With so many toys and gifts to choose from when birthdays or Christmas time roll around, it can be tempting to just pick the cheapest or most popular options and call it good. But if you’re going to spend the money to fill your house with more things, you’d better be sure they’re the right things.
Toddlers are particularly easy to shop for, as they think everything is a toy–even the box that the gift came in. But they’re at a critical developmental stage, a time when the toys they play with can shape what they know and how they learn it.
That’s why we’ve broken down our list of gifts for 2-year-old girls into four categories: creative, active/outdoor, STEM/learning, and imaginative play. Ideally, you want to pick at least one toy from each category to provide a well-rounded learning and play experience.
Our Favorite Toys and Gifts for 2-Year-Old Girls
Creative Toy: Green Toys Build-a-Bouquet Stacking Set
Active/Outdoor Toy: Little Tikes Red/Blue First Slide
STEM/Learning Toy: VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe
Imaginative Play Toy: Fisher-Price Little People Surprise & Sounds Home
Play22 Keyboard Playmat
To answer your first question, no, this giant piano mat does not include an adorable 80s-era Tom Hanks. Sorry. It does, however, come with 24 touch-sensitive keys that can sound like eight different instruments–piano, banjo, clarinet, guitar, saxophone, trumpet, violin, and xylophone.
This sturdy vinyl mat also works on any kind of flooring, and while it stretches out to 71″, it can fold up for easy storage. It takes four AA batteries, so there’s no cord to trip over. It also has volume control and an automatic power off function.
Your child will have a blast making beautiful music with either her feet or her hands, and you can join in on the fun! As with a real piano, you can play more than one note at a time to create beautiful harmonies. Best of all, this oversized piano has four settings: play, record, playback, and demo. Your child will love hearing her musical creations played back to her!
Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Reusable Activity Pads
When my daughter was two, she received a set of these activity pads as a gift. She didn’t put them down for an hour or more, and I got to make dinner in peace that night. Needless to say, we were both hooked after that.
Each Water Wow! book is a spiral-bound collection of black-and-white drawings that come to colorful life when they get wet. There are even hidden images that appear! Each book comes with its own refillable water pen, so there’s no need to fill up a bowl of water and risk spilling it. And best of all, the color fades once the pages dry, making them ready to be colored again and again.
There are several different themes and designs available, but this particular set of three books has letters, numbers, and animals to help your child learn as she plays. If you ever need your kid to be quiet for awhile–on an airplane, in a waiting room, or at church, for example–these small, lightweight books fit the bill.
SMART WALLABY Musical Instruments Set
The only thing toddlers love more than dancing to music is making their own, and this set of 15 instruments will definitely keep yours entertained for awhile. It includes a xylophone, shaker eggs, sleigh bells, castanets, a tambourine, claves, a triangle, maracas, and wrist bells for a variety of sounds and types of movement.
Your 2-year-old will work on her motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and rhythm without even realizing it! And with so many instruments to play, family and friends can join in on the fun, teaching your child about socialization and group play in the process.
The instruments all fit together in a portable storage bag for your convenience. And best of all, the set includes a free e-book filled with 10 musical activities and note sheets to get you started.
ALEX Toys Rub a Dub for Tub Fashion
I’m always looking for unique bath toys beyond the common boats, fish, and squirting duckies, and this fun toy is perfect! It’s a collection of 33 soft foam cutouts that stick to the tile walls of your bathtub when wet. They can also float.
Your child can use her creativity and wonderful toddler fashion sense to dress up the two foam dolls with ten shirts, five bottoms, three skirts, a coat, two pairs of shoes, two swimsuits, and three accessories–a teddy bear, a bag, and a pet dog. She can also give the dolls five different hairdos!
The set also comes with a drying bag that sticks to the shower wall for easy, out-of-the-way storage.
