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Congratulations! Your tot is turning two and you're now officially out of baby territory – but what do you buy for a toddler who has (almost) everything? Whether you're looking for a gift idea or simply curious about what benefits there are to certain toys, we've got the guide for you.
What are the best toys to buy two-year-old boys and girls?
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 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 toys 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 skills, 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 two-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 can invite them to get creative (and messy!)
Construction toys are great at this age, as are 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 train sets 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 storytelling 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 for the best toys and gifts for two-year-olds so you don’t have to.
Gold winner of the M&B Awards 2021 Best Toddler Toy
This fun matching game is simple and familiar, and toddlers love to match the farmyard animals with you.
Tested by mum Philippa for the 2021 M&B Awards: "My little one is entertained for a good length of time playing with this game and she matches the cards to the boards independently if there is nobody available to play with! I can see how, as she gets older and plays properly, this game will be great for encouraging turn-taking and sharing. It will also support with developing social skills in small groups of children. 4 boards is just the right amount I think - it means that players aren’t waiting too long for their turn again which is key for games for young children!"
Silver winner of the M&B Awards 2021 Best Toddler Toy
A fun dollhouse from LEGO DUPLO that will provide hours of entertainment, allowing for role-playing and imagination to run wild.
Tested by mum Emma for the M&B Awards 2021: "My little boy loves LEGO DUPLO and can be entertained for hours by building, deconstructing and then re-building again. It's also fun for an adult to get involved as there are different ways to build the house, so it's a chance to get creative. There's lots of potential to add to the house with other pieces over the months/years too."
Bronze winner of the M&B Awards 2021 Best Toddler Toy
Encouraging imagination, role-playing, learning the ABC, and building, this truck is loads of fun for developing toddlers.
Tested by mum Soniya for the M&B Awards 2021: "My toddler has really enjoyed playing with this toy. He is happy to play independently with it which allows me to get jobs done on my own. I am hoping with time he will make use of the alphabets on there as currently, he is only using it as a truck or as a motor activity with the blocks. I love that the toy is versatile and allows many different uses."
This won a 2020 Mother&Baby Bronze award for Best Toddler Toy
Make getting familiar with numbers fun with this colourful jigsaw puzzle which is a great learning resource. This will help boost your little one's number and counting skills as well as their ability to observe.
Tested by mum Sarah for the M&B Awards 2020: "I think this is a very good quality game and it has a lot of nice features (it stores well, has nice illustrations, has some educational value in assembling a puzzle and teaching counting, shapes, colours etc). I like that it’s made of cardboard and not plastic, and I think the company is a good one in that they will replace any missing parts for free."
This toy was shortlisted for the Mother&Baby 2020 Best Toddler Toy award.
Filled with colourful pages, different animals and bright objects, this book is great for boosting your 2-year-old's 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.
Tested by mum Eleanor for the M&B Awards 2020: "The Learning Friends 100 Words Book hasn't left our side since we received it. My two daughters 9 months and 3 years old love this book. It has kept them both entertained on many occasions. I have used the book when travelling in the car, cooking their tea, putting the washing on and many more tasks that were impossible to do without one of them getting upset."
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.
Tested by mum Katrina Irvine for the Mother&Baby Awards 2018: "I would recommend this to other mums, but I’d make sure they knew about the coins getting stuck in the back of the till beforehand! The till is nice and small, and fits in a bag if you want to carry it out and about. It’s easy enough to use for a child independently and is great fun to play together as well, and you can easily add their favourite food items from your kitchen. It’s also really good for their counting skills."
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.
Tested by mum Kelly for the M&B Awards 2018: "The cart sings as you push it, which my little one loves. It has a volume control which is nice for parents. The design is clever as the scoop recognises the flavour and will say the colour or the flavour. My two-year-old repeats some of the colours back, helping him learn. It has a lot of different features and the cards read out different challenges. They are too complex for my little one but it will continue to challenge him as he grows. It has two storage compartments meaning it can be packed away easily."
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.
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 withheld 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!"
Beautiful, richly coloured musical instrument gift set. It includes a Xylophone, Ocean Drum, Rattle Roller, Bells and Shaker Maraca in fun colours and suitable for 12 months and up. Your baby will be able to watch as the colourful beads cascade, creating fascinating sounds and wonderful visual effects that will delight young children.
