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Your Essential Guide to Choosing Toys for 2-Year-Olds

Your toddler at two years old can be a mixed bag of rewards and challenges. Then again, there’s so much going on in toddler development that it’s no wonder emotions are running high! Expect some tantrums as a result of these big feelings as well as many exciting milestones, from developing self-awareness to an increased vocabulary and improved motor skills.

Choosing the right toys for two-year-olds can help them to reach these milestones and develop at a healthy pace. Remember - these milestones are only guidelines; if you have any concerns about your toddler’s development then discuss them with your family doctor.

Cognitive development

Cognitive development refers to your toddler’s development in terms of processing information, language learning, and general understanding and perception of the world around them. At two years old, your little one will be starting to grasp the concept of time and understand the meaning of “now” or “later”. Concepts such as “forever” or “in twenty minutes” will still be lost on them, so keep things simple when discussing time with your toddler.

Two-year-olds begin to comprehend simple requests but still have trouble with anything more complex. They may be able to “get the play dough from the table” but won’t be able to “go into your bedroom and fetch the socks”. Be direct with your instructions and use clear and specific commands, as well as giving them enough time to process what you’ve asked of them.

Studies have shown that bathtime is critical for a toddler’s cognitive development. Water is one of the best tools to help them explore their different senses, such as learning to distinguish between hot and cold, wet and dry. Water toys provide a unique playtime experience that supports experimental thinking by watching the objects sink and float back up again.

Becoming a little person

Around two years old, toddlers start to understand that they are individuals. They begin to demonstrate this through the use of self-referential language like “me” and “you”, as well as exhibiting self-conscious emotions like embarrassment and jealousy. This newfound individuality might feel overwhelming -- one minute they could be wriggling out of your arms, the next they’re crying out for a cuddle. It’s all part of the rollercoaster that comes with having a toddler!

Pretend play encourages your toddler to experiment with the social and emotional roles in life. They learn to consider other people’s perspectives and act out scenarios that they may not yet have experienced for themselves. This often takes the form of mimicking what they see at home and in their daily lives -- perhaps it’s dad baking a cake or doing the household chores, or imitating the doctor administering vaccinations. It’s all part of processing the world around them, and establishing their place in it. Le Toy Van has a great selection of pretend play toys to boost imagination and support this crucial method of learning.

Your toddler on the move

By two years old, your toddler should be experiencing the world around them more clearly. Their sight and hearing is sharp and they’re more alert than ever. Educational toys for two year olds can help them to develop problem-solving skills and improve their concentration. These toys might include building blocks and construction toys, like these toddler-appropriate building blocks by BiOBUDDi, which help to fine-tune motor skills and develop design skills, balance, and stability.

Their fine motor skills will be improving quickly, giving them the ability to hold crayons and draw pictures. SES Creative offers plenty of toys that encourage creativity, and it’s important to always have plenty of pens and crayons to help them discover their inner artist. Playing with toy vehicles builds a child’s fine motor skills and helps them to develop hand-eye coordination and dexterity as they pick up, throw, push and pull the small cars, planes, and trains.

Toddlers’ gross motor skills develop fast at this age too. They should start being able to stand on their tiptoes, kick and throw a ball, and climb on and off furniture without help. Balance bikes are among the best outdoor toys for 2 year olds. These training bicycles help toddlers to learn balance and steering. They have no foot pedals and are designed specifically to fit small children.

Young toddlers learn to push before they can pull, so support this next stage of development with pull-along toys like these from Kid’s Concept. They’re a great way to promote many aspects of development, including whole body coordination and fine motor strength.

Not sure where to start? Browse our full collection of toys for 2 year olds here.


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