The 35 Best Gifts for 2-Year-Olds

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Collage on yellow background of gifts for 2 year olds
Digital Art by Paula Boudes

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At one year of age, most tots are content to sit on a floor mat and knock around a bunch of multi-colored cups. But those days are decidedly over once they reach the two-year mark. We’re in the Toddler Zone™. Now, you have to consider a lot more than just choking-hazard avoidance when choosing a gift. After all, 2-year-olds are famously fickle, and because their verbal and emotional skills are developing so rapidly, they require more stimulation than they used to. They also have—*gasp*—opinions and preferences, which makes them scary customers.

Fear not, we considered over a hundred toddler-appropriate products from our own playrooms and research, as well as surveyed our extensive toddler-chasing networks to create this curated, 35-item list of gifts for 2-year-olds. So whether you’re shopping for someone else’s child or eager to find a toy that will keep your own offspring occupied for (at minimum, fingers crossed) 15 minutes, got you covered. From Washable Tempera Paint Sticks ($10) to a Woom Balance Bike ($249), check out our list specifically designed to take the guesswork out of toddler-pleasing.

How We Chose the Best Gifts for 2-Year-Olds

Two-year-olds have a reputation for big feelings, big outbursts and big opinions. They might just be more volatile than radioactive plutonium. So, in order to protect you from an explosive tantrum, we brought you the best toys, books, stuffies and more from our own lives—and excluded the things gathering dust in the attic. We also painstakingly pored over reviews of top sellers, taking into account quality, function, return policy and of course, age-appropriateness.

The Top 10 Best Gifts for 2-Year-Olds at a Glance


Best Ride-Along

Doona Liki Trike

read more


Best Barbie-Themed Gift

Barbie Convertible Pop-Up Tent

read more


Best for the Julliard-Bound

Loog Mini Acoustic Guitar

read more


Best for Quiet Play

Foam Building Blocks

read more


Best Time Eater

Play Sink with Running Water

read more

Show More

Where to Find the Best Gifts for 2-Year-Olds

Want endless options with easy returns? Big box e-commerce sites like Amazon, Walmart and Target are great spots to scour for gifts. For unique or personalized gifts, we love Uncommon Goods and Etsy. For access to customer service, sometimes it’s best to purchase directly from the independent brand, like Hanna Andersson or Woom. We also love shops that give back, like The Elephant Project, where certain purchases go directly to helping wildlife.

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Doona Liki Trike on white background

Best Ride-Along

1. Doona Liki Trike


  • What We Like: grows with your child, great quality, folds compactly
  • What We Don't Like: pricey, very little storage
  • Return Policy: free returns

If your almost 2-year-old is hitting all the milestones, then you’re probably in the midst of the “No stroller!” phase. And yet, unbeknownst to your toddler, getting from Point A to Point B (even if it’s just a block) on time and without injury is a mission doomed to fail. That’s why two PureWow editors have given the Liki Trike rave reviews. The genius design converts easily into four distinct modes—parent mode, push mode, tricycle mode and, finally, bike mode—that grow along with your kid. Lock the pedals in place as you steer (like a *cough-cough* stroller) while still giving your tot a sense of control. As your child grows, you can remove things in piecemeal to customize to their ability (and your comfort). I personally like that the Liki Trike’s sleek design rolls over big sidewalk cracks just like our heavy-duty stroller. I also love its canopy shade and how easy it is to fold up and tuck away. Most of all, I love that my 2-year-old asks me to get into the bike. So long, stroller!

gifts for 2 year olds barbie

Best Barbie-Themed Gift

2. Barbie Convertible Pop-Up Tent


  • What We Like: lightweight, low-tech, folds compactly, multi-use
  • What We Don't Like: takes up space when unfolded
  • Return Policy: free returns

It’s bright. It’s lightweight. And it’s kept my 2-year-old busy for big chunks of time that don’t involve a screen (yay!). While your kid may be eyeing those motorized Barbie cars vrooming down the sidewalk, you can save yourself the anxiety with this analogue, but just-as-fun (especially for a 2-year-old) version that stays put in the playroom. My daughter’s imagination lights up in this tent, inviting in all her stuffed animals for pretend dinners and diaper changes (she’s into diaper changes right now). Plus, it comes with a musical “key fob” that gives your toddler that real driving experience they’re craving sans being strapped in a car seat. As for me, her parent, I like that I can easily move the tent out of the way if need be, or even use it to hide toys (or, uh, laundry) away in a bind.

