Choose a playful gift for your toddler.

The Best Gifts for a 2-Year-Old

by Erica Loop

From the latest toddler-sized gizmos and gadgets to the newest pure, organic wooden educational toys, there is no lack of gifts for a 2-year-old. Whether you are buying your prefect princess her second year birthday present or stocking the Christmas tree with gifts galore, arm yourself with all the info that you can find on buying for your child.

Artsy Activities

When you think of the top gifts for little ones, dolls, trucks and the like typically comes to mind. While these are perfect presents in their own right, don't forget the more artistic of pursuits. Play into your toddler's love to get messy and give her a colorful set of finger paints, a rainbow of bright markers or mountains of modeling clay. If you are giving these types of art materials as a gift to a friend, add a special surprise and include an actual activity. Visit a website such as Scholastic Parents and print out a craft activity for kids under 2.

Imagination Creation

Spark your 2-year-old's already out-there imagination with a gift that encourages her creativity. While it's tempting to elaborate, some of the best gifts for toddlers are simple in design. A basic set of wooden faux foods, dress-up clothes and similar pretend play toys are easy (if not somewhat old-fashioned) presents that your toddler will use over and over again well into her preschool years.

Tech Toys

While simple toys that encourage your toddler's imagination and creativity make great gifts, sometimes your little techy needs a present with a plug (or at least a battery). According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, technology and media have the ability to help children learn. That said, there's nothing wrong with gifting your 2-year-old with an age appropriate tech toy. The best of these mini-electronics include interactive games that help to teach basic concepts. Look for toys that include buttons for your little learner to press, lights, sounds and letters or numbers.

Physical Toys

One of the hallmarks of the toddler years is constant motion. Channel your running, jumping, whirling, whooshing 2-year-old's energy into fun-filled activities with sports-related gifts. These presents provide little ones with the perfect opportunity to get their energy out in a positive way. While there are countless balls and rackets out there, not all sports equipment is meant for a 2-year-old. Instead of choosing something hard like a baseball, look for soft rubber or foam balls or pint-sized play sets such as plastic bowling pins.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images