Don't be ashamed if the invitation to your niece's second birthday party fills you with dread. Buying an original gift for a toddler can be a daunting task. While the possibilities might seem endless, it can be challenging to balance something practical and meaningful with something that your niece actually enjoys -- especially since a 2-year-old won't be shy in publicly sharing how she feels about your gift. There are, however, many gifts that fulfill the 2-year-old's sense of wonder and budding independence while still being something that won't be tossed aside after a week.
Toddlers are just beginning to recognize the letters in their names. Have your niece's name embroidered on an apron, painted on a piggy bank or printed on a brightly colored cup. She will be delighted to discover her name in an unexpected place and proud to show off something that is all hers.
In addition to helping develop fine motor skills, creating art is a favorite pastime for 2-year-old children. Put together a craft bag for your niece with inexpensive art supplies purchased from the dollar store -- stickers, glitter glue, pom poms, colored paper, markers, pipe cleaners, crayons and watercolor paints.
For the 2-year-old niece who has it all, consider giving the gift of a special outing or day trip that you can enjoy together. A visit to the ice cream shop, local children's museum, county fair or circus are all age-appropriate activities that a 2-year-old is sure to love. Who knows? You might even create a birthday tradition.
Books make sentimental, meaningful gifts that are often treasured and passed down to the next generation. Consider purchasing a book for your niece that you enjoyed at her age, and write her a note inside the front cover letting her know why you chose this book for her. To make the gift even more special, read it with her whenever you visit.
Toddlers love the independence and challenge that come with learning to master the tricycle. One that is low to the ground with a wide base is important for safety and stability at this age. Some tricycles have a push handle so that Mom or Dad can help out on those hills.