Children's Loog mini guitar in mint green.

Best for the Julliard-Bound

3. Loog Mini Acoustic Guitar


  • What We Like: thoughtful introduction to music, fun colors, long-term use
  • What We Don't Like: pricey, strap not included
  • Return Policy: free returns

Did Hazel Rose just clap along to that syncopated Cocomelon beat? You’ve got a musical prodigy on your hands. Invest in her future! Start with a Loog Mini Acoustic Guitar. Our daughter received one for her 1st birthday, and though she couldn’t figure out how to play it, she easily recognized what it was since we play acoustic guitar at home. Now that she’s 2, she’ll grab her lil’ instrument to strum along as Dada plays that one Beatles song over and over again. The guitar comes with flash cards to teach chords and there’s also access to free video lessons. While we’re still a bit too young to make use of those materials, it’s good to know that down the line we can add some challenges as she’s up for them.

gifts for 2 year olds foam blocks

Best for Quiet Play

4. Foam Building Blocks


  • What We Like: non-toxic, BPA-free , all-ages safe, good for fine motor skills
  • What We Don't Like: difficult to put back in the box
  • Return Policy: free returns

Look, we love those sleek and sexy Montessori blocks as much as the next aesthetically inclined mom. But lived experience has proven that our kids like the bright and ugly stuff, which is why we love these foam building blocks. As one mom of a 2-year-old with a new baby sister told us, “They’re light and easy to stack—and better yet, they’re quiet if you have a sleeping sibling.” If you dread the thud of a wooden tower collapsing just as your other child finally falls asleep, foam blocks are the solution. This set comes with 108 pieces of various shapes to give your toddler the opportunity to get creative while honing their fine motor skills. But unless your kid is a certified Tetris genius, you might want to get a cute basket to toss these into for easy clean up, since stuffing them back in the packaging can be tough.

Product shot of play sink for 2 year olds

Best Time Eater

5. Play Sink with Running Water

Cute Stone

  • What We Like: water pump, color-changing accessories, entertaining for wide-range of ages
  • What We Don't Like: sometimes overflows
  • Return Policy: free returns

Doing the dishes might be your personal hell, but apparently, kids love it. A dad of a 2-year-old boy told us that this play sink with running water is the only toy their toddler always plays with day after day. And the high rating with over 2,000 reviews tells the same story. Parent after parent shares that their kid spends hours playing with their sink. Introduce the toy sans water at first to get your 2-year-old acclimated, and then, blow their mind with the spouting sink. As they wash dishes, they’ll see the plates change colors as you sit back and relax happily knowing you’re teaching your child about sharing the load.

Product shot of Melissa and Doug wooden toy bus.

For the ‘Wheels on the Bus’ Fanatic

6. Melissa & Doug Wooden School Bus Set

Melissa and Doug

  • What We Like: great quality, working door, wheels and stop sign, imaginative play
  • What We Don't Like: passengers could be more diverse
  • Return Policy: free returns

When my 2-year-old received this as a birthday gift from another family with a 2-year-old, her brain nearly exploded: the actual bus from the critically acclaimed, chart-topping “Wheels on the Bus” banger? She could do nothing but stan! Her favorite part is that the wheels on the bus actually do go round and round. The door does go open and shut. And the people can go up and down. Absolutely iconic. Plus, I love that she uses her brimming imagination to take the bus to all sorts of exciting places, like the grocery store and…the grocery store. (“Because the people need blueberries, Mama.”) This Melissa & Doug set comes with eight solid wood pieces in total—the “working” bus with rolling wheels plus seven freestanding passengers.

Tempera crayons on white background

Best Craft

7. Washable Tempera Paint Sticks

Mondo Llama

  • What We Like: low-odor, water-based formula that's non-toxic for humans, easy to hold, good for kids with sensory issues (low mess)
  • What We Don't Like: nothing
  • Return Policy: free returns

“These paint sticks are THE BOMB. Grab some construction paper and plop your kid down with them and you’ve got ENDLESS FUN. We discovered them at art museum classes, and all the kids love them because they glide like BUTTAH,” one very ecstatic mom of a 2-year-old budding artist told us. Toddlers and kids love them because their wide grip makes it easy for them to hold and the water-based tempera means bright, bold colors on paper, canvas or wood. (Psst: one reviewer wrote that their kid even uses them on rocks!) But caregivers love them because the paint dries quickly and is washable and light on the mess. In fact, one reviewer wrote that their toddler, who has some sensory issues and “doesn't love getting messy with paint” finds that the Mondo Llama Tempera Paint Sticks are a great introduction to arts and crafts without the typical mess. This set includes ten sticks that can be applied directly to your craft surface or blended with water to soften the color.

