There’s nothing like buying a present for a two-year-old – they’re no longer babies but aren’t yet big enough to enjoy the more complex toys their older siblings prefer. If you look hard enough, you can find plenty of engaging and interactive gift ideas that will keep your toddler engaged and stimulated.
STEM toys for 2 year olds: what to consider
In this age group, kids alternate between playing with others and playing by themselves. Your toddler is starting to speak in simple sentences and is exhibiting defiant behavior, which is why his favorite word is likely to be a loud, uncompromising “no.”
Younger toddlers lack self-control, but they make up for it with enthusiasm and determination.
Playtime can be filled with toys that challenge their developing skills, such as wooden blocks, simple puzzles, and even simple board games.
If you have a younger child who loves to play outside, there are many ways to introduce them to science and engineering concepts.
For example, you could build a model rocket or design a toy robot.
Experts on child development stress the fact that you need to engage with your child during play. Leaving your child alone with a great STEM toy is not going to produce the next Einstein.
It’s vital to manage your expectations and go with the flow as your child might move on to something else, leaving you scratching your head. That’s completely normal and part of their development.
Here are our top picks of the best STEM toys for 2 year olds:
Best building toys for 2 year olds
Building toys are one of the most popular gifts for young children. They provide hours of fun and learning while also helping develop fine motor skills. The best building toys can give a sense of accomplishment, help teach problem-solving skills, and encourage creativity.
Here is our list of some of the best building toys available for your 2 year old today:
LEGO Duplo bricks
LEGO DUPLO is a line of construction toys specifically geared toward younger children. It includes all the same elements you’d find in other LEGO sets but in smaller bricks that are easier to handle. Kids can use the bricks to build anything they can dream up, whether it’s a house, a car, or a robot. There are many different themes to choose from, including animals, vehicles, space, and much more.
Wooden train tracks
Wooden trains have been popular for decades, and now you can buy some great models at reasonable prices. This set includes three pieces of track, a locomotive, and a cab car. It’s an ideal starter set for young train enthusiasts because it comes with everything they need to build their own miniature railroad.
It encourages creativity and problem solving while teaching basic engineering concepts like balance, weight distribution, and traction. The set is small enough to go on a coffee table and large enough to entertain a child for hours while still being durable enough to withstand rough play.
Mega Bloks are made out of strong yet lightweight plastic, and some of their sets are designed for children ages 1 and up.
Several models include vehicles, buildings, animals, and other fun items. The First Builders toys offer hands-on, imaginative play that is perfect for young children who need practice with fine motor skills as well as learning colors, numbers, and shapes in preparation for preschool.
Play-Doh Modeling Compound
This compound contains modeling clay that allows children to create anything from dinosaurs to robots. The compound is safe for use on any surface and is non-toxic, meaning it won’t leave behind harmful residue when washed off. Kids will enjoy dreaming up unique creations with this compound, making it a great choice for creative play.
The Play-Doh is also compatible with all kinds of art supplies, including paint, pencils, markers, and more.
Magnetic Building Sets
Sets of building blocks are a great way to get kids interested in construction before they start school. These kits usually include various building materials, such as wood blocks, plastic bricks, and metal sheets. The pieces snap together easily, making it easy for little hands to do the work. Kids can use the set to create whatever structures they can imagine, whether it’s a house, a car, or a rocket ship.
Best puzzles for 2 year olds
Puzzles help develop logic, spatial awareness, memory, pattern recognition, and problem-solving skills. They’re also a lot of fun! Puzzles come in all sizes, shapes, and themes, and kids can choose from traditional wooden puzzle boards, cardboard boxes, magnetic puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, and even electronic puzzles. Some puzzles are meant for adults, but many are designed specifically for toddlers and older children. Here are our favorite puzzles for 2 year olds:
Fisher Price Little People Puzzle
Thanks to their bright colors and simple designs, little People Puzzles are a favorite among toddlers and preschoolers.
These puzzles encourage kids to explore and discover new things by putting together colorful characters. They’re also easy to clean up after playtime, and they come with storage trays, so you don’t have to worry about losing pieces. With over 100 different puzzles, you’ll be sure to find one that appeals to your child.
Fisher Price Shape Sorter
Shape sorting games help develop early math skills and hand-eye coordination. Kids can sort shapes into groups based on size, color, or shape. Toddlers love these puzzles because they require minimal adult supervision and are easy to put away once playtime ends.
Each puzzle features brightly colored pieces that are easy to hold onto, so kids will never lose their place.
Magnetic Blocks Puzzle Set
Magnetic blocks are another classic toy that has stood the test of time. Children love them because they’re easy to manipulate and assemble, making them a great option for toddlers who are just learning how to interact with objects. Their bright colors make these puzzles appealing to both boys and girls. Kids can stack the blocks however they want, creating endless possibilities for imaginative play.
Wooden Block Puzzles
These puzzles are a great way to introduce toddlers to the world of building. Wooden block puzzles feature a variety of shapes and textures, allowing kids to build towers, houses, and more. Most puzzles come with detailed instructions, so there’s no guesswork involved. Depending on what works best for your family, you can store the blocks in a box or keep them in a basket.
Jumbo Colorful Puzzles
Jumbo puzzles are larger than most traditional puzzles, making them a great fit for toddlers. This type of puzzle encourages kids to think creatively as they try to arrange the colorful shapes into an aesthetically pleasing design. Kids can move around the board until they’ve found the perfect arrangement, then add some finishing touches like stickers and glitter glue.
Matching Egg Set
This set includes 12 wooden eggs, each featuring a different animal face. The animals are arranged in two rows, making it easier for young kids to match pairs of animals. It’s also a good idea to include a few extra eggs if a toddler gets bored with their current collection.
Best board games for 2 year olds
At two years old, your little one is ready for a wide range of board games. Playing board games can help teach your kid social skills while simultaneously having fun. There are plenty of options available, including card games, word games, dice games, and strategy games. Here are our favorites:
Ladybug’s Garden Memory Game
Your toddler will enjoy this memory game because they can learn numbers and letters at the same time. Your child will need to remember where all the ladybugs are located on the garden path. Once your child finds the ladybugs, they will be able to read the corresponding number or letter.
Think Fun Roll and Play Game for Toddlers
The roll and play game from ThinkFun is designed specifically for children ages 18 months to three years. Your child will have lots of fun playing this game because it requires them to use logic and problem-solving skills. Children will learn about cause and effect by rolling a die and seeing if the outcome matches the picture on the game board.
Lydaz Wooden Montessori Toys
Montessori toys are meant to help children explore their environment through hands-on activities. These toys are made of wood, meaning they’re sturdy enough to withstand rough play. Some of these toys are even educational, teaching kids about colors, shapes, and numbers.