Parents often talk with horror about the “terrible twos,” or the phase when a child grows out of their baby phase and into the toddling years. A child of this age likely isn’t in school or kindergarten yet, but they’re beginning to run around in the home and, challengingly, develop their own wants and opinions.
Obviously, a toddler might want something that they simply can’t have, and children of this age often haven’t developed sufficient reasoning skills to understand “No.” While this might be upsetting for a parent, it’s important to remember that this is a normal part of your child’s development.
However, the way you deal with it will have a serious impact on your child.
The toddler years have a reputation of being fraught with temper tantrums and a battle of wills between the parent and the child, and some parents struggle to cope.
While this might well be true, the “terrible twos” is also a fascinating and crucial time in your child’s development. Your child is learning about themselves and the world around them at an incredible rate, and your job as a parent is to guide them through it.
A child at this age is learning fast, and often they learn through play. To give your child the best start in life, your best bet is to choose the right toys. You want something educational, but at the same time, it needs to be fun. At this age, your child needs to be kept entertained, or else they won’t learn.
This is easier said than done. Children’s toys are a tremendously huge market, and as a parent, you’ll be bombarded with advertisements and recommendations for elaborate and sometimes expensive toys for your child.
You also need to consider your child’s personal preferences. Do they love reading or musical instruments? Do they love to draw, or would they prefer an interactive book?
Today, we’ll look at 7 of the best toys for a 2-year-old.
#1 Fisher-Price Classic See and Say
An old favorite, the See and Say is a classic educational toy that does exactly what it says on the box. You or your child can point the arrow to one of 12 animal images, pull the cord, and hear the Farmer name the animal and the sound it makes.
Remember, your toddler is learning everything from scratch. At the age of 2, a child should be beginning to develop vocabulary, but there’s a long way and a lot of learning to go. If your child’s vocabulary seems less advanced than you hoped, try not to worry too much. Toys like the See and Say can help encourage your child to repeat what they hear, as well as impressing word associations into their memory.
The See and Say is ideal for getting your 2-year-old familiar with basic animal sounds and names. It helps toddlers recognize pictures and mentally connect the pictures with the associated word. Aside from that, it’s fun, colorful, and popular. Babies and toddlers alike will love it.
#2 Melissa and Doug Double-sided Tabletop Easel
The tabletop easel is a good way to boost your child’s creativity. Recommended for 36 months and onward, this double-sided easel includes a dry-erase board, chalkboard, and paper roll, as well as chalk, a marker, and number and letter magnets. This gives a toddler plenty of ways to tap into their creativity and self-expression.
Most toddlers love to draw and doodle, and it’s often in the coming years that any artistic talent begins to develop. Even if your toddler isn’t a budding artist, the colors, textures, and possibilities in the Tabletop Easel are fun and good for a child’s development.
While the Tabletop Easel is designed for children upwards of 36 months, it’s important to properly supervise your child during playtime. Aside from safety, this gives a parent opportunity to play and bond with their toddler. You never know, a parent might enjoy drawing on the Tabletop Easel just as much as their child!
#3 Press Here board book
Every parent wants to encourage their child to start reading but to properly motivate a 2-year-old, you need something exciting and colorful. Even books designed for children may not captivate your toddler.
The Press Here board book by Herve Tullet is an interactive picture book, encouraging children to turn the page to see what’s coming next.
It’s ideal for a parent and child to read together. Each page contains instructions: press here, tilt the book, shake it up, and so on, then you turn the page to see what happens next.
Prompting a toddler to open a book isn’t always easy, but an exciting, interactive picture book can pique an interest in reading that will last a lifetime.
#4 Grimm’s Mosaic Square Blocks
Sometimes the toys children love the most are also the simplest ones. Building blocks are an old favorite. Grimm’s Mosaic Square Blocks are simple but versatile, allowing for creativity and hours of fun. They’re brightly colored, which can be the most attractive feature in a toy to a toddler.