Product shot of Montessori busy board on white background.

Best Screen-Time Substitute

8. Montessori Busy Board


  • What We Like: not too bright or loud, batteries last a long time, low tech, fine motor, brain teaser
  • What We Don't Like: the tiny battery pack screws are easy to lose
  • Return Policy: free returns

When my daughter was born, I swore to the heavens that she would not be one of those screen-addled tots completely addicted to the dark power of a tablet or phone. Alas, any parent will tell you that Steve Jobs was better at his job than ANYONE has yet to give him credit for. Those things are intuitive, fun and mind-bogglingly alluring. My 2-year-old has known how to swipe a smart screen for a while now. Ugh. Enter: This self-proclaimed Montessori busy board. (Is it actually Montessori? No, it is not. Do we care? No, we do not.) We came across it when my child stole it from another kid at a party, resulting in lots of tears and a subsequent Google search hunting said toy down. This wooden box of switches, triggers, lights and sounds offers your kid the delight of cause and effect sans the screen. Turn this switch on and that light goes on. Plug in this thing here and hear a ding. We actually call it “the computer” since it kinda is, and in that way, it’s become a worthy screen-time substitute that’s not only quelled tantrums but kept her quite busy and engaged. To get it working, you need two AAAs and a tiny screwdriver. The most annoying part is that the screws are so tiny, but we haven’t had to replace the batteries in months.

Kids playing on scoot and ride scooters outside.

Best Grow-With-Me Scooter

9. Scoot & Ride Highwaylick 1

Scoot & Ride

  • What We Like: various colorways, 2-in-1 fun, grows with child up to 110 lbs., easy to assemble
  • What We Don't Like: no push bar
  • Return Policy: free returns

“My daughter received a Scoot & Ride Highwaykick 1 as a gift for her two-year birthday, and now she basically eats breakfast, lunch and dinner with her helmet on just waiting to get back on the thing,” a friend told me. A genius contraption, the Highwaykick 1 transforms from a sitting mode (up to 44 lbs.) to standing scooter mode (up to 110 lbs.), growing with your kid as they grow and get more confident on the contraption. When your toddler’s ready for the next mode, simply adjust to the next configuration, no tools needed. (Height adjustments with the seat are also no-tools-necessary, phew.) We also love that it comes in a plethora of colors, like rose, lemon, peach and steel, making it fun to accessorize with that aforementioned helmet. 

Triptych of three edited Zara items.

Best Custom Clothes

10. Zara Edited Gear


  • What We Like: trendy, customizable, easy to order, ever-changing selection
  • What We Don't Like: final purchase,sometimes not available
  • Return Policy: no returns

It’s no secret that Zara makes some of the cutest and trendiest kids’ clothes. But their edited line—an ever-changing selection of clothes and accessories that can be customized with a name, word or icon for a couple extra bucks—is kind of a best kept secret. When my daughter was born, we received a Zara sweatshirt with her nickname on it, and it was one of my favorite things to dress her in. Since the styles are often meant to look oversized, you can get away wearing them for a long time, too. But there’s also customizable accessories like hats, backpacks or overnight bags that will last well into the kid years. The only glitch is that the custom edit makes it non-returnable or exchangeable, so it’s better to size up instead of down.

2 year old child playing with Matchstick Monkey in bath.

Cleanest Bath Toy

11. Matchstick Monkey Bath Time Wobbler

Matchstick Monkey

  • What We Like:  BioCote® Antimicrobial Protection, food-grade silicone, BPA-Free and ABS material
  • What We Don't Like: pricey
  • Return Policy: free returns

No, no, no,  we’d never bribe our kid. Would we, however, simply promise an awesome toy that gets a mud-covered tot into the bath once and for all? You betcha. Bath toys are essential to getting clean at this age, but finding a toy that’s not destined to become, how do we say this, gross AF, has proven quite the challenge. This is where Matchstick Monkey comes in. The U.K. brand uses BioCote® Antimicrobial Protection, a safe, natural way to reduce microbes, making their toys more hygienic and easier to keep fresh and clean. We especially love this Wobbler since it’s soft to touch and ergonomically designed to encourage fine motor development. Plus, it’s just so cute!