Green Toys Build-a-Bouquet Stacking Set
Your child can be a florist with this sweet, beautiful “gardening” toy made from 100% recycled plastic. This 44-piece set includes four green flowerbed bases that can link together or stand alone,16 stem and leaf pieces, and 24 flower pieces in beautiful shades of purple, pink, and yellow.
Your 2-year-old can stack the daisies, lilies, and petunias on top of one or two (or more) stem pieces to create an instant whimsical garden–no water or sunshine required! As she does so, she’ll work on her fine motor skills and strengthen her hands and fingers.
And hey, if your child forgets to clean up and leaves this toy out around your house, at least it will look nice!
MAD MATTR WABA Fun Super-Soft Modelling Dough
Like many parents, I didn’t realize there were alternatives to Play-Doh. But there are! One great example is this soft modeling compound from MAD MATTR. It can do all that Play-Doh can, but it doesn’t dry out. In fact, it’s almost like a cross between Play-Doh and kinetic sand. It has the feel and softness of kinetic sand but will hold its molded shape until you take it apart, whereas kinetic sand will slowly lose its shape over time.
This mess-free dough sticks only to itself, is non-toxic, and comes in six colors: red, green, blue, purple, teal, and pink. As your child rolls, squishes, molds, and stretches it, she will strengthen her hands and fingers as well as improve her motor functioning. And she’ll have fun as she does it!
For more fun, check out the Ultimate Brick Maker, which allows your child to use the MAD MATTR dough to form stackable bricks and use them to build interesting constructions.
Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Bowling Friends Play Set
You know what’s a fun family activity? Bowling! You know what’s not fun? Packing your kids in the car, driving to the bowling center, renting smelly shoes, putting your fingers in the cesspool that is a bowling ball, and paying a lot for the experience. So why not bowl at home?
This bowling set from Melissa & Doug is as cute as it is fun. It features friendly animals that your child can viciously knock over with glee. And she won’t even need bumpers or one of those ball ramps to do it.
At just four inches in diameter, the ball is the perfect size for little hands to grasp. The animal pins are made of soft plastic that is light enough to knock over easily but heavy enough to not tip over when being set up. When you’re done playing, everything fits into a handy storage case with a handle for easy travel.
Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug ‘n Secure Swing
When you’re still too little to experience the speed and stomach-dropping up and down of a roller coaster, there’s something exhilarating about a simple swing.
This classic swing from Little Tikes is perfect for indoor or outdoor fun. Shoulder traps and a T bar are included for extra security, but they remove easily for those toddlers who don’t want to be restrained (so basically all of them). It can safely hold a child who weighs up to 50 pounds.
This swing comes with eye hooks to hang it from a swing set. It does not come with any anchors, but with a quick trip to Home Depot you can get the extra hardware you need to hang this swing pretty much anywhere–on a tree, a door frame, or even a pergola. If you can find a way to make it safe, go for it!
Fisher-Price Rock, Roll ‘n Ride Trike
Toddlers love feeling like big kids, and a bike is a decidedly big-kid toy. That’s why your 2-year-old will love this perfect first bike (technically trike) from Fisher-Price. With the ability to be used three different ways–as a rocker, a push toy, or a regular pedaled trike–it will serve your child’s needs no matter what her mood.
When she’s ready to try pedaling on her own, she’ll appreciate the wide seat and easily maneuvered handlebars. The trike is small, but the foot pedals are big, making it easier for first-time riders to push them down and around. The wheels are also big, providing the extra stability that young riders need to feel safe.
The seat can easily adjust to be closer to or further away from the handlebars to continue to fit your child as she grows. In fact, everything on this bike can be adjusted, and no tools are needed.
Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table
There’s almost nothing a toddler loves more than splashing water everywhere, making the water table a truly ingenious invention. And this version is one of the best! With its two-level design, this table can hold up to five gallons of water and is large enough for multiple kids to play at one time.
The highlight of this water table is definitely the rain effect that occurs as water is poured into the top tray and trickles down into the bottom tray. The set comes with one large bucket and two smaller cups for this purpose. It also comes with movable ramp pieces that create a waterfall when placed under the rain.
