Congratulations! Your tot is turning two and you are now officially out of baby territory – but what do you buy for a toddler who has (almost) everything?
What are the best toys to buy a two-year-old?
By two, you’ll probably notice your baby has become more assertive but is often torn between a want to do things independently and needing your help. Their language skills are improving, and they can definitely make their wants and needs to be known, speaking in simple sentences. They've also developed a little imagination, and can form images in their minds. You might want to invest in some educational or learning toys too, as these will help your tot develop confidence and dexterity.
According to child development expert, Dr Amanda Gummer from The Good Play Guide, toys are very beneficial to toddler development. 'Toys have two main functions for young children - Stimulating the child and encouraging them to play and explore their environment and develop skills such as fine motor control. concentration and communication. And also to make the adults around the child more playful and likely to engage positively with the young child thus further promoting healthy development and strengthening attachment.'
In terms of the best kind of toys to buy a 2-year-old, Dr Amanda thinks games that a toddler can play both individually and with other children are the best. 'Children move from playing alongside other children with minimal interaction to playing with them, either competing with them or collaborating with them. So play sets that they can play alone and with friends are great, as are simple board games and toys that increase children’s confidence with numbers and letters are good to introduce around this age.' Dr Amanda says.
The best toys to help your baby’s development and education at two years old will:
- Help improve their language skills, and encourage pretend play: Look out for dressing up clothes when shopping, as these can inspire a two-year-old’s creative play. It’s also a good time to buy art supplies for your baby and set up an area where you invite her to get creative (and messy!)
- Construction toys are great at this age, as puzzles: anything that asks your tot to match things, be that colours or shapes, together is a good thing. Think plastic keys opening doors, four-or-five piece puzzles, or trains and cars that can be linked.
- Mini-me toys: By two, you’ll notice your tot copying everything you do, so now is also a good time to introduce that toy kitchen set, washing machine and vacuum cleaner.
- Balance bikes and trikes: Your baby will also show more of an interest in ride-on toys now, so shop for a balance bike or trike.
'Toys promote social interactions that improve communication skills. Simple matching games can improve memory and puzzles help with concentration and perseverance. Imaginative play helps children develop story telling and problem solving skills.' Says Dr Amanda.
From our Mother&Baby playtime award winners – tested by tots all over the country - to other great buys, we’ve spent hours searching high and low so you don’t have to.
A fun matching activity that can be developed into different games as your tot grows, these cards feature 12 farm characters and objects for your little ones to match. The cards are wiped clean (perfect for messy hands) and big enough for your baby to recognise the animals.
This won Bronze in the 2017 M&B Awards Best Toddler Toy.
Tested by mum-of-three Melanie Hudson; she said: "I would recommend this game to a friend or family member as it is such a well-made card game. The card pieces were really thick and easy for my little one to pick up and witheld the slobber should she put them to her mouth. The design of the animals on the cards are very colourful and are quite big which made it easier for them to recognise the animals. This game was not just popular with my little one but with my older children too, who are 3 years and 6 years!"
Read more real mum reviews of the Orchard Toys Farmyard cards here.
Beautiful, richly coloured musical instrument gift set. It includes a Baby Xylophone, Ocean Drum, Rattle Roller and Rainbospinner. Your baby will be able to watch as the colourful beads cascade, creating fascinating sounds and wonderful visual effects that will delight young children.
This set was shortlisted in the 2017 M&B Awards Best Toddler Toy category.
Tested by mum Shelley McDonough; she said: "I would recommend this product because my daughter absolutely adores it! The design of each of the instruments is beautiful, they're extremely well made, like real little instruments for toddlers. They are bright and colourful and keep my daughter entertained for hours. The product even comes with songs that we have enjoyed learning to play together."
Read our full review here
Suitable from two years old, this scooter has been designed to grow with your tot. With two front wheels to make scooting easier, and an innovating steering system teaching your little one to balance, our mums loved how intuitive the scooting style was.
The Micro Mini Deluxe Scooter was Shortlisted in the 2017 Best Toddler Toy M&B Awards category.
Tested by mum Nina Fletcher; she said: "This is the best scooter we have tried. The adjustable handlebar is a great design feature as the scooter will grow with the child. The 'lean and steer' scooting style is intuitive. It is sturdy and feels safe with its three wheels so even very young children will learn quickly to scoot confidently."
Read our full review here
There are probably cheaper kids’ kitchens, but how cute is this for your little chef? Complete with a hob and oven, sink, microwave, fridge and telephone!
You’ll find yourself playing along with your kid as she/he gets the hang of turning these hand puppets into characters. Role-play together and help your little one develop important conversation skills.
Encourage your little one to bring the farm to life. This wooden farm is complete with 50 pieces!
It brings six different puzzles in one brightly coloured tray. It helps develop matching skills, concentration and dexterity from an early age.
Bring your tot’s favourite story to life with this 16-piece cardboard floor jigsaw puzzle. This bright colourful scene will teach your little one important problem-solving skills.
Your little one will love pushing their toys around in their buggy, and this inexpensive one does the job just fine! Getting away from the pink hues of so many doll products, this pushchair can be folded away for easy transportation.
If you haven’t introduced your tot to playdough yet, now is the time. Encourage her to get creative, whilst learning letters with these clever little cut outs.
Built with chunky DUPLO bricks designed for small hands, this is aimed to help your 24-month-old baby learn how to match pairs. Perfect for building the car and pushing it around.
Suitable for 2 years, this is a great way to encourage your tot to get creative. With one chalkboard and one whiteboard, this clever easel can be folded flat for easy storage.
A fun way to encourage your little one to learn the alphabet, this colourful puzzle teaches them to match letters and pictures. Helping develop hand eye coordination and problem-solving skills, this is a great buy.
Make learning numbers fun with this colourful jigsaw puzzle. This will help boost your little ones number and counting skills as well as their ability to observe.
This toy also won a 2020 Mother&Baby Bronze award - you can read the full review here.
Filled with colourful pages, different animals and bright objects, this book is great for boosting your 2-year-olds knowledge and language. As well as being able to touch different animals, they'll be able to hear different sounds to stimulate their senses, all while learning new and exciting facts.
This toy was shortlisted for a 2020 Mother&Baby award. Click here to read the full review.
There's nothing any 2-year-old loves more than playing shops with their very own till and pretending to be a supermarket cashier. This toy till is both fun and educational for little ones as it is designed to help them with their counting skills.
This toy was shortlisted for a 2018 Mother&Baby Award. Read the reviews here.
When your toddler presses one of the five buttons located on this fluffy puppy's collar, the dog will read a bedtime story all about his doggy pals. You'll also noticed the feet are interractive too with numbers and songs sang by pressing those.
This fun ice cream cart toy will help improve your toddler's memory, counting and creative abilities, as they have to remember the orders, put the ice creams together and make sure they get the ice cream to all the customers at the cart.
This toy won a 2018 Mother&Baby Bronze Award. Click here to read the full review.