Toddlers playing on pickler triangle.
  • What We Like: foldable, easy assembly, CPSIA-toy tested, fosters independence and physical development
  • What We Don't Like: $69 shipping
  • Return Policy: returns and exchanges accepted within 14 days

The Pikler Triangle (or climbing triangle), invented by child development trailblazer Emmi Pikler, was designed to let children explore, move their bodies, problem solve and build self-confidence. It’s a lofty promise—but when you witness a toddler whose just been given the freedom to embark on their own (safe) adventures, you’ll know it’s true. We gifted a climbing triangle set to a 2-year-old, and the child-led playtime at his personal at-home gym has been endless. “I’m obsessed with the climbing triangle set. It's Montessori-approved AND when my son’s on it, I can sip my coffee in peace as he plays on his own,” the mom of two told us. This particular birch plywood set is handmade from a family-owned brand in Houston, Texas. We also love that you can choose the style (options include a sole triangle to sets of two plus a ramp of your choosing) and even add an arch or cube.

Toddler playing with a wooden cleaning set.
Pottery Barn Kids

Best Functional Toy

13. Wooden Cleaning Set

Pottery Barn Kids

  • What We Like: made from FSC-certified wood, realistic details like cotton-rope mop head, encourages make-believe
  • What We Don't Like: pricey
  • Return Policy: eligible refunds within 30 days

“At this age, I love a functional gift that helps teach kids how to help around the house,” a mom of two (and former school principal to boot) told me. No wonder she loves this wooden cleaning set that turns sweeping, dusting and mopping into imaginative play—you’d be surprised by how much your 2-year-old seriously wants to help you around the house! My own toddler has this cleaning set, and I love that it looks sleek and clean (I wish my own cleaning set looked as cute), and she loves that she can sweep up her toys and dust bunnies. Made from solid hard wood and finished in child-safe, water-based paint, the full set includes a stand, duster, mop, broom dustpan and dust brush. Now get cleaning!

Product shot of Lil Builders on white background.

Best for Tinkerers

14. Lil Builders Take Apart Construction Truck

USA Toyz

  • What We Like: BPA-free and nontoxic, educational
  • What We Don't Like: lots of parts, adult supervision necessary, AA batteries not included
  • Return Policy: free returns

Our functional-toy-loving mom friend above also includes these take-apart trucks on her favorites list. It’s all about trial and error with these 4-in-1 build-your-own trucks as you and your toddler work together to create a functioning vehicle. It’s challenging, reviewers note, but ultimately rewarding. Clean freaks beware: this set comes with lots of parts (34 buildable pieces, 2-in-1 drill remote, charger, rechargeable battery, trucks frames and wheels, screwdriver, screws and bits, jackhammer and more). So we suggest making sure you have a place to keep everything organized and in one place before you unbox.

Three sets of toddler Hanna Andersson pajamas
Hannah Andersson

Best Pajamas

15. Hanna Andersson Pajama Set

Hanna Andersson

  • What We Like: hypoallergenic and eczema-friendly, sensory-friendly seams, OEKO-TEX® certified safe
  • What We Don't Like: can bepricey
  • Return Policy: 60-day returns, unwashed and unworn

Fellow PureWow Senior Editor Dana Dickey sent my 2-year-old a pair of these Hanna Andersson pajamas for her birthday, and I know they’re just pajamas, but I can’t say enough good things about them! My daughter has the Baltic Blue/Jelly Bean colorway, and I love how rich the colors are—even after several washes (and we’re heathens who don’t follow care instructions and dry everything to crispy-fried completion). The quality is exceptional. They’re soft, breathable and made to be handed down. Not to mention the thoughtfulness behind the sensory-friendly constructed seams is fabulous. Everyone deserves to be comfy!

Product shot of kinetic sand on white background

Best Group Play Activity

16. Kinetic Sand (10 Colors + Castle Molds)

Kinetic Sand

  • What We Like: sensory play, never dries out, fun for adults too, color varieties
  • What We Don't Like: can bemessy
  • Return Policy: free returns

Kinetic sand is basically wet sand that never dries out (typically thanks to a coat of silicone oil), which means that you can bring the novelty of making sandcastles indoors, winning the hearts of 2-year-olds all over the world. Since the stuff sticks to itself, cleanup is much easier than a day at the beach. (Though we do recommend placing a mat under the table!) Plus, the sensory magic of kinetic sand makes it both engaging and surprisingly soothing. (You will probably buy a package just for your desk.) At a recent gathering, we pulled out the kinetic sand to—fingers crossed—busy our toddlers while we downed dinner, and to our delight, our kids played at the table for the next 30 minutes, entranced.

