As a mom of a 2-year-old and a daughter of a preschool teacher, I know a thing or two about the toddler toy market. Some things I would have paid 4 times as much knowing the amount of use my toddler gets out of them. Others … not so much. Interestingly enough, we often receive the latter as gifts. Finding the best gifts for 2-year-olds can be tough — they’re not babies anymore but also can’t play with a lot of the cooler, more complicated toys.
If you’re struggling to find something that won’t immediately end up in the donation pile, this list is chock full everything from Christmas gifts for 2-year-olds to birthday gifts for 2-year-olds, and all are available on Amazon. (After you find what you’re looking for, consider building a gift stockpile for the future).
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Best Gifts for 2-Year-Olds
1. Mega Bloks Big Building Bag
The benefits of large building blocks ($16.97 or 32% off, Amazon) are almost endless. My favorites: They encourage open-ended independent play and are durable and easy to clean. Plus, they’ll be played with forever.
2. Jasonwell Aqua Magic Doodle Mat
Reusable, shareable, creative, and mess-free, this doodle mat ($12.79+, Amazon) comes with a magic pen you fill up with water to draw with. Able to keep kids occupied for years to come, it’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.
3. Swarkol 1,000+ Puffy Stickers
Will these stickers ($8.99 or 44% off, Amazon) end up all over the house and car? Maybe, but their entertainment value makes it well worth it. Plus, the price can’t be beat.
4. Moluk Bilibo
It’s a helmet, it’s a turtle shell, it’s … whatever they want it to be! Never has there been a more open-ended toy than the bilibo ($29.95, Amazon), designed with Swedish child development experts for imaginative indoor and outdoor play. It’s one of the most unique gifts for 2-year-olds, and just when you think they’ve thought of every use, I promise they’ll come up with something else. Cost per use = pennies.
5. Zalik Pop It Fidget Toys, 4-pack
Is there anyone more fidgety, distracted, and prone to boredom than a 2-year-old? These poppers ($8.99 or 70% off, Amazon) are perfect stashed within arm’s reach at all times and are able to keep them entertained in a restaurant or on a road trip.
6. Little Tikes 3- Trampoline
Anything that helps a toddler burn off energy on their own is a win in my book. While this trampoline ($57.99, Amazon) does take up some space, if there’s room indoors to add this to a playroom or living room, I highly recommend it.
7. Squishmallow Stitch from Lilo & Stitch, 12-inch
Considered the Beanie Babies of today, Squishmallows have earned viral status for being addictively soft and extra huggable. Start their collection off with a recognizable character like Stitch from Disney’s Lilo & Stitch ($34, Amazon). Another reason to keep these on your radar? If you manage to snag a rare one, you can resell it for a tidy profit.
8. Boon Building Bath Toy Bundle
Inspire their inner engineer with toy pipes, cogs, and tubes that can be connected together to make bath water move in all sorts of ways. This bundle ($29.99, Amazon) will earn their keep with hours upon hours of enjoyment.
9. USA Toyz Pop-Up Kids’ Tent
There are few things more fun for a toddler than their own tent — especially when it’s shaped like a rocket ship like this option ($24.95, Amazon). The main goal is indulging their imagination, but having a place to store all their stuffed animals and books is definitely a bonus.
10. Sunny Days Entertainment Kitchen Sink Play Set with Running Water
Why are toddlers obsessed with this play sink ($16.06, Amazon)? I’m not quite sure, but I’m also not one to question a solid distraction for my 2-year-old. Who knows — it might inspire them to do real dishes in the future.
11. Humble Crew Kids Table and Chair Set
From coloring and reading to eating and playing pretend, there are unlimited uses for a pint-sized table and chairs set. This $78.40 one is great ($63.88, Amazon) because not only is the price right, but the white wood creates a versatile and high-quality look. If you’re looking for non toy gifts for 2-year-olds, this is a great buy.
12. Melissa & Doug Fold and Go Mini Dollhouse
Is there any gift more classic than a dollhouse? Unlike the delicate vintage ones you’re probably imagining, this one ($36.99 Amazon) is cheap, fuss-free, and even packable, thanks to the foldability and genius handles on top.
13. Lydaz Bubble Lawn Mower
The bubble obsession among toddlers is real — which is great, except I’m constantly being hounded to blow more of them, and they make everything they touch super sticky. Part of what makes this toy ($26.99, Amazon) so brilliant is that it’s made for the outdoors, minimizing the mess. But the best part is actually the wheels that let them push it all over the yard while wearing themselves out. Definitely one of the best gifts for 2-year-olds.
14. Sgile Magnetic Drawing Board
Support your budding artist without turning your house into a studio with this handy tool ($21.99, Amazon). No, there are no colors, and they can’t put it on the fridge, but it does come with fun stamps and can be used over and over again.
15. Play-Doh Modeling Compound
Who doesn’t love Play-Doh ($7.99, Amazon)? It’s definitely one of the best gifts for 2-year-olds — and if we’re all honest with ourselves, anyone. With these coming in at $0.80 a tub, it’s no big deal if all the colors inevitably mix together and some dry out.
16. Neoformers Magnetic Tiles
At my house, these magnetic tiles ($36.99, Amazon) get at least two hours of use a day. Similar to building blocks, there are so many different ways to create with these that they get pulled out for play constantly.
