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27 Best Toys and Gifts for 2-Year-Olds in 2022

From first puzzles to kitchen tools, these toys help toddlers develop skills while having fun.

best toys for 2 year olds
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By the time your little one is 2 years old, they're most likely getting more excited about sorting colors and shapes and, above all, playing pretend. "This is a huge jump in their thinking skills!" says Rebecca Parlakian, M.A., E.D., a parenting expert from Zero to Three, an organization that focuses on kid development during the early years. "As they are discovering that they, themselves, are individuals with their own thoughts and feelings, they are also learning that others have their own thoughts and feelings too. Pretend play gives children a chance to take on these different perspectives. Usually the first pretend play parents see is 'playing house,' since it’s what children know best, but really children act out any familiar scenario — like when my daughter picked up a toy phone and said, 'Shhh, I have a conference call.'" Parlakian says that toys that encourage pretend play include toy kitchen items, dolls and strollers or vehicles with chunky figures that can fit inside. In addition, she suggests looking for toys that encourage problem-solving like wooden blocks, building toys and puzzles. Toys and games that support open-ended play and can be used multiple ways are good, too.

To help prepare kids for pre-school and beyond, the experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute test hundreds of toys for safety, functionality and fun factor. These parent- and kid-approved toys and gifts for 2-year-olds will help them develop new skills and spark some serious imagination. Some of our recommendations are even previous Good Housekeeping Toy Award winners! Don't forget to check out our recommendations for the best toys and gifts for kids filled with picks for everything from toys for toddlers to gifts for teens, including the best toys and gifts for 1-year-olds, 3-year-old girls and 3-year-old boys.

Theseare the best toys and gifts for 2-year-olds in 2021:

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Pinkfong Baby Shark Tablet
WowWee
WowWee
Now 12% off

Your toddler is probably obsessed with "Baby Shark," so this Good Housekeeping Award Winner will have them practicing their letters and numbers. During toy testing, kids loved that they could play the song over and over again. (Don't worry, it also has an adjustable volume button.) Ages 2+

RELATED: The Best STEM Toys for Kids

To Finesse Fine Motor Skills
Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog
Learning Resources
Learning Resources
Now 26% off

This cutie walked away with a Good Housekeeping Institute Toy Award because the 12 pegs were easy for little hands to grasp. Parents will love how every piece stores neatly away inside the hedgehog's body, making for easy storage (and on-the-go transportation). And if they become Spike fans, they can get even more toys, including a fidget toy, a sensory treehouse play set, a rainbow stacker and a puzzle. More Fine Motor Friends are in the offing, too. Ages 18 months+

Easy-Clean Finger Paint
Crayola
Crayola

Why didn't anyone think of this before? Crayola invented a method of finger-painting where the paint and paper stay inside a case. Kids still get to roll paint around with their fingers, but the mess stays contained. Genius! Ages 1+

Fun Counting Toy
DUPLO My First Number Train
LEGO
LEGO

In order to assemble this 23-piece train set correctly, your little one will also learn how to count from zero to nine. Once that challenge is accomplished, it can chug-chug-chug around the living room. For Duplo fans, there's also the My First Alphabet Truck. Ages 18 months+

Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart
LeapFrog

This full-service cart was a Good Housekeeping Toy Award winner in 2018, and we still think it's awesome. It comes with six different order cards and instructions, so your 2-year-old child can learn how to follow directions and boost their memory and sequencing skills. Plus, the cart can actually be pushed around so kids can play and move at the same time. Ages 2+

Best Toddler Puzzles
Wooden Peg Puzzles
Melissa & Doug
Melissa & Doug
Now 24% off

Kids will learn about matching, shapes and animals with these educational puzzles from Melissa & Doug. They're easy to grasp for little hands, so they help develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Plus, the picture quality is excellent. You get three different wood puzzles (pets, ocean and farm animals) that each have six pieces. Ages 2+