Triptych of stuffies from The Elephant Project
The Elephant Project

Best Gift That Gives Back

17. The Elephant Project’s Kiki, Tembo or Lulu

The Elephant Project

  • What We Like: proceeds benefit animals, teaches empathy
  • What We Don't Like: nothing
  • Return Policy: final sale

Meet Kiki, Tembo, Oba and Lulu. They’re 8-inch-tall stuffies, and when you buy one, 100 percent of net proceeds go to organizations that help each type of animal. For example, if you buy Kiki or Tembo the elephants, your purchase can help fight the poaching crisis and provide care to injured, abandoned, orphaned and abused elephants. If you go with Oba the lion, your purchase benefits big cats in need. And if you opt for Lulu the dog, you’ll help save dogs from abuse and neglect in the United States and abroad. (They’re also available in bundles if you can’t choose.) While the nitty gritty details might be a little intense for your 2-year-old, they’ll certainly be all ears for “helping elephants” and love toting their new little dolls around.

5 toddlers dressed in Disney princess costumes.
Janie and Jack
  • What We Like: high quality, pick-and-choose pieces, meant to be handed down
  • What We Don't Like: pieces sold separately
  • Return Policy: 45-dayfree returns

“When my daughter turned 2, she was like a moth to a flame when it came to dressing up and costumes,” said a mom of a now 3-year-old (who still loves dress-up). “That’s why I love this Disney princess and Janie and Jack collab. The quality is SO nice. Whenever we need to dress up for real life, I still let her wear her Belle ballet flats because they’re just so precious and well-made.” Choose from Belle, Rapunzel, Tiana, Aurora or Cinderella. All looks are sold separately, which means you can pick and choose whichever dress and accessories you want. Let the magic commence.

Product image of Zoo mini skip hop backpack narwhal
Skip Hop

Best Backpack

19. Zoo Mini Skip Hop Narwhal Backback

Skip Hop

  • What We Like: mini sized, detachable tether, stay-put straps
  • What We Don't Like: tether connects to bottom of backpack instead of top
  • Return Policy: 90-day returns

Who could possibly resist the cuteness that is a friendly lavender narwhal school pack? The mini size means it’s juuust right for tots 36-to-42 inches tall and still holds everything they need for daycare or school. “I love that we can fit a snack, a cup, and/or small toys or activities in there!” says one Skip Hop reviewer. Plus, if you’ve got a runner on your hands, the stay-safe tether plus chest strap will come in handy. Some might call it a kid leash, we call it piece of mind.

Flat lay of components of a toddler Imagination Box subscription

Best Subscription

20. Imagination Box Subscription

Owl Post Books

  • What We Like: great customer service, educator-selected
  • What We Don't Like: pricey
  • Return Policy: 90-day returns

Talk about a gift that keeps on giving. Owl Post Books Imagination Box subscribers receive three brand-new, age-appropriate books, a seasonal craft, and an interactive box each month (for as long as the giftee is signed up). We love that the books are curated by an experienced educator, which ensures the quality of the selections. And there’s also the magic of surprise via snail mail. As Molly T. wrote in her review, “Our boys loved this box, literally! They colored the box then used it as a racetrack, so cool to make it part of the experience. They loved the books and it made me really happy to make them feel special by getting their own mail!” And if you receive a book you already own, the company is more than happy to chat with you about swapping.

Little boy playing in a wood playhouse.

Best Playhouse

21. Waldorf Playhouse with Tent and Pillow


  • What We Like: non-toxic, sustainably built, multi-use
  • What We Don't Like: pricey, assembly required
  • Return Policy: 14-day returns

Playhouse, but make it fashion. That’s exactly what this approximately 4.5’ x 2.5’ setup from Cassarokids is giving. But you won't see any faux smart-appliances or extraneous knickknacks here. Founded by brothers driven by a “passion for beautiful design, sustainability and love of play,” Cassarokids is dedicated to bringing back play in its purest form. In this case, the aesthetically pleasing Waldorf Plahouse is an open-source centerpiece for imagination. Complete with a tent and pillow, the space can be as calm and cozy or as thrilling and exciting as kids make it; pretend it’s a pirate ship for a playdate and then set up a reading nook before bed. Made from 100 percent FSC/PEFC sustainable solid pine with a 100 percent natural cotton tent, this is a quality playhouse that will grow with your kid.