A 2-year-old is also developing their fine motor skills, and using building blocks can be very helpful. You can find a huge variety of building blocks online.
Toys such as colorful building blocks are also great for building spatial awareness in very young children. These particular blocks are made from smooth wood instead of plastic that can potentially break and form sharp edges.
#5 Janod Xylophone Roller Toy
Now, who among us didn’t have a xylophone toy as a child? The Janod Xylophone Roller toy has everything a toddler would want: color, roller wheels, and of course, noise. Sounds are just as important in your child’s development as color, and it’s a great idea to include some kind of musical toy in their toybox.
An interest in music starts very young, with some parents even playing music to their baby while in the womb. Musical toys like xylophones, drum kits, or toy keyboards designed for toddlers can help stimulate interest in creating and listening to music.
Aside from that, your toddlers will likely love them.
#6 All Seasons’ Kids Wooden Dollhouse
A dollhouse is another fantastically educational toy for children aged 36 months and upwards. Almost a blank canvas, a dollhouse is the perfect thing to get your child’s imagination going. The sky is the limit.
However, it’s important to be careful when buying dollhouses for your children. They can sometimes come with small parts, sharp edges, or other issues that might cause harm to your children. The All Seasons’ Kids Dollhouse is designed for children aged 3 and up and has many safety features, including a child-safe paint finish.
One very handy feature of a dollhouse is that it’s designed to be shared. Of course, your child can have hours of fun playing with a dollhouse by themselves, but unlike some other “one player at a time” toys, a dollhouse can be played with by several children at once.
Learning to share and play well with others is an important skill for a toddler to learn. A 1- or 2-year-old child hasn’t yet learned to play with other children – alongside, but not with – so a dollhouse can helpful as it’s an easy toy to share.
#7 Play-Doh Play and Store Table
Play-Doh is another old favorite. It’s particularly attractive to toddlers, who are often tactile and learn with their hands. It promotes creativity and imagination, and, of course, fun. The Play-Doh Play and Store Table is particularly handy for parents whose playroom is already overflowing with children’s toys.
It includes an arts and crafts table with built-in storage for the Play-Doh and its shapes and tools.
While Play-Doh is non-toxic, it’s important to carefully monitor your toddlers while they’re playing with the Play and Store table. It includes 8 cans of colored Play-Doh and over 25 various tools to cut and shape.
Reading: Give Your Child a Head Start
Choosing the right toys for your child isn’t easy. Each child is different – an interactive book or musical instrument that your first child loved might not interest your second child at all. As parents, it’s our job to adapt to a child’s individual needs and provide suitable care and education.
One particular cause for concern is a child’s reading ability. Every parent is eager for their child to learn to read as early as possible, although late reading skills may not necessarily be a cause for concern. Most parents read to their children and introduce fun and interactive children’s books in an attempt to spark their toddler’s interest in reading, but is there anything else a parent can do?
Teaching a child to read before they start school may not be the impossible task a parent might think. The “terrible twos” might be an age of temper tantrums and meltdowns, but it’s also the age when a child learns the most quickly. They absorb information at incredible rates and learn skills that might last their whole life through.
Choosing Age-Appropriate Toys
Your child is going to go through a lot of toys on their journey to adulthood. Of course, as a child gets older, they’ll no doubt tell you what kind of toys or entertainment they’d prefer. This is because an older child knows what they like and their own interests.
When it comes to a baby or toddler, a parent needs to choose for them. This can be overwhelming because of the vast amount of choice available.
Aside from choosing educational, fun toys, you might be concerned about safety and age-appropriate toys; a toy suitable for a child of about five may not be suitable for a toddler at all. How do you go about choosing the right toys?
The key is to understand the development and needs of a child at each major stage of their growth.
Newborn to Six Months
A newborn to 6-month-old will need toys that stimulate the senses; sight, touch, and sound. Soft, cuddly toys are popular, but make sure you choose toys that are particularly designed for newborns. Rattles and teething toys are also popular.
