Two is about the age when kids become less interested in the box the toy came in and more interested in the toy itself. If you’re headed to a birthday party for a two-year-old, after the requisite pizza and cupcakes, bust out something more impressive than an Elmo card full of 20s. Sure, finding a great present for these peak toddler years is a little challenging because they’re not babies, not yet big kids — but that’s why you’re still reading this. Here’s a list of the best gift ideas for two-year-olds.
Do they have ice cream cake at the party? That’s cute. Wait until you come strolling in with Famous Oto’s vividly illustrated cardboard Ice Cream Truck. At 40″ x 36″ x 24″, the $59 rig’s big enough for toddlers to walk into and “drive,” and the website features a free license plate generator, so you can print as many vanity plates as you have ink for.
Now that this two-year-old has learned to walk, give his parents something to challenge their newfound footwork. See that old tree? Congratulations, it’s now a climbing wall. Better yet, now you’ve got a stairway to the treehouse. Kids have remarkable upper body strength for their tiny stature, so they won’t mind the climb.
Sago’s open-play apps essentially exist solely to, well, exist. Kids play without specific objectives, as in Sago Mini Friends, which mostly entails roaming the neighborhood, ringing doorbells if you want to go inside and eat pizza. That experience is now available in plush doll form.
You’re a parent, so coffee is good for you. Coffee made by a kid (if your kid happens to be this specific kid) is really good for you. And coffee made by that kid with a beech wood role-playing activity set is … well, imaginary, but damn it’s adorable. As is the rest of the Wooden Toys Collection, which promotes development in sorting, counting, stacking, music-making, and identifying a delightful a pastel color palette. It makes a great birthday gift.
It’s the giant piano from Big. And since everyone loved Tom Hanks in Big. The birthday kid will, too. Some things need an explanation and some things sell themselves. Now everyone together: “Shimmy shimmy coco puff…”
Lost My Name‘s computer machines create unique narratives and illustrations based on birthday boy or girl’s name and hometown. Once that two-year-old kid sees their name in stars and their house from Santa’s perspective — does it matter how it works? The only downside: They might start assuming everything is personalized. Good luck getting Chuck E. Cheese to spell their name in pepperoni.
If you want to attain baller status in the eyes of a two-year-old, wheel in one of these things with a bow tied around it. The Early Rider Lite is a top-of-the-line kick bike for kids between 18 months and three and a half (or until they master the whole pedal-pushing thing). It even has a faux-leather seat and a goddam flame on the side.
There are a lot of subscription boxes out there (really, who needs to a subscription to chips?). But Green Piñata is the one that delivers kids 100-percent toxin-free, educational — and mostly wooden — toys proven to help them learn. Parents will be pleased because they’re renting, not permanently storing. And for just $25 the kid will receive up to five new toys a month. If they refuse to part with that sweet train (yeah, because sweet trains are sweet), parents have the option to purchase it. All returns. All exchanges.
Cubcoats Stuffed Animal Hoodie
It’s a bunny. It’s a bear. But it’s also a sweatshirt. Cubcoats are stuffed animals that can unfold into hoodies if it gets a little chilly. And yes, the animal ears pop out on each side of the hood. There are eight different animals to choose from. Sizes vary.
Wonder Crew Dolls
Wonder Crew Dolls are meant to encourage boys to be comfortable fostering emotional relationships. So, the designers combined the elements of action figures with those of dolls. The result was a doll with adventure gear and superhero capes. It didn’t win a Toy of the Year Award for nothing.
Sometimes you need a break from story time. Teddy Ruxpin is here to be the Roald Dahl to your E.B. White. He tells stories and his mouth moves along with the words. It’s not just a throwback toy from the ’80s. You can also download digital books and have you kid practice reading along with the bear.