Flat lay of Slumberkins dragon snuggler

Best Emotional Learning Gift

22. Slumberkins Dragon Snuggler


  • What We Like: designed to promote creativity, comes with board book and snuggler, families can practice affirmation together, hypoallergenic fiberfill
  • What We Don't Like: pricey
  • Return Policy: free7-day returns

No, it’s not just another lovie. The Dragon Snuggler is part of Slumberkins’s mission to empower children to be caring, confident and resilient through emotional learning. Founded by a special education teacher and a family therapist, Slumberkins uses a “Connect-to-Grow” approach meant to strengthen children’s relationships to the important adults in their lives. In this case, the Dragon Snuggler’s M.O. is all about creativity, reminding kids that they can tap into their imaginations at any time. How so, you ask? Along with a board book and daily affirmation, the Dragon “encourages” tots to explore their creative minds with simple prompts, like acting out a story or doodling. 

Product image of flower press for toddler gifts.

Best for Nature Lovers

23. My Botanical Press by Tender Leaf Toys

Tender Leaf

  • What We Like: low-tech, create preserved flowers, lasts forever, original gift idea
  • What We Don't Like: adult guidance needed
  • Return Policy: free shipping and returns

Do it. Go for the analog gift and show everyone that a 2-year-old does not need a ton of bells and whistles to have fun. This wooden flower press is a throwback that your kid can enjoy long after their toddler years. Using paper sheets and metal screws in each corner (adult supervision required), your “budding” artist can fill the paper pages with flowers and leaves from their nature walk and press away. Wait two weeks for the reveal (free lesson about delayed gravitation included), and your flat-dried, preserved flowers are ready to use in any arts-and-crafts activity, like collages or handmade cards. One reviewer wrote: “Love everything about this toy, I highly recommend adding these to your collection of ‘beloved toys that last forever.’ Kind of like how I used to feel when my grandmother used to get out the wooden Lincoln Logs. These toys are beautiful!”

Young kid playing with Toniebox on red background.

Best Screen Time Alternative

24. Toniebox Playtime Puppy Starter Set


  • What We Like: screen-free activity, toddler can control the box, lots of options for stories
  • What We Don't Like: buying new Tonies can be pricey, you have to charge the box
  • Return Policy: 100-day free return policy

We're not here to bemoan screen time (how the hell else are you supposed to get anything done with a toddler at home??). But when your kid is singing Cocomelon for the 165th time, you need something to shift their focus. And the Toniebox is an awesome alternative. It's basically a story-telling box that lets your toddler place a cute character (like Liberty from Paw Patrol or Daniel Tiger) on top of the box (they're magnetic) and play a story. Your kid can even control the volume by pushing on the ears or skip to the next story by touching the side. "My kid loves this box so much," says PureWow Executive Editor Alexia Dellner. "The Tonies can be played with on their own and I love that we get to build the collection." Note: The brand says the box is not for kids under 3, so keep an eye on your kid while she's listening.

gifts for 2 year olds woom

Best for Learning How to Ride a Bike

25. Woom Balance Bike


  • What We Like: teaches toddlers how to balance on wheels, cute colorways, makes cycling fun and accessible for little kids
  • What We Don't Like: pricey, requires assembly
  • Return Policy: 30-day free return policy

Tricycles are cute and all, and for some kids they're a great way to get them comfortable on wheels. But if you're serious about bike riding, then a balance bike is the way to go. That’s because a balance bike teaches kids balance (duh), aka the hardest part of learning how to ride a bike. And once they're comfortable on the balance bike, it's an easy transition to pedals. Dellner credits this zippy little bike with teaching her son to ride a real deal bicycle by age 3. "My son loved this bike and I couldn't believe how fast he was zooming around on it (don’t forget to buy a helmet too!). Then when he turned 3, we gave him the pedal bike version and he was off after just a few days. He had to figure out how to pedal (which is a hard thing to explain!), but he was really comfortable balancing on it and stopping himself." Designed for kids ages 1.5 to 3 years old, the bike weighs just six pounds and comes in multiple colorways. You do have to assemble it yourself, but Dellner reports the process was pretty straightforward and took less than 10 minutes.

Toddler riding in a Cocomelon bumper car.

