The Best Developmental Toys for 2-Year-Olds

Great gift ideas for the terrific 2-year-old in your life.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.

July 02, 2020
By: Amanda Mushro

Photo By: Orbon Alija

Photo By: RuslanDashinsky

Photo By: yaoinlove

Photo By: Westend61

Photo By: Sydney Bourne

Photo By: Rawpixel

Help Your Tot Grow

Sometimes 2-year-olds get a pretty bad reputation. They’ve got big feelings that sometimes (or maybe a lot of the time) lead to tantrums and the dreaded “terrible twos.” But learning how to manage their emotions is just one of the amazing skills your 2-year old is working on. From moving and grooving, to more advanced imaginary play, and learning how to be a good friend, there’s a lot of growth involved. So, if you are looking for the perfect toy that will align with their development, here are a few of our favorites.

Gross Motor Skills

Your toddler’s muscles are developing, and they can show off some fancy new skills like climbing on furniture or up the steps, kicking a ball and catching it with two hands, and running short distances. Not only are they growing leaps and bounds but leaping and bounding too. When choosing toys for your 2-year-old, you’ll want to make sure they keep you’re your kiddo moving and engaged, trying new skills and hopefully burning off some of that endless energy.

Skip Hop Kids 3-in-1 Scooter

This fun toy lets your 2-year-old ride, scoot or push it along and even store a few of their toys. This toy will encourage motor skill development, balance and coordination during playtime, and grows with your toddler so they can play with it for years to come.

BUY IT: Amazon, $60

Green Toys Wagon

Let your toddler flex those muscles with this wagon that is perfect for indoor or outdoor play. The Green Toys Wagon is sturdy and durable, and, with chunky tires and a low-set bed, it is the perfect size for little ones to haul around their most prized possessions. Parents will love that it’s made in the USA from 100 percent recycled plastic, no BPA, phthalates or PVC and meets FDA food contact standards.

BUY IT: Amazon, $20

Fine Motor Skills

You may notice that your 2-year-old is putting those fine motor skills to the test by scribbling with crayons and markers, painting with their hands or paintbrushes, and stacking blocks. Watch as their tiny hands begin to practice zipping their clothes, stringing large beads and putting large puzzle pieces in their place. Choose toys that will help develop their pincer grasp and strengthen their hands and fingers.

Green Toys Sand Toys

What toddler doesn’t love digging in the sand or dirt? It’s great for sensory play and their fine motor development, too. The Green Toys Sand Play Set is made from 100 percent recycled plastic and is perfect for backyard or beach play. This 4-piece set comes with a bucket, shovel, rake and sandcastle mold, and is perfectly shaped for your 2-year-old.

BUY IT: Amazon, $23

Social and Emotional–Terrible Twos?

Your 2-year-old is becoming more independent and voicing their opinions. Even though their language is expanding, they don’t always have the words to express themselves. This frustration can often lead to tantrums. Your 2-year-old is testing boundaries and learning to tell you what they do and do not like. Choose toys that help them explore their emotions and feel more independent.

Melissa and Doug Twin Dolls

This is a great age to introduce dolls to your child. Not only are they working on their imaginative play and creativity, but dolls help children express and learn to share their emotions. These twin dolls have soft, huggable bodies, are easy to clean and are the perfect size for toddlers.

BUY IT: Amazon, $38

B. Toys Vet Pet

Encourage your toddler to care for animals with a play veterinarian set. Not only does it encourage empathy and kindness but also imaginative play as well. This 8-piece set is great for little ones because they can collect all the pieces and store them inside the clinic after playtime.

BUY IT: Amazon, $27

Cognitive Milestones

Your 2-year-old is always watching you and will mimic your actions. So, choose toys that help them practice more challenging pretend play and more that help them develop their language even further.

Step2 Play Kitchen

What kid doesn’t love pretend kitchens? It provides hours of fun as they engage in creative play and mimic cooking, cleaning and eating. This kitchen from Step2 comes with everything your little one needs to play, including food, pots, pans and dishes.

BUY IT: Amazon, $100

See and Say

This classic toy is still a favorite of toddlers and it’s easy to see why. There are several different See and Say options, but the idea is the same—pull the leaver, let the pointer spin, and hear the name and sounds of animals. This toy is a fun and educational game, and it helps children’s language development and fine motor skills.

BUY IT: Amazon, $15

Parallel Play

At this age, your 2-year-old will engage in parallel play with friends, meaning they play alongside them rather than play with them. Choosing toys that encourage play with others is a great way to help your child learn about playing with friends, taking turns and being kind.

My Very First Games - First Orchard

As a great introduction to board games for your 2-year-old, First Orchard is all about working as a team and cooperative play. This cooperative game is designed to foster social skills and develop color recognition and counting. To play, kids try to pick fruit from the trees before the raven reaches the end of the path. If the players succeed in harvesting all the fruit before the raven reaches the orchard, they win together!

BUY IT: Amazon, $30

Aqua Mat

This giant mat is perfect for a few toddlers to spread out and draw on together. What’s great about this toy is there is no mess. Kids use water to “paint” and, when it dries, their drawings disappear, and they get to start all over again. The Aqua Mat is great for parallel play with friends and fine motor skills

BUY IT: Amazon, $32

Shop This Look