Three figure toys–two of which squirt–and a frog launcher allow your child to send animals flying into the water. A water wheel and a spinning gear set add to the possibilities. When your child is done making a splash, simply pull the drain plug for easy water removal. There’s also a storage hook on the side for the large water bucket, and the cups easily hang on the side of the table.
Radio Flyer My First Wagon
A little red wagon is such a classic kid’s toy; it will never go out of style. This particular one is just the right size for a toddler to pull on her own, and you’ll be surprised at how many uses she can find for it. At 15″ by 7.5″ inside, it’s perfect for carting around a few favorite stuffed animal friends.
The steel body and durable wheels of this wagon make it a great accessory for walks in the neighborhood or trips to the park. Your child can put her favorite outdoor toys in it or use it as a way to collect souvenirs like pine cones, rocks, dandelions, and all the other things toddlers find valuable.
Though this wagon is not strong enough for a child to ride in, it is hardy enough to withstand the typical abuse toddlers inflict on their toys.
Little Tikes Red/Blue First Slide
My 2-year-old would live at the park if I let him, but sometimes it’s just not feasible for us to get there. It’s times like this that I really wish I could afford one of those giant play sets (or that I had a large enough back yard for one). But since that’s not an option, a stand-alone kids’ slide is a great alternative.
This classic slide from Little Tikes is perfect for outdoor use and makes a great addition to a kiddie pool if you have one. At three feet long, this slide can hold up to 60 pounds, so your toddler will get years of use out of it.
During the colder winter months, you can wipe the slide down and bring it inside to use there. No need to let the cold stop the fun! But should you decide to put it away, the slide easily collapses for storing.
LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set
The kitchen is often the heart of the home, and parents of toddlers can attest to the fact that there is seldom a meal being prepared without a toddler underfoot. That’s why I love this magnetic learning toy, which can be placed on your fridge to keep toddlers distracted when you need to be working in the kitchen.
To use the bus-shaped magnetic tile reader, your child can simply place one of the 26 magnetic letter tiles into the slot located in the bus window. By pressing the letter once, she can hear the letter and the sound it makes. If she presses it twice, she’ll hear a word that begins with that letter as well as a sentence including that word in context. The orange musical note plays “The Alphabet Song” and “The Wheels on the Bus.”
The bus can be placed on any magnetic surface with all the letters around it, allowing your child to direct her own learning and select whichever letter she wants. As she gets older and understands more, she can also use the letters to spell out her name or basic words.
VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe
This interactive desk (with a stool!) is made specifically for toddlers and comes with five activity pages that slide into the top of the table. With the push of a few buttons, your child can learn about numbers and counting, fruits and colors, alphabet and letter sounds, the human body, and music making. The LED display at the top shows how to write letters and numbers as well as how to draw basic shapes.
The music player comes loaded with more than 20 songs. A toy phone talks to your child and reinforces number learning. The desk can also morph into a chalkboard easel with a clip at the top for holding art paper, and holes cut into the side in various shapes–square, triangle, hexagon, etc.–provide places to store chalk, pencils, markers, and other art supplies.
If you’re looking for even more learning fun, there are also several expansion packs you can buy, which teach a variety of subjects for children as old as five. You can even see how your child is doing in various subjects by pressing the Progress button.
The Learning Journey My First Match It Animal Puzzle
Puzzles are a great way to stimulate the brain and teach problem-solving skills as well as patience and perseverance. This particular set is a great first puzzle for toddlers, because each piece is designed so that the wrong pieces will never fit together.
In addition to honing your child’s fine motor skills and improving her ability to focus, this puzzle will build her confidence as she creates correct matches and is rewarded with the image of a cute animal. In the process, she will also learn more about animals and color matching.
