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Great List of Two Year Old Toys & Gifts

2013 January 3
by Becky

Last year I posted a list of “First Year Baby Gear” with all the products we loved during Ethan’s first year. I’ve had countless people tell me it was so helpful to them for baby registries, gifts, and just information gathering, things I’m just thrilled to hear. That was my goal!

So, for year two, I thought I’d focus more on fun stuff…toys, games, and activities, that Ethan was most drawn to. I’m including some of the gifts we gave him or friends/family gave him for his birthday and Christmas too, he’s been playing non-stop since Christmas morning so we clearly hit some home runs in the gift department.

No big-ticket items here, everything on this list is reasonably priced, so hopefully it will be helpful for gift giving to a 1-2 year old near you!

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1. Brio/Thomas/Melissa & Doug/Ikea Train Tracks
I posted our DIY Train Table last week, so it’s pretty clear Ethan is a train man. Tracks are available in lots of brands and places, most very compatible with each other. If you are starting from scratch I’d check craigslist and Ebay first…these tracks are pretty hard to destroy and used one will be much cheaper. I think 1-2 year olds are too young to design their own tracks, so securing them to a table or board is a good idea.

2. Fire, Dump, or any kind of truck
No matter the brand, toddlers (boys AND girls) LOVE trucks. Ethan’s new fire truck makes noises and the ladder extends. Awesome! And his dump truck totes Mega Blocks around the house. We’ve got a car transporter, tractors, pull-back cars, school buses, and even a prehistoric jeep that pulls a dinosaur-filled egg. All good!

3. Thomas ANYTHING.
Ethan hasn’t even watched the show more than a handful of times, but he is totally into the little blue train and his buddies. He carries his Thomas everywhere and even sleeps with him. What is it about this train??!

4. Jumbo Dinosaurs
These dinos are the perfect size and weight to be portable without feeling cheap. These dinosaurs frequent the train table and Ethan has a special bond with brontosaurus…it’s actually in bed with him as I write this.$23 makes them an awesome birthday gift!

5. Books. Any and All.
You can’t go wrong with books. Here are some we got recently Richard Scarry booksMole Had EverythingOne Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue FishThe Caboose Who Got LooseThomas the Tank Engine: Thomas Helps Out, my personal favorite Everyone Poops, and the list goes on. We LOOOOVE books and I could talk about about them all day. See some of our other favs here. Books with sounds are great for independent “reading.”

6. Rody Inflatable Hopping Horse
I saw one of these horses at a consignment store when Ethan was a little over one. I put Little Man on the inflated, wide eyed steed and watched his utter delight as he bounced and rocked. We left without it but I couldn’t stop thinking about how cute and compact the toy was, so I bought one online soon after. Ethan still goes for a ride every single day. I’ve given them as gifts too!

7. Melissa & Doug (Magnetic Farm Hide and Seek shown)
These wooden puzzles are always a crowd pleaser in the 1-3 ages. We have several of the “chunky” puzzles and Ethan got the “Hide & Seek” one for Christmas, it’s something different that he loves. I like to rotate puzzles in and out of storage to keep things fresh. Amazon is a great place to find M&D stuff but I always check HomeGoods too—great sales.

8. Hape Pop-Up Toaster
With a button that “pops” the toast up, honey to drizzle, and a cutable stick of butter with custom knife. At $19.99 it makes a great gift! It’s very sturdy and toddler proof while staying gender neutral.

9. Melissa & Doug Cutting Food
Ethan is having a BLAST with this stuff. He cuts, we velcro everything back together, he cuts it again. I had no idea how much he would love this gift. Made of all wood these are beautiful but still so well priced at $15.78.

10. Playskool Toy Story 3 Classic Mr. Potato Head
Yes I paid a little extra, $23.99, for the official Toy Story 3 version of this classic toy. Ethan is a Toy Story fanatic.

11. Stuffed Animals
This is one that, as of two months ago, I didn’t think would make the list. Though he has some really cute stuffed animals, Ethan has never really been too interested in them. That is, until our most recent trip to Ikea when he fell head-over-heels in love with a GIANT stuffed shark. It’s bigger than The Peanut. He carried it through the whole store and has slept with Sharkie (AKA Puffle) every night since. He’s also been more lovey to other stuffed animals we’ve had waiting on a shelf. It’s so cute!

