think this puzzle will last a little longer.
Things That Go
I’m combining these because they are really the same in my mind. Little loves to read books about construction sites, he loves to see them in action when we travel, and he loves to drive around the vehicles. These construction vehicles are great because they look like the real things, but are still easy for little hands to play with. I also love that each comes with an operator figurine. *Note: These toy vehicles are put-together-yourself. So, you’ll have to assemble them. But, all the pieces are large and plastic, and can easily be assembled with the plastic screwdriver that it included. For younger toddlers, parents might want to put it together and just let kids play. But older kids might want to put it together themselves. To me, this means a few extra years of life for the toy!
Next up is this basic, figure 8 wooden train set. Little really enjoys trains (and anything that “goes”), but to be frank, we don’t have lots of space in our home for a train table or an elaborate train set. Not to mention, I really don’t want to have to set up an elaborate track over and over. This train set is the perfect beginner set for your little one. You can always add onto it later as your kids get older and are better able to set up their own tracks.
Or maybe, you want to avoid the train track altogether. If I’m being honest, this crossed my mind, too in the name of space saving around our house. These wooden train cars attach to one another magnetically and make the perfect little train to pull around the coffee table, or addition to your train set.
To Encourage Creativity
We’re also starting to get more into crafts over here and play-doh is a big hit. So far, I’ve made my own dough for little to use, but I’m hoping to get him a set like this with basic tools to work on motor skills and allow us to be more creative with our play-doh. And frankly, for less than $10, this is a major budget friendly gift that is sure to get lots of play.
Another piece of our creativity over here is painting. We love to paint. We love finger paint, water paint, water colors, tempura paint. You name it, we love it. These two gifts, both under $10 are perfect for encouraging some creative play time with your little one. The finger paint kit includes paint and the paper so it really is everything you need and the art smock keeps the mess somewhat at bay. (Bonus, it should fit well into preschool as well, so you can use it over and over!)
These building blocks are an excellent way to encourage little ones to work on their fine motor skills and imagination as they stack them into towers, buildings, etc. I love the bright, but simple colors and the fact that they are an open ended toy.
Little is always around when I’m cooking dinner and has started to enjoy pretending to cook himself. Two is a great age to start really encouraging pretend play. Kids love to imitate the things they see happening around them, whether it’s cooking dinner or cleaning the house, checking the mail, etc. Play food is a great way to encourage this. It’s also a good way to talk about healthy eating. I like this food set since it doesn’t have 1,000 pieces (being real honest here…). I also love that each food group has it’s on little basket. They are also great for playing things like grocery store, etc.
I specifically didn’t put a kitchen set on our list because we just don’t have the space in our home for the full kitchen set. We’ve actually cleared off a shelf on one of our bookshelves and that’s where we put our pots and pans for “cooking”. If you’ve got the space, I think a kitchen set is a GREAT idea for two year olds.
Another piece for pretend play. We’re big on “Old MacDonald” over here and we love to identify the different animals and their sounds – even what they might like to eat! This Little People Farm set is a great way to help kids use their imaginations and pretend to take care of the animals.
Ok so, Little actually already has this. I added it to this list though, because he loves it so much. Really, he loves any sort of ride on toy, but I think that this will be able to get even more use once he’s two and can better get the concept of pedaling. For now, he rests his feet on the pedals and we talk about how they are going around. He calls this his “bicycle”. It’s a great height for toddlers. Even though he can’t use the pedals on his own just yet, he can still get on and off of the tricycle by himself and scoot himself around on it, which is great fun.
These last two are the most expensive toys on our list this year, but they are toys that I think we’ll get a lot of use out of. We love water play over here and this water table seems like a great way to encourage imaginative play with water and will be fun to use in the warmer months around here. I love that it is smaller than a kiddie pool so uses less water, but still gives us ample opportunity for splashing around.
I looked all around for playhouses before deciding on this one for our 2 year old wish list. This wonderball playhouse comes with balls that you can use throughout for an added element of fun. I think we will have lots of fun pretending to play house, store, fort, etc. with this playhouse.
That’s it for our two year old wish list. If you have a toddler, I’d love to know what’s on your list, as well. We are always open to ideas around here!
One final note: This gift guide only includes toys. We also love our fair share of books around here, but I thought that might be a bit much to list every single book we love on this particular list. I am happy to put together a list of what we’re reading these days, if that’s something you’d be interested in. Just let me know in the comments or by email!