Dad John said: "Bought this for my son for his 1st birthday - 6 months later he still plays with all the instruments in this set. Very well-built and robust, have to say this was a fantastic buy at a good price."
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.
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."
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.
Review: "Great little kitchen for my two year old baby girl. Keeps her busy at least for an hour each day and the excitement doesn't seem to become less. It took my husband four hours to put it together (instructions are great) but that's mainly down to the fact that there are lots of parts, pieces and joints. Once it's done you'll have a wonderful and pretty little play kitchen adding to your interior."
You’ll find yourself playing along with your child as they get the hang of turning these hand puppets into characters. Role-play together and help your little one develop important conversation skills.
Review: "These little puppets are perfect for little hands. We have others of bigger size I use to perform theatre for my son and he is so deligthed when I gave him the Zoo friends, so he can do the same as mum. They are easy to manage for a kid size hand, there are also light in weight and simple (their mouth do not move), so children know straight away how to use them. They are really cute and soft."
This fun piano mat with 25 sounds and 13 cards will stimulate your toddler's senses and get them learning about different colours and instruments. Anti-slip and made of a soft material, they'll enjoy playing and running up and down the mat.
Review: "Such a great item! It was delivered so quickly and came in really good quality packaging, it was inside a little zipped bag which is so handy for storing the mat in when it’s not in use. It’s so educational for little ones and suitable for children a range of ages. A great quality mat and keeps my little one entertained for ages! Colourful and helps my daughter learn different sounds and colours. Would definitely recommend!"
With 60 pieces to play with, your toddler will love using this multi-coloured bricks for hands-on play. They come with distinct shapes and are a good size which makes them great for little hands. Easily store away in the bag for an easy end-of-playtime clear up.
Review: "This is the first set of megabloks I've bought my toddler and he loved them! Building up then BASHING down, what's not to love? 60 pieces isn't a many as it sounds but it's amazing how far a 2 year old can spread them! I recommend these over legos for toddlers, they're chunky for little hands, and too big to choke on when they inevitably go in the mouth! They're easy to wipe down... I would recommend these to anyone with toddlers/younger children, especially if you also have a baby crawling around and don't want little pieces being choked on."
Your little one's imaginations are sure to flourish as they start exploring the Timber Tots Tree House. This nostalgic Treehouse is action-packed with two character figures who can jump in the lift to reach the upper level, play on the swing, head to the garage to wash the car or take a nap in the secret bush.
Review: "Great toy with lots of bits for their little imaginations. You get 2 figures with this although I bought a set of 6 figures separately for my 2 year old Grandaughter. Would recommend."
Encourage your little one to bring the farm to life. Complete with lights, music, sounds and Smart Stages learning content, they'll stay entertained for hours with the Discovery Buttons and songs.
Review: "I had debated over which farm to buy for my son for Christmas as with so many different ones it was an eek situation! Luckily I decided to go with this one and couldn't be happier! It is a fantastic size with plenty of space for the animals to live and play with there. The interactive buttons are brilliant so are the doors to open and close for the barn. The other button which makes the eggs go up and down is another nice touch. The bell that you can ring is perfect and not something that I had noticed when I ordered this. He is so happy with it and has finished this off in a great way.
This has already provided many hours of fun and will continue to do so. It is very, very sturdy - which is beyond important here - and has survived his rough treatment of it and has held up without any issues at all. Proper sturdy material - not the cheap looking and feeling material that so many toys seem to be made out of nowadays that are not built to last so this makes a much welcome change."
It brings six different puzzles in one brightly coloured tray. It helps develop matching skills, concentration and dexterity from an early age.
Review: "Got this for my twp year old granddaughter for Christmas, the blocks are very study, the puzzle pieces are very colourful and the pictures are on the bottom of the tray. The cubes are small but ideal for small hands, great value for money."
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.
Review: "This is a lovely puzzle. The pieces are large and sturdy. The picture is easy to pick out seperate creatures such as Fox or Snake to make a start building the jigsaw. I got it for my 2yr olds birthday, they were excited to see it and can make it independently (but still a challenge) after a week."