Best First Trike
Scoot About Sport Trike
Radio Flyer
Radio Flyer

Your toddlers can ride anywhere on this sporty scooter. It features wide-set front wheels that help with stability, while the handlebars help them steer. There's even a storage compartment under the seat. It holds up to 42 pounds, so they can ride around starting at age 1 and until they're about 3 years old. Ages 1+

Dressed to Nest Cloth Dolls
Constructive Playthings
Constructive Playthings
Now 12% off

Toddlers love nesting dolls, but they often have little pieces that can be choking hazards. This one comes with a set of five cloth dolls perfect for little ones. To get to each layer, kids have to undo zippers, buttons or bows, so it works on fine-motor skills, too. Ages 2+

Tool Set
Green Toys
Green Toys
Now 42% off

This 15-piece set is perfect for your little builder. It comes with screwdrivers, a hammer, a saw, a wrench, pliers and more, so they can imagine building their biggest projects. The set is also made from 100% recycled plastic for a lower overall environmental impact, and its dishwasher-safe just in case the tools get dirty. Ages 2+

Laugh & Learn Pull & Play Learning Wagon
Fisher-Price
Fisher-Price

Any toddler would love to get their hands on a pull-along wagon — and this Fisher-Price toy has multiple activity levels so it can stay with them as they grow! Whether your kid is working on the alphabet, shapes, counting or learning Spanish words, there's something new for your toddler to learn each time. Even though it's an educational toy, it'll keep them entertained for so long! Ages 6 months+

For Pretend Play
Ambulance & Doctor's Kit
Green Toys
Green Toys
Now 37% off

Your 2-year-old boys and girls will be ready for their next check-up after rounds of practicing with this doctor's kit, which comes with a stethoscope, reflex hammer, syringe, tweezers, thermometer and an ear scope, among others. When playtime is over, the set can be thrown in the dishwasher for easy cleaning, then stored in the ambulance. Plus, it claims to be made of 100% recycled plastic. Ages 2+

My Take Along Noah's Ark
Playmobil
Playmobil

Playmobil Take-Along Noah´s Ark As expected, you get two of every animal (including giraffes and zebras) in this Noah's Ark play set. Kids can act out any story using their imagination. When playtime is over, they all fit neatly into the inside of the boat, and the ark can actually float on water! Ages 18 months+

For Social-Emotional Learning
Learning Avocados
Learning Resources
Learning Resources
Now 31% off

This cute toy works on a bunch of skills at once. Toddlers can open them and pull them apart, working on their fine motor coordination. They can sort them by color, working on matching skills. And they can use the faces to work on social-emotional development. No toast needed! Ages 18 months+

Smart Sizzlin' BBQ Grill
LeapFrog
LeapFrog

Complete with skewers, plates and food, this interactive BBQ set lets kids pretend to grill just like Mom and Dad do in the summer! It can also help your 2-year-old get familiar with numbers — the temperature dial can be adjusted from one to 10, and the grill might even tell them to lower the heat if its too high. Ages 2+

Classic Baby Doll
My Little Girl Doll
Madame Alexander
Madame Alexander
Now 21% off

For the next step up in baby dolls, the Madame Alexander My Little Girl dolls have hair that can be styled, along with a molded face and huggable body. You can also get the doll with different hair colors, eye colors and skin tones. Ages 2+

Shape Factory
Fat Brain Toys
Fat Brain Toys

This toy takes shape-sorting to the next level. How do you fit 10 shapes into four slots? Press the plunger on top, which rotates the upper half of the base so that the slots themselves change shape. Now, toddlers have to match the right shape and construct the right hole. Ages 1+

Squishmallows
Kellytoy
Squishmallows

These soft and squishy friends can be anything from pillows to bedtime buddies — the insides are similar to memory foam, so it's fun to squeeze and re-squeeze. They also come in a host of animals and shapes, from Christmas trees to pineapples, if caticorns are not your child's preferred creature. Ages 1 month+