Skoolzy Peg Board Set
This deceptively simple peg board set will actually help improve your child’s hand-eye coordination, visual perception, and fine motor functions. As she stacks the 30 colorful pegs in various ways, she can develop color recognition. She can also improve her counting, sorting, and patterning skills. As she gets older, she can use it to work on basic math.
The pegs are large, making them easy for small hands to work with, and they fit easily into the 8.5″ square foam board. Everything fits into a drawstring storage bag for easy clean-up and travel. In fact, this set is great for playing on an airplane!
This set provides a link to a downloadable activity guide with learning activities for toddlers and preschoolers alike.
LEGO DUPLO Princess Rapunzel´s Tower
DUPLOS are a great building block option for toddlers, as their larger size makes them easier for little hands to grasp. They build spatial awareness, which studies have found helps children with math and science when they’re older.
This is a good first DUPLO set because it’s small and there are only 37 pieces, so it builds more quickly and easily than larger building sets. When put together, the pieces create Rapunzel’s tower, complete with a door and window.
In addition to the building blocks, this set comes with Rapunzel and Maximus figures, a bed with a blanket, a hairbrush, two drawers, a chair, and Rapunzel’s painting of the floating lanterns. With all of these, your child will have a blast imagining and acting out her own versions of this princess story.
Learning Resources Super Sorting Pie
I love this company! They specialize in making toys whose specific purpose is learning, but they’re sneaky about it. The toys are so fun that kids don’t know they’re learning! Take this cute, colorful pie, for example. Measuring 8.75″ in diameter and looking for all the world like play food (which it can be used as), it actually teaches sorting and grouping skills.
The package contains the plastic pie tin, a removable five-section slice divider, seven fruits in five different colors, and a lattice crust cover to fit over the top. It also comes with double-sided sorting cards, which can be placed in the bottom of the pan (under the divider) to show different ways to sort the fruits. The fruits can be sorted by color, by fruit and color, by fruit, in groups of 1 to 5, and in groups of 6 to 10.
As your child sorts the fruits in these ways, she can work on shape and color recognition, counting, patterning, and basic math. Two large tweezers are included in the set so that kids can work together to move the fruits and improve their fine motor skills and hand strength in the process.
LeapFrog Shapes And Sharing Picnic Basket
Both of my kids have loved this cute little picnic basket from LeapFrog. Toddlers love picnics, and this basket allows them to have a pretend one whenever they want while also teaching them along the way.
With six food items, two plates, two oversized forks, and two cups, this picnic set is perfect for playdates. There’s also a little blanket for laying the food out on. Each plate has three indents cut in the shapes of a triangle, circle, and square. The foods fit into those spaces, creating a kind of puzzle for your child.
Like most toys nowadays, this one makes noise. To hear one of the 30+ songs (both instrumental and with words), fun sound effects, or instructions about shapes, colors, manners, and more, your child can lift the basket lid or push the butterfly button on the side.
Step2 Best Chef’s Toy Kitchen Playset
If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of time in the kitchen making food. (Seriously, why do children have to eat three meals a day?) And if your toddler is anything like mine, she likes to imitate everything you do. Thus, the toy kitchen. This version of a favorite child’s toy is simple and doesn’t take up too much room, but your child will have everything she needs to cook and serve a fantastic fake meal (and clean up afterwards, of course).
On the left are the oven and stove top, which has clicking knobs and produces lights and cooking sounds when used. On the right are a coffee maker and recycling bin. A miniature fridge can be found in the middle under the kitchen sink, and hooks can be found throughout to hang cups, cooking utensils, and more.
All of the doors open and close, and a pass-through window above the sink works great for playing restaurant. With 25 accessories–including pots, cooking and eating utensils, plates, cups, and condiments–all you need to add is some play food (See below!), and your child will be slaving away over a not-hot stove all day.
KidKraft Tasty Treats Play Food Set
So much of a toddler’s pretend play revolves around food. It’s kind of ironic, considering they won’t even touch the real stuff at dinner. But I digress.
