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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 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 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 2-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 prtoperly, 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 ones 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 traveling 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 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!"
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 as sweet honey scent.
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.
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