Six to Twelve Months
At this age, a baby is starting to move about and is trying their best to talk! A child of this age is all about action, pushing and pulling their toys, putting them in and out of containers. Musical and noisy toys are popular (although perhaps not so popular for the parents!), ideally ones that are interactive.
It’s important to supervise your baby well during this time. An inquisitive baby, eager to be up and about, can get into a lot of trouble in a worryingly short time.
One- to Three-Year-Olds
If you, as a parent, found the 6-month to one-year-old period challenging, you’ve seen nothing yet. Toddlers, or children aged between 1 and 3, are simply bursting with energy. They likely loved “action” toys in their last phase of development, and that’s something that will carry on into their toddling years.
These years are crucial to your toddler’s development. They’re interested in everything, and it’s important to help them learn as much as they can. During this time, your toddler will absorb information faster than at any other time in their later lives.
A toddler wants to create, so smaller toys (not too small, of course!) along with puzzles, drawing materials, clay, and so on are particularly educational for a toddler.
Toys for a toddler should be action-based, helping to promote fine motor skills, spatial awareness, imagination, and creativity. You might also include basic problem-solving toys, depending on your toddler’s development.
Building blocks, puzzles, musical toys, construction, and outdoor toys are all good for toddlers, and there’s a wide variety of these available, both online and in shops.
Once again, be sure to properly supervise your toddler during playtime. Children’s curiosity and confidence often outstrip their reasoning ability and physical skills, and issues can arise as a result. Toddlers aged 2 and upwards are often testing their own physical boundaries, jumping off things, rough and tumble, rolling around, and so on.
While this is normal, you need to keep an eye on your toddler to prevent them from being hurt. They love to explore and create, and often you can find perfectly suitable toys from around the home.
However, be careful. Your toddler might find their own “toys” which aren’t suitable at all. For example, some children get into their parent’s makeup bag and “draw” – either on the wall, a table, or their own bodies. This might initially seem funny, but remember that makeup can be harmful if ingested, or used by small children, to say nothing of possible choking hazards.
To Sum Up: Types of Toys for a 2-year-old
Problem-solving and building toys.
This includes puzzles, wooden blocks, things to sort out, and attach together. Basic construction toys are included in this.
These might include interactive and touchable books, ideally board books. They might have more detail than a book for younger children. Books for this age group are designed to be enjoyed alongside a parent.
This includes dolls, dollhouses, puppets, dress-up clothes, and furniture sets. Furniture sets are particularly popular; workshop sets, kitchen sets, and so on. You can easily find a “Set” that appeals to what your child is interested in. The aim of toys like this is to spark the imagination.
Action and outdoor toys.
Toddlers love outdoor playsets. They’re developing physically, so it’s a good idea to get toys that help them build their growing muscles. Toy balls, large and small, are usually fun for children of this age. It’s good for toddlers to be able to run around in the fresh air, but remember that they will need even more supervision when playing outside.
Choosing educational, fun toys that are appropriate to your child’s age group is not impossible. Playing with your child at this age will create wonderful memories for you, and more importantly, create a lifelong impression on your child.
Remember to watch your children closely during playtime, no matter how safe the toy may be. The “terrible twos” are an age when a child is finding out who they are. A baby mostly accepts whatever its parents give it, be it toys, food, or routine. A toddler is beginning to develop a personality and their own preferences.
This is why the toddler years can be challenging; suddenly, your toddler finds that the world does not revolve around them like it did when they were a baby. But the challenges won’t last, and neither will your child’s tantrums.
However, some children’s toys are extremely expensive. If you find that you can’t afford very expensive toys for your children, don’t be discouraged. There are always cheaper alternatives, and with a little research and creativity, you can make safe, suitable toys and playsets for your child yourself.
Remember, the most valuable thing you can give your child is your time, attention, and love.