Developmentally appropriate gifts for 2 year olds

October 31, 2021

"Developmentally appropriate" is a fancy term that means an approach or tool that respects both the age and the individual needs of each child. Developmentally appropriate toys help nurture a child's social-emotional, physical, and cognitive development, while inspiring imagination and creativity.

We have lists of developmentally appropriate toys for infants and 1 year olds as well. The early childhood years are fluid, and build upon themselves. Any of the toys on either of the younger lists may still be appropriate and engaging to your 2-year-old as well.

Some top toys for 2-year-olds are:

  • Activity and art supplies make great gifts because they are consumable and don’t result in more clutter in the house. They also promote creative thinking and motor skill development. Grab any of the materials on our art and loose part supply list. Or unique pick up some unique activity bookscoloring books, or resuseable sticker activities.
  • Play sets, such as doll houses, castles, or farms, promote oral language and imagination. They are open ended and don't have one "right" way to play which usually means kids are more interested in playing with them for longer.
  • Real life role play materials, such as a play kitchen, play food, or a cash register, promote oral language skills, while also building life skills. Research has also shown that role playing can help children process social and emotional experiences in their lives.
  • Magnetic tiles will have kids using their imaginations, building their motor skills, understanding magnetism and exploring colors and color mixing. We regularly share magnetic tile activity ideas on our instagram stories.
  • Open ended themed toys, such as dolls, cars, or toy animals, all encourage creativity and oral language development.
  • Musical instruments, such as rhythm instruments, xylophones, maracas, and tambourines, all help build motor skills and early numeracy (because rhythms are a pattern).
  • Gross motor toys that help children develop their larger muscles. Such as large and small balls for kicking, throwing and catching. Ride-on toys such as balance bikes, tricycles, and scooters. More adventurous toys like tunnels and climbers, such as pikler triangles, are also a hit.

Remember your only job as a caregiver is to provide your child with materials and the time to explore. They will take it from there and get learning. These toys will empower them to do just that.

and if you would like some creative ideas for how to get them playing and learning with their toys, join Earlybird.

Happy playing!

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