This sand and water table will be great fun for your toddler to enjoy in the garden, stimulating their senses whilst developing their creative skills through play. Fill one trough with sand, the other with water, and your child can use the ten toys provided to mould, rake, scoop and splash!
Review: "Bought this for my toddler aged 20 months and he loves playing with the sand and water table. Great fun and lots of useful accessories. Nice bright colours and the cover has car tracks in top, useful for when the sand and water table is packed up."
This Geometric Stacker wooden toy has 25 colourful wooden pieces of rings, octagons and rectangles for your tot to explore that can be matched and stacked on three rods. Helping to build early shape, colour, and size differentiation skills, the stacker can be enjoyed by baby alone or there are multiple games that can be played with a parent too.
Review: "This is my daughter's favourite toy! She has lots of wooden toys and some plastic toys. This is her favourite as she loves to pull the rings off. Since she could sit she loves to dismantle then crawl and play with the rings on the floor. The next stage is learning how to re-stack. My older children love to play with this toy with the baby too. Fun for all! The toy still looks new. The colours don't run, no chipping or flaking. The rings have been gnawed and thrown but looks perfect."
Your little one will love pushing their baby doll and other 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.
Review: "I love this buggy! My little ones love it and they even share it or one will push and the other one sits in it. They are 2 next month and we have this buggy for half an year already. It was the reason why my girl started to walk towards the park by herself, pushing the buggy doll instead of just sitting in her own buggy!"
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.
Review: "My 2 year old absolutely loves this. I supervised her whilst she played with this. When I got it out for the first time she got so excited as its something completely different for her. It helps her to learn colours and shapes too, its amazing how quickly she has picked up learning the shapes, colours she was already pretty good with but this just helps reinforce what she already knows."
This art station will encourage your toddler to let their their imagination and creativity go wild in the garden with this inflatable easel. The washable surface is easy to clean and will keep them colouring safely with no hard edges and non-toxic paint.
Review: "I gave this easel to my grandnephew as a birthday present for his second birthday. He loves it, and because the height is adjustable, he can already use it even though he’s only two. His mom is so pleased that he can now paint or make chalk drawings."
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.
Review: "Bought this ABC board after seeing it on a YouTube video featuring a Father and daughter going over her ABCs. I liked the chucky letter design and that my daughter would be able to feel the shape of the letters in her hand as well as by sight. The board has not disappointed! My daughter loves it and it has been a daily staple in her play."
A lovely green toy for a 2-year-old if you're eco-conscious, these vibrant crayons are made from 100% pure beeswax. The unique chunky shape of these crayons makes them easier for small hands to hold while being much harder for small hands to break. The sustainable process used to create the crayons causes minimal impact on the environment and gives the crayons a sweet honey scent.
Review: "Bought for small granddaughter, only nine months, and more into eating things than drawing but Mama and Grammy have had real fun, 'helping' her to draw and doodle. They are exactly the right size for small fingers and hands, they smell absolutely delicious and are exactly what the box says they are."
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 notice the feet are interactive too with numbers and songs sang by pressing those.
Review: "Lovely reading companion for a child that enjoys their books. Well made and speaks well."
This cute and soft giraffe-design rocking horse is a great quality toy for children aged over 18 months. Upgraded from your classic rocking horse, it includes a music features with 32 nursery rhymes which'll play when the horn is pressed.
Review: "Absolutely love this rocking chair. Very soft, colourful. Sturdy handles. Best of all, my daughter loves it. Great value for the money. Thank you."
These beautifully hand painted wooden food pieces will not only teach your toddler the main food groups for a balanced diet but will make great use for picnic, market or kitchen pretend-play. You get 21 pieces of food and 4 separate wooden crates to keep them in.
Review: "These are great for kitchen or picnic roleplay, I couldn't work out the difference between this and the more expensive one but this does the job. They are sturdy, not too small either, I have a 1 and 3 year old both still put everything in their mouths, so I'm rest assured these aren't to small for them to choke. They love playing with them and there is great detail in them so they can recognise the item."
This independent advice has been brought to you by Mother&Baby, the UKs #1 trusted pregnancy and parenting site. Our product recommendations are based on a combination of real-world testing from our huge team of mum testers, and the extensive knowledge of our experienced editorial team and product specialists. Learn more about our process.
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