I’ve seen many play food sets before, but this set of 115 pieces is the most expansive. In addition to including the important healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, it also includes several examples of the foods your children love to eat, like waffles, chips, pizza, hot dogs, spaghetti and meatballs, and an array of dessert options.
All of these are great for playing restaurant or cooking in a play kitchen, but this set takes it a step further by providing cereal boxes, canned foods, and milk cartons, which are perfect for playing grocery store. Most food sets on the market include one type of foods but not the other. And even better still, these items are made of plastic, not cardboard, so they won’t fall apart after 30 seconds of use! The plastic material for all of the items is high-quality, not the cheap, soft stuff that indents when you squeeze it.
Melissa & Doug Toy Shopping Cart
It’s a well-known fact that kids love pushing grocery carts. It’s also well-known that they crash into everything when they do, because they can’t see over the handlebars. Luckily, the geniuses at Melissa & Doug designed a child-size cart that looks just like the real thing, so your child can push that cart–at home or at the store, if you feel like bringing it–all over the place and not maim anyone or destroy anything.
Made of heavy-gauge steel and built to last, the cart also has front wheels that pivot 360 degrees for easy maneuvering. There’s even a folding seat in the front for your child’s favorite doll or stuffed animal.
Your child will love feeling like a grown-up as she fills her basket with play food for your family. She can even make a pretend scribbled list and fill the order or sort the foods by type.
Melissa & Doug Mine to Love 12-Inch Baby Doll
This 12-inch baby doll has a soft body that is good for cuddling. The vinyl head, arms, and legs look realistic and are easy to wipe clean. And unlike some of the baby doll option out there, it doesn’t have a creepy face!
The baby’s eyes close when she is laid down and open again when she is sat back up, allowing your child to pretend to rock her to sleep. She can also suck her thumb or the included pacifier, and her outfit and hat can be removed. With all the other doll-related accessories you can buy–strollers, bath tubs, carriers, bottles, and more–the possibilities for pretend play are endless.
Your child will love pretending to be a mommy as she cuddles and cares for her own little baby. As she does, she’ll learn responsibility and important social skills, such as caring for others and nurturing.
Fisher-Price Little People Surprise & Sounds Home
This interactive toy house is like a traditional doll house, only better. Nearly every appliance does something fun and interesting. The radio plays four different songs when pressed. The oven and refrigerator shine lights and say different phrases when the doors open. The toilet makes a flushing sound. And best of all, pressing the alarm clock literally flips the characters out of bed.
In all, there are more than 50 songs, sounds, and phrases throughout the house. The front door opens and closes, and the entire house can fold together to contain everything inside, with a handle at the top for easy transport. At the outside front of the house is a bluebird that, when slid back and forth between the two windows, either brings a kitten to one window or displays the weather on the other.
While the house comes with a mom, dad, and daughter, any Little People figures would work to create a larger family. After all, there are bunk beds in one of the rooms!
Monobeach Princess Tent
I’ll just come out and say it–I want this tent for myself. It’s just so pretty and magical! It could be a princess castle or fairy’s home or, heck, just a nice place for me to take a nap.
Although your toddler likely won’t be napping in this beautiful tent, she’ll find countless other uses for it in her imaginative play. At 55″ x 53″, it can comfortably fit two to three children at a time. It is made from high-quality materials, including polyester taffeta, which is durable and easy to clean. Your child can enjoy this hexagonally shaped tent inside or outside, and each side can have the taffeta screens pulled and tied back or left hanging down for more privacy.
One of the best things about this tent is that it includes a strand of 40 small, battery-operated LED star lights to add to the sense of magic. Assembly is easy, and it comes with a carry bag and three extra pole connectors.
Gifts Ideas for Other Ages
- Gifts and Toys for 1-Year-Old Boys
- Gifts and Toys for 2-Year-Old Boys
- Gifts and Toys for 4-Year-Old Girls
- Gift Ideas for 8-Year-Old Boys