2021 Good Housekeeping Toy Award Winner
Create Your Potato Head Family
Hasbro
Mr Potato Head

Good Housekeeping testers loved combining and re-combining all the Potato Head pieces to make different families. The set comes with two big potato bodies and one small one, plus 45 pieces to switch up between them. It gets very silly very quickly! Ages 2+

Elsa’s Enchanted Lights Palace by Little People
Fisher-Price
Fisher-Price

Kids love toys that tie in with their favorite movies and characters, so this castle from Frozen will definitely keep them occupied for hours. It comes chunky with Elsa and Anna Little People figures dolls so they can act out their favorite scenes. The set has three floors, lights up, makes sounds and, of course, plays "Let It Go!" Ages 1+

Best Interactive Toddler Toy
Storytime Buddy
LeapFrog
LeapFrog

This cute pup is more than just a fuzzy pal. When your toddler presses one of the buttons on his collar, he'll read one of five different stories about his puppy pals. The buttons on his feet also do interactive things, like explore the ABCs or play music. Ages 2+

2021 Good Housekeeping Parenting Award Winner
Indoor Slide
WowWee
WowWee
Now 17% off

Make an at home playground on a budget with this indoor foldable slide. This 2021 Parenting Award winner is available in a rainbow or sunny print is made with strong cardboard that holds up to 50lbs. The best part—it won’t take up much space when not in use. Simply fold the slide flat when your child is done playing and it is thin enough to fit into super tight spaces. Ages 2+

Touch and Learn Nature ABC Board
Leapfrog
LeapFrog

Become one with nature with this Touch and Learn ABC Board. Each letter of the alphabet is paired with an image of the matching animal and sound so kids discover new creatures from Alligators to Zebras. The wood board also features fun interactive games, weather sounds and more! Ages 18 months+

STEM Toy
The Block Set
Lovevery
Lovevery

This isn’t your average wood block set. The 70-piece learning set promotes STEM learning as it is made with over 18 different bright colors and features over a dozen fun shapes, wheels, ramps, shape sorters and more. What makes it even better is you can turn this set into a storage car for easy containment of all the pieces. This way, your kiddos can get even more fun out of this multi-use toy and parents don’t have to worry about losing parts. Ages 18 months+

Bilingual Toy
Cat Family Color Names Puzzle
BeginAgain
BeginAgain

With its free-form design, this is more of a challenge than your typical toddler puzzle — but so much more satisfying when the colored pieces lock together. It's a great gift idea to improve your little one's fine motor and language skills, since one side is printed in English and the other is in Spanish. Plus, this bilingual toy for 2-year-olds does double duty — the wooden animals are also thick enough to act as stand-alone animals, perfect for pretend play. Ages 2+

Laugh & Learn Servin' Up Fun Food Truck
Fisher-Price
Laugh & Learn

This food truck encourages kids to play with each other — one can be the customer and the other can take orders! One side of the decked out food truck has everything you need for food prep (including a cash register, light-up grill and service bell), and the other is ready to drive around the house with a steering wheel and shifter. Ages 1+

Baby Shark's Big Show! EEL-ectric Guitar
WowWee
WowWee
Now 20% off

Now your kids can jam out to Baby Shark with their own instrument and join the band with this light up guitar. With features like play along and free-play your kids will have a blast making music. To top it off— it can even go from electric to acoustic or silly sounds to make it even more fun. This won't come out until November, but it's available for pre-order now. Ages 2+

2021 Good Housekeeping Toy Award Winner
RV Camper Set
Green Toys
Green Toys
Now 18% off

Get the camping experience without the large tent with this RV Camper. The set comes with a 3-in-1 vehicle which includes a pick-up truck, camper, and sports boat. It also comes with a few accessories like a picnic table and characters to add to the “outdoor” fun. We love that the brand relies on recycled plastic and the components are dishwasher safe. Ages 2+

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