Baby’s first birthday party is more of a big deal for you than for her: it’s all about spending some time with your loved ones and allowing them to get to know your child, and watch her smoosh some cake. Gifts aren’t that big a deal to her either: she’ll enjoy her toys, but she’ll also be psyched just to play with the wrapping paper and the box.
Her second birthday is a whole different ballgame, though: your two-year-old is mobile, verbal, and, to a certain extent, social, although she hasn’t quite figured out how to play with other kids just yet. And while she may not be comfortable being the center of attention, she is going to be incredibly thrilled by her cool presents!
Speaking of which: as you may already know, all the best gifts for two year old kids can be found on our shelves and on our website! As the Babycentre article above notes, the best toys for toddlers at this age are those which “stimulate and fire the imagination,” and that’s our specialty.
If you come to a Magic Beans store, our expert toy whizzes can help you pinpoint the absolute perfect gift for every kid on your shopping list (and our amazing customer service staff can do the same via phone, email, or live chat), but in the meantime, this list of surefire kid-pleasers is a great start. Read this piece, order your faves, and watch the birthday girl’s face light up at her party!
Creative role-playing is a favorite activity at this age, so role-playing toys, dress-up clothes, play kitchens and play food, and of course dolls and plush are all going to be big hits with little kids!
Green Toys, the makers of eco-friendly playthings, have tons of toys that hit this sweet spot – I love the unusual, realistic design of their Salad Set and their Pizza Parlor Set, and they have a variety of play dish sets too. Or, how about a dump truck? It can haul and dump everything from dolls to blocks to (of course) sand, and it’s even available in pink!
Speaking of pink, Corolle has a dizzying variety of baby dolls and accessories to satisfy a little gal who loves pretending to be a mommy. The beautifully detailed and perfectly scaled Corolle Doll Stroller will thrill her to pieces. Or, get tomorrow’s genius pediatrician off to a good start with the Corolle Doctor Set!
For building coordination and creativity, there’s nothing like DUPLO: the classic chunky blocks are entrancing to toddlers, and DUPLO sets are available to suit her every whim, from princess play to playing with her food! The DUPLO All-in-One Gift Set provides an opportunity for more open-ended play, and the DUPLO Baby Zoo comes with lots of little critter friends  for pretend-play fun. (Bonus: it comes with a girl zookeeper in a plain khaki uniform, making this set awesome for families who are trying to fend off a giant pinksplosion in their home. Not that we don’t love pink, but it can get a little overwhelming, especially at this age!)
For even more open-ended play, wooden blocks of every kind will get her busy building, stacking, and sorting! Tegu Blocks, which are heirloom-quality wooden blocks with safely embedded magnets, keep little hands busy and will continue to intrigue her as her coordination improves, her knowledge becomes more sophisticated, and her creativity blooms. For an even more unusual and beautiful building challenge, the gorgeous Janod Kubix Geometrix blocks will do the trick. (Aren’t they pretty? I’d be pretty happy getting them for my birthday myself!)
At this age, your child won’t be ready to grip regular crayons, but she’ll love going to town with the vibrant Alex Toys Finger Crayons, which she can pop on the end of a finger, or just wrap her whole little fist around for scribbling fun. Bonus: they nest together for fun stacking!
Alex also has a bunch of craft activities specifically designed for the littlest artists: the Giant Busy Box lets her experiment with stickers, dough, puppets, tissue paper, and more, and the Alex Jr. Tots Art Gallery comes with a keepsake portfolio, so that you can keep her earliest masterpieces easily organized so you can look at them when she’s older (and perhaps shed a wistful tear or two at how fast the time goes by and how quickly little kids become big kids).
What time is it? It’s tricycle time! Her first trike will make a huge impression, since every kid loves getting a GIGANTIC present, and she’ll love the freedom of her first adventures on wheels. Kettler trikes are designed to grow with kids from the toddler years up through kindergarten, adapting to your child’s skills and size. Simply put: every kid needs one.
Another perennial favorite in the ride-on world is the oft-recommended Rody: this bouncy inflatable horsie provides plenty of bouncy fun, and encourages pretend-play with its sweet and whimsical design.
Finally: she’ll get a major kick out of her first Mini Kick Scooter! These cleverly designed three-wheelers are simple enough for a two-year-old to balance on, and you’ll be surprised how fast she picks up the ability to “surf the sidewalk”. It weighs only three pounds, so if she gets tired while scooting beside you and her younger sibling in the stroller, you can just hang it on your stroller handle.
Stackers, sorters, and puzzles
Finally, no collection of toddler toys would be complete without stackers, sorters, and your child’s first puzzles! Melissa & Doug make literally zillions (ok, maybe not literally zillions, but hundreds) of toddler puzzles and stacking toys; she’ll love making the acquaintance of the critters on the Wooden Animal Nest & Stack Blocks, and making a tower that’s as tall as she is, and listening to the wacky sounds of the animals on the Farm Sound Puzzle. The Noah’s Ark Shape Sorter cleverly puts together a variety of toddler play patterns – matching the animal shapes, matching the animal pairs, and creative pretend-play.
Janod also combines stacking and sorting with pretend-play with the Funny Magnetic Robot Figures, which are just plain cool (this is another Janod toy that’s so pretty that it’s irresistible at any age). Stacking ducks and colorful turtle shells will also keep little hands and minds busy!
And two-year-olds, who have just figured out what it means to possess an item, are absolutely obsessed with claiming that everything is “mine!” Which makes personalized toys extra special. A Personalized Name Stool from Hollow Woodworks will entrance her with the most interesting puzzle in the world: one that spells out her name!
Shopping for a two-year-old boy instead? Really, at this age, boys and girls like pretty much the same stuff, so the main difference is that our list of fantastic presents for a two-year-old boy has a bit less pink in it. Read more here!