12. Discovery Kids Constellation Projection Firefly
So far this item is a HUGE hit at our house. Every night Ethan “turns on his bug” and it projects stars on the ceiling and walls of his room. Best part? It turns off after 45 minutes. The Peanut has never used a nightlight before, but he is enjoying the heck out of this Firefly and hasn’t had any problems falling asleep. I think this will be my new go-to two year old gift.

13. LeapFrog Fridge Farm
Speaking of farms, this one has been in constant use since Ethan’s first birthday. It has five mix and match animals. When you press the buttons, songs play. It has been a source of dance music in our kitchen this whole last year and is a really really great gift.

14. Shoes
Shoes in kids sizes are pretty much the same price as adult sizes, so they can get quite expensive. And buying good quality footwear is important for keeping little feet comfy and safe, plus they are more durable. So getting a pair in a size or two bigger is always going to be welcome. We’ve received Toms, Jumping Jacks, Nikes, and even some fancy european brand I don’t know—all have been worn a hundred times by E-man. Crocs or Keens are also great brands for summer months. Not as “fun” as other toys listed here, but fun when they can be used to go outside and play.

15. Fisher-Price Little People Animal Sounds Farm
I bought this farm for Ethan when he was 15 months old and he’s played with it off and on since then. Lately he’s been more interested, so maybe two is a better age for things like this. I know doll houses are also popular around this age too. Anything that can open and close, makes nosies, and comes with little accessories will be a home run. Look for them used on craigslist too!

16. Eric Carle Animal Flash Cards
Ethan loves these beautiful cards and knows every animal except “Xolo”, which is a breed of dog but clearly was the only X animal available, so we just call it “dog”. Pictures on one side, letters on the other, these will be useful for a while. Since he was around 16 months we’ve gone through them a couple times a week to teach patience, colors, animals, and will be pushing the letters harder soon. He likes playing with them too… especially the elephant card which he just carries around. At $10 these are a great gift.

17. Name Train
I can’t believe I left this off my original list…it has been one of Ethan’s FAVORITE toys since he was about 15 months old. It was a gift from my friend for his first birthday, but he was a little too young to truly appreciate it. Now, after months of carrying it around the house, it lives on his train table. It’s not “inexpensive”, but is worth every penny as it makes a beautifully crafted, custom gift.

So that’s a pretty good list!

I’m sure I’ll think of more and add to this list in the next few weeks. Of course there are other things like iPads, iPhones, movies, LeapPads and such that are super popular for this age but my goal was to provide affordable gift-giving ideas.

I’ll be talking about a whole slew of kitchen-related toys when I post Ethan’s DIY Play Kitchen very soon, but I’m sure there are some general things I’ve left off this list. So what am I missing? Please let me know your 1-2 year old’s favorite toy!

3 Responses
  1. January 5, 2013

    Great list! I love that it’s not like an iPad for your two your old or some other $500 craziness! Henry really loved this toy that he got from Melissa and Doug (that I scored for cheap at a discount store!):

    And also a version of this (ours just had regular beads, not the shapes):

    Love how simple they are and how much enjoyment the kiddos get out of them…

    PS can’t wait to try Henry in a pair of toms – how freaking cute. I agree Keens and crocs are great summer shoes!
    Jen recently favorite Etsy shops of 2012My Profile

    • Becky permalink*
      January 5, 2013

      Thanks Jen! Great suggestions! Love Melissa and Doug. And Toms are the BEST but sometimes a tough fit so buy them somewhere like Nordstrom that has a great return policy…plus somehow they are always like $10 cheaper there!

  2. February 20, 2013

    Thanks for the suggestions! My kid loves animals and i think Eric Carle Animal Flash Cards are the perfect toys for them. Plus, they will be able to learn because it’s very educational. I also have these two year old gifts list for those who want more suggestions. :)
    jex2013 recently posted..Best New Board Games for Kids 2012 – 2013 updated Wed Jan 30 2013 2:24 pm ESTMy Profile

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