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Gift Guide: Toys we have and Love for 2 and under

We recently updated this gift guide for 2 and under with new links, updated information and we hope you enjoy it. It was originally posted on November 18 2020.

Whether you are a parent or not, this gift guide will help you choose the perfect present for the two-year-old or younger in your life. We know it can be tough when there’s a sea of toys everywhere you go and endless toy commercials. But after years of parenting, I’m here to share some of the gifts that our children have, play with ad both us and our children enjoy.

Gift Guide for 2 and Under

You may be asking what the determining factors are for this list? It’s pretty simple actually. We decided that if our child actually picked up the toys, played with them or they were educational and we really enjoyed them, (bonus if it checks all the boxes) then we would include them on the list. We also didn’t want to overwhelm you either, so we kept only the best.

Gift Guide for 2 and Under

Toys have come a long way since I was a kid growing up in the ’90s, but to be fair we’ve also seen a resurgence of some of those old toys. We’ve also included some of those classic toys that you may remember.

Along with this list of gifts for 2-year olds and under we wanted to share some of the skills developed from playing with each toy, book, or puzzle. So you can be sure you are giving more than just a gift you are giving skills.

Okay, one more thing before I share them, I was also an early childhood educator before I started blogging and one of my favorite things to do was find toys and games to add to our classroom. Specifically, toys and games that are fun, educational, and encourage or strengthen developmental skills. This is why as a mother I’ve been very aware of which toys, books or gifts do well and which ones don’t.

Natural Wood Train Set

Who hasn’t had or at least played with a train set as a child? But the thing I really liked the most about this particular train set is the natural wood. We like to give children the best, non-toxic, green toys to play with. Not to mention the train set is great for social, emotional skills and fine motor skills.

Monkey Plush Toy

You can’t go wrong with stuffed animals, especially when it’s this cute Huggable Monkey. This plush toy is meant to comfort children, and I also love the wellness-filled (kid-safe pouch) that is filled with flax seeds, lavender flowers, and organic vanilla powder. Not to mention it’s paired with some really great kid-friendly essential oil that kids and parents will enjoy.

Lovevery Playmat

We use our Lovevery Playmat literally every single day. It is one of those gifts that keep on giving. It has tons of developmental tools for babies to play with but the best part is they love it! Lovevery has done so much research when it comes to their products and you really can’t go wrong. We actually keep ours in the living room, ready to use whenever baby wants to.

Kids Cleaning Set

Our daughter has literally played with this kid cleaning set for years. It was actually a gift a friend of ours gave her on her first birthday, and three years later she is still playing with it. In all honesty, Melissa & Doug make some of the best toys for children, and you really can’t go wrong with giving any of their products as gifts for 2-year olds or under. The kid’s cleaning set is a great way for children to learn social, emotional skills, and of course gross motor skills.

Lovevery Play Kits

We included the Lovevery Playmat but I also had to include the Lovevery Play Kits. It’s a genius idea created specifically for children’s development and play in mind. Each set includes a variety of fun activities specifically created to cater to the child’s age and development level. We LOVE that the activities are not only educational, fun but they are also so well made. It’s probably one of our favorite gifts to give and receive and we highly recommend them to everyone.

Baby Doll

I love buying gifts from small shops, which is one of the reasons I love Etsy so much. We came across this pretty little rag doll and I had to get it for our daughter. A simple toy like a baby doll has so many benefits when it comes to playing. Children learn about emotional wellbeing, they learn to communicate and be social. Not to mention the hand-eye coordination it take to play and hold the doll.

Little Big People Board Books

I am a fan of board books for children, and giving the gift of reading is everything. Sometimes it’s less about toys and more about finding the perfect book. We know kids love to have books read to them and it’s a great way to encourage reading, writing and literacy in the household. Which is another reason why I wanted to share one of our favorite series, Little Big People. This one is specifically about Harriet Tubman.

Balance Bike

The balance bike is a great gift for 2-year-olds. It encourages them to use their balance, strengthening muscles, and gross motor skills.

Walk or Ride Horse

The walk or ride horse is a Fisher Price product that our daughter genuinely loved. While our son isn’t old enough to try it yet, we know without a doubt he will also love it. It encourages children to be independent, to work on gross motor skills such as walking and holding. Plus it’s a great way to keep your toddler occupied with a toy they love.

Play Kitchen

This vintage play kitchen is similar to the one we bought our daughter for Christmas last year. It’s one of the bigger gifts we got her and we are so happy we did. She plays with it at least three times a week, if not more. I love that it encourages pretend play and gives her a chance to use her imagination. This is one the 2-year-old or younger will love for years to come.

Amazon Fire Tablet

This can be a little controversial, but more and more schools are using technology in their curriculums and as long as there are healthy boundaries around using the device I don’t see the harm. In fact, we’ve personally seen an increase in cognitive skills like reading, math, and plenty of others from simply playing education games. We wanted to link this as well since it is a new item to us but one we actually feel safe letting our daughter use. Unlike other tablets or Ipads, it has parental controls, built-in games, and limited access to the internet or videos. Unless a parent checks off on it first.

Baby Einstein

We are major fans of Baby Einstein toys, especially this table. It’s fun, interactive and colorful. It’s sure to keep the childs attention and teach them a thing of two about using their fine motor skills and problem solving. We know it’s also a toy that can grow with them for at least a year or two.

What to look for in gifts for 2 and under

We know there are tons of toys out there, and like we said it’s not always easy to choose one. Especially one that the child will love, the parents with love and is equally fun as it is educational. But we hope with this guide we can give you a better understanding of what to look for.

Toy Safety

My number one tip is to always make sure the toy is safe. Does it have small pieces that could fall off and a child could choke on it? or are there sharp edges? suffocating areas? Things like that we need to always be aware of.

Age Appropriate

Controversial but some toys are not meant for young kids, and we could get into details about some dolls and how they dress. Or we can even look at how complex the toy is, another question we need to ask ourselves is will the child be able to play with it? or will it be for older children?

The Quality

The reason I love Loververy so much is that the quality of each toy is amazing. It’s exactly how toys should be made. They are made with solid materials, and it’s a toy that will be able to be passed down. We want to avoid creating more waste if possible.

Educational

Now, contrary to what others say, not every toy has to be educational. Kids should be able to have fun without having the pressure of learning something, and sometimes that’s what they need the most is some fun.

Questions about Gifts for Kids

Are the Lovevery Play Kits really worth it?

In complete honesty, we are all obsessed with Lovevery. Especailly with their play kits, and we like them for a few reasons. They are great for developing skills for children, made for early childhood development in mind. I promise they are worth it and you can’t go wrong with this gift. You can purchase them: HERE.

What do you do with old toys?

We usually either save them, if we plan on having more children. It’s another reason we love buying quality toys that last. I don’t mind spending more money if it’s something that will actually last years. We also donate toys, or gift them to friends who are having kids that would be interested in playing with them. But one thing I do is always clean the toys before I give them away.

How do you store the toys? especially in the living room?

We are fans of swapping them out seasonally. It’s called toy rotation and we have noticed that the kids play with all the toys more. Not to mention most of the time they forget (and we do too) what we have and it’s like Chritmas when it’s time to be roated.

Check out our post on Organization in Kids Rooms for more information and ideas for sorting, storage and organization.

This is an article we also wrote about Nursery Organization that we still use.

Anyway, we hope this helped guide you to choosing the perfect gift for the child who is 2 and under in your life. We wanted to make it as easy as possible to find, and keep it updating as often as possible.

Find more gift guides in our Holiday section here.

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