Best Learning Toys for 2-Year-Olds
Just like their slightly younger peers, 2-year-olds continue to be extremely curious about the world. In addition to improved motor skills allowing them to walk, crawl, run, jump and climb, many children at this age are equipped with blossoming language skills. They can now begin to ask questions, listen to stories and follow some very simple instructions.
With a more sophisticated mind, 2-year-olds are ready to explore some basic academic skills such as colors and shapes, as well as learn simple words and phrases. Toys that entertain and engage them while teaching basic skills can be fun and educational.
Emotionally, toddlers are developing a sense of self and independence while still enjoying praise and encouragement from their parents. To support them, look for toys that allow them to master and show off new skills.
Toy Shopping Guide
- Active Play Toys: Two-year-olds are constantly on-the-move, so they enjoy pull toys they can tug behind them (bonus when they can give “rides” to their other toys!). As they become increasingly confident walkers, a whole new world of ball-based play patterns can emerge. Simple games that involve tossing or kicking a ball can provide hours of fun while building motor skills and coordination.
- Pretend Play Toys: Toddlers are learning words that will help them communicate about common experiences in their environment. Dolls or stuffed animals they can “talk” to as they go about their daily routines, or familiar objects like kitchen utensils, will help children incorporate these first words and phrases into their ever-growing vocabulary.
- Math Toys: Shape sorters, colored blocks and count-along toys further enhance a toddler’s vocabulary as they lay the foundation for important math concepts.
- Social Play Toys: While play can be largely solitary at this age, you might see toddlers making small gestures or attempts to socialize with others. Children might begin to “share” by offering toys or objects to another child. Toys such as tea sets or train sets that allow multiple kids to play in parallel in a small group but do not require coordination and communication amongst them can provide room for early social experiences. When your child is ready, these same toys become materials to help foster more sophisticated and coordinated play among peers.
- Creative Play Toys: As they grow, pretend play toys that inspire more elaborate scenarios can foster children’s budding imaginations. They may use a plastic stethoscope to listen to their teddy bear’s heartbeat, pull out the tea set to plan a party for their stuffed animals or write their aunts and uncles emails from their toy laptop. Creativity can bloom as children use crayons, stamps, and colored paper to design birthday cards for loved ones or pieces of art to adorn the refrigerator.
More on choosing toys & gifts for 2-year-olds:
As the children and media expert on the Learning Team, Clement primarily works on products related to social studies, creativity, life skills and early childhood development. Before joining LeapFrog, he was an early education consultant, a media literacy researcher at the MIT Comparative Media Studies department, a researcher at Children’s Hospital Boston, and a researcher and lecturer at the Tufts University Developmental Technologies Research Group. Clement earned his MA in Child Development at Tufts University and is currently completing his doctoral dissertation.
The Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket helps little learners explore shapes, colors, manners and more!
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