17. Mr. Pen Washable Dot Markers
Admittedly, most best gifts for 2-year-olds are mess-free, but these washable dot markers ($9.95, Amazon) are still worth mentioning. There’s something about stamping all that color onto a page that they find … delightful? Therapeutic? Hilarious? Whatever it is, as long as they’re stamping their energy out too, that’s all that matters.
18. I Spy: A Book of Picture Riddles
I spy with my little eye one of the best gifts for 2-year-olds! Chances are, you read this series back in the day, and believe me when I say it’s aged well. Even if some of the riddles are a little advanced for the recipient, that just means they’ll love this book ($10.39, Amazon) for a long time. For now, they’ll find the rhymes charming and have fun looking at the bright pictures.
19. Funerica Pretend Play Food Set
Everyone knows fake food is great for imaginative play, but consider this: It also introduces your toddler to healthy foods they may otherwise be too picky to eat. Grab this set ($26.91 or 23% off, Amazon), which also comes with some fun kitchen accessories. (Psst … Pair this with #35 for the ultimate gift.)
20. Crayola Color Caddy
No need to splurge for the mega pack of crayons, markers, colored pencils, etc. This set ($18.74, Amazon) has more than enough for any art project, and the caddy makes transport and cleanup a breeze.
21. Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set
What is it about this classic ($34.99, Amazon) that’s so irresistible? Although pint-sized, this basketball hoop is fun for the whole family. A key feature is the adjustable hoop that allows toddlers and lower elementary kids alike to play with it, together or separately.
22. Skoolzy Peg Board Set
Three words: fine motor skills. This peg board ($16 or 47% off, Amazon) offers endless opportunities to grasp, sort, pattern, and stack. It can also help teach colors and counting. The best part is, kids are too busy having fun to realize how much they’re learning.
23. Playskool Sit ‘n Spin Activity Toy
The ability to spin around and around may seem like a short-term novelty, but that’s only because you’re not thinking like a toddler. Imagine games of Ring Around the Rosie with stuffed animals and a rotating display of food at a pretend restaurant, and you have a much clearer picture of this simple toy’s ($34.99, Amazon) possibilities.
24. ChillaFish Charlie Toddler Balance Bike
If you haven’t yet heard, balance bikes are the new trikes. Word on the street is, toddlers struggle more with balancing than pedaling, which is why it’s important to focus on that first. This is one of the best practical gifts for 2-year-olds because it teaches them a necessary skill in the most efficient way. While a lot of them are in the 3-figure range, this one ($49.99, Amazon) is at least half that.
25. Carevon Magnetic Fishing Toys
If you have multiple kids to entertain, this set ($18.99, Amazon) is a must. With more than enough fish to prevent fighting, this set can be used with the blow up, with a box, in the pool, or in the bath. On the go? Scatter them around a lawn or living room. It’s a good time no matter what.
26. Franklin Sports Grow-With-Me Kids’ Baseball Batting Tee + Stand
An upgrade to the standard toddler baseball set, what makes this ($25.49 or 27% off, Amazon) one of the best gifts for 2-year-olds is that it grows with your kid as they age so that they can get maximum use at it — for basically the same price.
27. Melissa & Doug Joey Magnetic Wooden Dress-Up Set
Like old-school paper dolls but way easier to change, this magnetic wooden dress-up set ($11.99 or 24% off, Amazon) is the perfect accessory to all sorts of toys they may already have, like a dollhouse or stuffed animals.
28. HelloWood Kids’ Cleaning Set
Similar to the play sink, for some reason toddlers can’t get enough of cleaning products. If you feel like you’re constantly trailing behind them cleaning up their messes, this set ($27.99 or 7% off, Amazon) might just redirect their energy and give you a break.
29. AugToy Kids Bowling Set
Consider this set ($26.99, Amazon) your ultimate rainy day hack and one of the best gifts for 2-year-olds — simply pull it out when you start losing your mind, set it up in a hallway, and let the good times roll. Plus, everything is made out of foam so you don’t have to worry about loud noises as the pins fall.
30. Meland Kids’ Golf Club Set
This golf set ($25.97+, Amazon) combines three favorite toddler pastimes: swinging things, balls, and making stuff fly. Together, they make a pretty good way to spend some time outside and maybe even pick up a new favorite sport.
31. Toniebox Audio Player Starter Set
Tonieboxes ($79.99 or 20% off, Amazon) have made their rounds amongst the mommy bloggers and every review is glowing. They’re basically audio players for stories, music, and fun educational lessons that toddlers can operate independently by switching out the characters. Think of it like screen-free (aka guilt-free) TV—definitely one of the best gifts for 2 year olds.
32. Little Tikes Outdoor Folding Water Play Table
Like I said before, the best gifts for 2-year-olds involve water and the outdoors. What I love about this water table ($59.99, Amazon) in particular is that it’s more compact than most and can even fold up when not in use, in case you, like me, don’t have a sprawling backyard for unlimited toy storage.
33. Looikoos Musical Instrument Set
I know noise-making toys aren’t anyone’s favorite, but hear me out. These instruments ($29.99, Amazon) aren’t overly disruptive but still indulge the unique desire toddlers have for chaos. Plus, there are a ton of benefits to musical instruments, such as supporting fine and gross motor skills and sensory and brain development.
34. KidKraft Vintage Wooden Play Kitchen
Benefits of involving kids in the kitchen include nutritional knowledge, healthier eating choices, and greater self-confidence. It’s hard to always include them in the cooking process, but letting them practice through open-ended play in their own kitchen ($79, Amazon) is a solid second best. (Don’t forget to pick up #20 for them while you’re at it!).