favorite toys for two year olds

Moms’ Favorite Toys for 2-Year-Olds

By Polly Conner

An awesome list of 2-year-old toy ideas!

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Here’s a mommy pet peeve for you: Wasting money on toys that my kids only play with once or twice, not to mention the ones that take up a lot of space! I’m sure many moms and dads out there can relate, yes?

In an effort to take the guesswork out of picking out toys for your two-yearold I’ve put together a list of home run-my kid loves this-must have-totally worth the money toys. I’m not only bringing my experience to the table but many other moms who have 2-year-olds in their house have contributed their favorite toys as well.

Hopefully you can pass this list along to grandparents, family, friends and any other well-meaning gift buyers for your little one. Pin your hearts out on this post too. You’ll want these toy ideas for 2-year-olds for the next birthday party or even Christmas.

*Disclaimer: I do not own all of these toys. Most of the ones I have I got at garage sales or am borrowing from other families. Just didn’t want to come off as someone who spends thousands of dollars on toys!

In no particular order…

 Favorite Toys for Two-Year-Olds (put together by moms)

Eric Carle: My First Smart Pad Library

I bought this on a whim from Kohls on Black Friday. I had no idea what a hit it would be with my 2 year old. She LOVES these books and the interactive pad that goes with them. It has been a great way for her to learn letter recognition too. This would also be a great travel activity.

Books for two year olds
Melissa Doug See Spell

A great way for little hands to stay busy and learn letters at the same time. Two year olds love that this is kind of a puzzle but moms like it because it teaches letter and spelling recognition.

spelling game for two year old
Wood Train Sets like Thomas the Train or this one from Ikea.

Boys and girls love the challenge of putting together tracks and then rolling cars and trains around on them. A quality train set is well worth the investment and will keep your toddler busy!

wooden train set for two year old
Wooden puzzles

My gal can’t get enough of these. Two year olds love the challenge of a puzzle and the accomplishment of putting one together. Stock up on some quality wooden puzzles for those busy little hands!

puzzles for 2 year olds
Play dough and Accessories (or make your own play dough)

I love how play dough brings out creativity and experimentation in toddlers. It’s nice when they are past the stage of eating the play dough and they actually manipulate it and do pretend play with it.

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 11.36.33 AM

Melissa and Doug Kid Scissors

Two pairs of craft scissors safely cut paper in either straight or zigzag lines–for both lefties and righties! They won’t cut clothing or hair. Child-safe scissors are packaged in a plastic storage pouch for easy cleanup.

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Leap Frog Fridge Phonics

A fun way for kids to learn letters. I’m adding this to our birthday list!

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Ikea Lillabo Toy Vehicles

These toys combine cars with puzzle play. They spark the imagination through role-play and encourage creativity, because children can make their own combinations with the parts. Toys are solid wood so they are durable and long-lasting.

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Animal Sets

I’m so glad we stocked up on little animals when we did. My 2 year old plays with them almost on a daily basis. Lots of imaginative play happens with these little guys!

2 year old toy ideas
Melissa and Doug Cutting food

Two year olds love playing with pretend food. I don’t know why. I just go with it. My daughter has particularly loved this set of cutting food. The pieces are held together by velcro so when the child cuts it, it really feels like they are cutting food apart. My daughter serves us up various assortments of veggies, meats, fruits and more.

favorite toys for two year olds
Cozy Coupe

There is a reason the Cozy Coupe car has been around for over 30 years. Kid love it!

favorite two year old toys
Matchbox Cars

Not just for boys, people. Girls love them too.

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 11.53.57 AM
Little People barn, plane, ship, bus, tractor or train

Little hands love Little People. I don’t exactly know why but they love pretend playing with these little creatures. Especially when given an setting like the ones listed above.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 8.52.27 PM
Dump Trucks

Used for all sorts of different purposes, a dump truck can provide lots of entertainment. Give a little boy or girl the task or loading and dumping something and you’ll have an activity that’ll keep them busy for a long time!

favorite toys for 2 year olds
Busy Books

My Busy Book is an amusing storybook and inventive toy in one activity kit. Your child can explore the world of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with 12 toy figurines and a giant playmat. I had never heard of these but after looking into them a bit more, I think I am going to get some for an upcoming road trip we have.

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 11.54.54 AM

Mega Blocks Legos

Building towers out of these blocks is a regular activity for us around here. I like the Mega Blocks because they are big and easy to put together for little un-coordinated hands.
Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 11.57.13 AM
Wooden Blocks

Let the creative juices flow! Give a toddler some solid wood blocks and see what they can come up with!

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Foam Blocks

Another option for building blocks. Fun and colorful!

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 11.58.53 AM

Reusable Melissa and Doug Sticker Pad 

Visit a farm, a prehistoric landscape, a desert oasis, a jungle, or the deep blue sea, all in this interactive sticker book! The glossy, full-color backgrounds are ready to be filled with over 150 stickers.

best toys for 2 year olds

Melissa and Doug play dough toys

As mentioned above, kids love manipulating play dough in any way. I love this set that includes all the different wooden tools and textured blocks to experiment with.

toys for 2 year olds picked by moms

Bristle Blocks

A friend of ours has a set of these that my two year old instantly pulls out when we visit. Kids can be super creative as they find different ways to build and stack these blocks together.

my 2 year olds favorite toys

Magnetic Create-a-Scene

A fun activity for 2 year olds that can be used over and over again.

my favorite 2 year old toys

Do A Dot Markers

These are a favorite of many moms I know. They make it easy for a two year old to color with markers and not make a mess. They are easy for 2 year olds to hold and write with too.

two year old toys

 Wow. There is a lot of stuff listed above.

A few things to add:

  • Find these things at garage sales or Craig’s List. I think it is silly how much toy companies charge for these things when in reality, a kid will play with them for such a small amount of time. There is SO much quality used stuff out there that you could get and save SO much money.
  • Consider toy swapping with a friend. Toddlers love novelty so when something “new” shows up, it’ll be a hit. Instead of spending gobs of money on new toys, swap around with your friends. The best part about it is that when you get your toys back, your kid is interested in them again!
  • At the precious age of two, your child simply wants you to play WITH them. Even if you bought all of these toys and more, your child will eventually grow bored with them unless you are on the floor engaging with them as they play. As much as I would like to say your two year old will play for hours with these toys, they just probably won’t. At least mine won’t. Don’t depend on toys to entertain your children. They want YOU!


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3 replies
  1. Kavitha says:

    That’s a great list. Children learn fast and they are always trying to learn and explore everything around them. So the toys you buy for them should not be just about entertaining them mindlessly, but also stimulate their minds and help them in developing their skills.

  2. Veronica Mitchell says:

    True enough you also need to be there and participate with your kids when they want to play. My daughter loves playing musical toys and reading books. We both love the cutting fruits toys as we feel like we are chefs. It’s a great bonding to have with your kids. Cherish the moment cause time flies so fast. Thank you for this lists of toys. 🙂

  3. Beth Bishop says:

    Your ideas are right on. My children are grown, and I now have a granddaughter. One of the most played with gifts I ever gave my son and daughter was a kitchen set with a grocery cart and food and a tool bench with moveable parts. They played with these sets for years.