Best Rainy Day Fun

26. Cocomelon Bumper Car


  • What We Like: rubber bumpers, adjustable safety belt, fully assembled, rechargeable
  • What We Don't Like: no remote
  • Return Policy: (mostly)free returns

Bad weather keeping you inside again? No sweat. Clear the floors, lock the toddler gates and set your kid up in this mini bumper car.  The car performs 360-degree turns, flashes lights and zips around at a max speed of—wait for it—1 mph. Parents will love the soft rubber bumper that cushions impact during bumping, while also protecting walls and furniture from scratches. The adjustable safety belt keeps kids in the seat while they play, ensuring a safe and fun time for all. One very happy reviewer wrote: “I bought this on Black Friday for my 15-month-old. I cannot believe how fast he learned to use the joysticks. He fell asleep in it yesterday, just absolutely did not want to get out of it. It's a lot of fun to watch him scoot around in it and set up obstacles for him. It's the perfect speed and the battery seems to last quite a while.” And, ironically, it might delay hearing Cocomelon’s “Baby Shark” on repeat for another hour. Worth it.

Set of eight daisy clips.

Best Accessory

27. 8-Piece Daisy Hair Clips


  • What We Like: large grip, matte colors
  • What We Don't Like: probablynot for thin hair
  • Return Policy: free returns

If your tot, like mine, has a new-found interest in *accessorizing* with anything they can find in your jewelry box,it’s probably time to start their own collection. We love this eight-piece daisy set since the individual clips are quite large, especially compared to the fairy-sized barrettes and such usually reserved for toddlers. This means your 2-year-old can at least attempt a grip on them (fine motor win!) and you won’t freak out about them ripping them off to chew on while you’re going 60 mph on the highway. Caveat: Since my daughter has thick curly hair, these work great—one clip can hold all her hair in a baby-chignon style. If your child isn’t working with as much hair, these might be better down the line. 

FOAMO machine on white background.

Best for Parties

29. Little Tikes FOAMO Foam Machine

Little Tikes

  • What We Like: set up is simple, comes with storage tub
  • What We Don't Like: pricey, might want to invest in goggles
  • Return Policy: free returns

If you’ve taken your kid to a backyard foam party, it’s probably all you heard them talk about the next few weeks. Foam parties are the best. But from what we’ve seen, renting a foam party service can cost anywhere from $250 to $1,000…which is where this Little Tike gadget comes in. Yes, it’s on the pricier side of toddler gifts, but it’s still a lot cheaper than outsourcing. As VP of Editorial Candace Davidson tells us in her review, “Aptly named FOAMO, the gadget looks like a Blippi blue-and-green projector for kids, only it sprays mountains of micro bubbles. And I don’t care how old you are, how fresh your blowout is or whether you’re wearing a bathing suit, you’ll have FOMO the minute you see kids start to jump in it. It’s frivolous, ridiculous [fun.]” Plus, it’s fairly low setup with big rewards. (Psst: Davidson recommends pausing the machine every 15 minutes so kids can play in the foam and you can conserve bubble concentrate.)

Magna-Tiles designed into a boat on an arts and craft water background.

Best New Classic

30. Magna-Tiles (32-Piece Set)


  • What We Like: long-term toy, solo or group play, STEM-, spatial- and tactile-reasoning
  • What We Don't Like: pricey
  • Return Policy: free returns

The box says 3 and up, but we’ve seen everyone from nine-month-olds to octogenarian grandparents explore and build with Magna-Tiles. Some kids might fidget with them meditatively as they watch a favorite show while others might create a 3D replica of the Golden Gate Bridge—there’s beauty in their versatility. This particular set comes with 32 translucent, colorful shapes including squares (2 large, 14 small) and triangles (8 equilateral, 4 right, 4 isosceles). They’re safe, durable and meant to last for years. Susan, a grandmother to two now-tweens, has kept a bucket of Magna-Tiles in her living room since her grandkids were small. Now, they still come over and play with them! Toddlers will love making creations, like boxes, houses, castles, cars and more, while you’re secretly instilling math, tactile and spatial skills. (Insert evil laugh.)

gifts for 2 year olds fisher price record player

Best Throwback

31. Fisher Price Classic Record Player

Fisher Price

  • What We Like: nostalgic, vintage-looking exterior design
  • What We Don't Like: music is digital, needs batteries
  • Return Policy: free returns

Who else remembers playing with this classic 1971 Fisher Price toy as a kid? While there’s been lots of progress with children’s toys, we sure love an oldie but a goodie. And since Mom probably gave ours away in the Great Garage Sale of ‘95, we’re pleasantly surprised to see this record player alive and well—and updated—on Amazon. It comes with five records for a total of ten songs, all of which can be stored in a compartment within the box itself. One reviewer broke down why he loved the toy in a simple list, saying that the record player is “sturdy, easy for toddler to use, entertaining, storage slot for record, lots of song options, toddler loves that there is a handle to carry it, great that it actually acts like a real record player.” Simple toy, simple review.

