What is a Good Toy for a 2 Year Old?

by SusanM

Answers and ideas about picking the best toys for a 2 year old.

Are you one of the many people that are not sure what toy to buy for your 2 year old?

It can be hard to pick a good toy for your 2 year old because it is very easy to pick one that is too baby-ish. It is also difficult not to pick a toy that is really meant for an older child.

2 Year Olds Need Special Toys

Your 2 year old need toys that are little kid versions of big kid toys. They also need toys that will match their development at this age.

So are some toys better for your 2 year old than others?


Not every toy that is a younger version of a big kids' toy is good for your 2 year old. These toy suggestions are all good toy choices because they match the development needs of 2 year old children.

Picture: Balls that are light, bounce easily and are easy to catch (so much bigger than tennis ball sized) are a good toy for your 2 year old.

Art supplies used by older children such as pencils and markers are not a good choice for your 2 year old. These are very hard for your 2 year old to draw with because their coordination is not as good as an older child's. Pencils also break easily while markers in the hands of your 2 year old can be a problem if they decide to draw murals on your wall.

Your 2 year old will also have problems using thin paintbrushes and crayons that older children play with. (Thin crayons also break very quickly when they are used by a 2 year old.) This means art supplies that are easy to hold are best for your child.

Art Essential: Thick Crayons

Thick crayons are essential for toddlers because:

1. They can grab and hold them easily.

2. They also won't break like thin crayons. 

You don't need to find crayon sets with lots of colors either because your 2 year old is just learning about color.

This means a box with the basic colors is perfect.

Fingerpaints are Best

Finger paints are also a good toy for your 2 year old because they can find out about things by how the paint feels between their fingers and how the colors mix together when they move their hands around. Finger paints are also the easiest for your 2 year old to use because you don't need to use a paintbrush. This means they don't have to have good co-ordination to paint with them. The same 'rule' about color works with paint as well. Your 2 year old only needs a few paint colors to play with, unlike an older child who needs many colors.

First Pretend Play Toys

2 year olds are just beginning to do pretend or make believe play. This is an important step in their development.

Pretend play helps teach your 2 year old about creativity. This is because pretend play encourages children to think about the world as being full of possibilities. Learning to imagine possibilities helps them to develop a type of thinking called “what if?” thinking. This is a type of thinking that is essential for later learning.

Pretend play also helps children's social and emotional development. This is because pretend play is often done with other children or adults. Pretend play is also helps them learn about people and the world. So when a 2 year old is pretending to be a Mommy they are not just playing they are learning about what mothers do.

When your 2 year old is pretending they also have control of an imaginary world. This can give them selves a feeling of control they don't have in real life. This imaginary feeling of control is a good thing even though a really having control at age 2 is not. Through this feeling of control young children can understand things that scare them and "undo" experiences that have been unpleasant by acting them out with happier endings. This part of pretend play is very important to a child's emotional development.

First Puzzles

Puzzles are wonderful for your 2 year old because they help develop thinking and problem solving skills. But the puzzles we automatically think of for children aren't good for your 2 year old.

Your 2 year old needs puzzles with just a few, easy pieces.

It's best to start with puzzles that have 3 or 4 pieces. Then when they are able to do these easily move on to ones with 5 to 6 pieces. Then 7 to 8 pieces.

Puzzles for your 2 year old also need to have knobs on the pieces or be "chunky" so they are easy to hold and fit into place in the puzzle.

Lego for Your 2 Year Old

When you think of Lego you probably think of the sets older children play with? But these aren’t a good choice for your 2 year old.

The pieces are too small so they are a choking hazard. They are also too small for your 2 year old to hold and click together because their coordination is still developing. This makes them very difficult for your 2 year old to play with.

There are special Lego-like sets made especially for younger children that are safe and easy for your child to play with. They are also a good learning toy because playing with blocks helps your child learn about math in a fun way.

When your child thinks about how many blocks they will need to make a house that is the length they want it teaches them about measurement. When your child has to use square blocks to finish what they are building instead of rectangular ones (because they have used all the rectangular ones already) they learn about adding things together. When they choose all the yellow blocks to make a yellow car they learn how to classify things. This makes them a good toy for your 2 year old as long as you pick one of the block sets for younger kids. 


Toys for Outdoor Play

Playing outside is a wonderful experience for children. Inside toys, like finger paints or pretend play toys, can be used outdoors but there are also good outdoor toys for your 2 year old.

Outdoor toys include things like sandpits and sandpit toys like buckets and spades. Water play is also fun but always watch your 2 year old around water even if it’s a toy made for 2 year olds.

Sand and water play are good for your child because they help kids find out about math. Young children also love the feel of playing with sand or water, which is relaxing for them and helps them to learn how different textures feel.

Ride on toys and sports toys designed for younger children are also a good toy for your 2 year old because they help children develop movements like balancing and how to coordinate their arms and legs.

More Help for Choosing Toddler Toys

Do you know how to choose the right jigsaw puzzle for a toddler?
Updated: 09/04/2012, SusanM
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