Personalized ABC book for toddlers
Uncommon Goods

Best for Learning ABCs

32. Personalized ABC What Can I Be Book

Uncommon Goods

  • What We Like: personalized, unique, U.S.A-made, inclusive 
  • What We Don't Like: final sale once order is submitted
  • Return Policy: free returns

What do you want to be when you grow up? This board book asks tiny readers that question and provides an alphabet’s worth of illustrations customized to their likeness. Little Rider can imagine himself as anything he wants to be—an astronomer, a baker, a carpenter—all while learning the ABCs. One verified Uncommon Goods reviewer commented: “The Personalized ABC What Can I Be book is the single best of all the personalized books I've looked at (considering Uncommon Goods selections, but also I've looked online at other sources and also in person at children's stores). The name of the child is used and placed meaningfully throughout the story narrative and the options for personalization of the child's appearance are the best range I've seen (agree that representation of ethnicity is muted by broad/pretty bland representations—but there is at least an attempt at representing not only color variables in skin and hair but also a few broad options for hair type...much better than many 'personalized' books). In addition, the narrative is gender-neutral and the range of career options reflects some range in social class.”

Four Gummy Bear lights on background.
Uncommon Goods

Best Night Light

33. Squishy Gummy Bear Light

Uncommon Goods

  • What We Like: unique, tactile, multipurpose, timer 
  • What We Don't Like: nothing
  • Return Policy: free returns

We love a gift that serves more than one purpose, and this oversized gummy bear is both a functioning LED nightlight and a fun, tactile plaything. Available in either green, pink, purple or blue, the lights are simple and easy to use. They have two functions: a one-hour automatic timer or, simply, “on.” To turn it off when it’s in “on” mode, you just squish its belly. How cute? As for its other function, it’s a cheeky toy. And unlike your other lamps and electronics, one commenter confessed that their 2-year-old absolutely loves it. “Even after dropping it several times, it still works! It's super cute and fun, the entire thing doesn't light up, but it's adorable nonetheless.” A dual-purpose nightlight that can take a beating? Sign us up.

Image of children's book Bodies Are Cool

Best Book for Self-Esteem

34.  “Bodies Are Cool” by Tyler Feder

  • What We Like: fabulous message, great illustrations, fun read-along 
  • What We Don't Like: nothing
  • Return Policy: 14-day returns

Sometimes, out of the blue, I’ll hear my 2-year-old chant, “Bodies are COOL!” It’s the refrain from this wonderful children’s book about body neutrality—essentially a movement about accepting our bodies as they are—by artist Tyler Feder. Fear not. This is not a tedious social-emotional learning book; The rhymes in the book are punchy and musical and the pictures are lively and bright. As their curiosity explodes about their own bodies as well as others (“Mama, are those boobies?”), I love that we have gorgeous, G-rated images of all different kinds of bodies doing all kinds of things (biking, swimming, relaxing) we can reference. It’s a fabulous steppingstone for conversations about race, disability and more. After all, bodies are…cool!

Shark Wandvac on white background.

Best Gift for the Whole House

35. Shark Wandvac Handheld Vacuum


  • What We Like: sleek design, great suction, lightweight 
  • What We Don't Like: pricey
  • Return Policy: free returns

This is my go-to housewarming present because it’s always a winner. And guess who loves it too, besides Mommy and Daddy? My toddler. It’s a scientific fact that young kids are obsessed with vacuums, but most dust busters are too bulky to operate at their age—and we want to put this kid to work! The Shark Wandvac is a lot thinner and less cumbersome than similar products, and it works a hell-of-a-lot better. We keep ours in the kitchen to suck up crumbs that fall into tight corners. And because it’s longer and thinner than similar products, it’s also great for reaching up high and in corners (goodbye, cobwebs!). As for your 2-year-old, they’ll busy themselves cleaning the floor while you chop onions or simply catch your breath.


Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...

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PureWow's editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series (where we rank items on a 100-point scale) to our painstakingly curated lists of fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family picks, you can trust that our recommendations have been thoroughly vetted for function, aesthetics and innovation. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.