Toddler Development & Gift Guide for a 2 Year Old

Turning 2 is such a big deal, for both parents and children. From 18 months to 24 months our kids develop so much and for the next year there will be so much more change as they become independent little two-nagers and three-nagers. If you’ve met one you’ll know why they’re coined teenagers. This gift guide will help you find appropriate gift ideas for any 2 year old based on their developmental growth.

Toddler Development & Gift Guide for a 2 Year Old

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The 2 Year Old Gift Guide Categories

My little girl just turned 2 and I’m seeing her grow so much in so many ways just within these past few weeks. She’s quickly catching up to her 3 year old brother.

In this post, I’ve compiled some of the best kinds of toys and gift for 2-3 year old based on all the changes and milestones they go through at this stage.

Some of these things overlap with 1 year old items and 3 year old items but their use develops along with it. For example, young toddlers love small toy cars but as they get a little older they start to create storylines while playing with these cars and possibly race them or drive their cars to Target to buy Bananas.

So here are those categories:

  1. Language Development
  2. Coordination- Gross Motor Skills
  3. Coordination- Fine Motor Skills
  4. Cognitive
  5. Social & Emotional
  6. Book & Toy Storage
  7. Miscellaneous

1. Language Development

Between the age of two and three your child will have a massive increase in vocabulary. Their language development will increase verbally but even more in their understanding, so be careful what you expose them to!

Your child will upgrade from one word speaking to 2-3 word sentences,. He or she will be repeating new words, questioning things, and begin using plurals and pronouns.

They will also become familiar with people they know, as well as characters they see in books and TV. 

Their understanding of body parts by name and location will grow and soon they will be singing ‘head shoulders knees and toes’ while pointing to everything accurately as they’re sining it.

You’ll be surprised on a daily basis the new words and phrases coming out of  those little mouths.

With the right tools you can help teach or encourage more language development.

2. Coordination - Gross Motor Skills

Your child’s gross motor skills will also improve greatly. At 2 years old, your child is no longer a “baby” but a full-grown toddler and young child. 

At this stage, children learn to jump (and improve their jumping coordination), throw with better accuracy, kick with better accuracy, and maybe even catch something. 

3. Coordination - Fine Motor Skills

Children’s fine motor also improve greatly, as they learn to grasp smaller objects better and develop a better understanding of how to physically get dressed.

They learn to better grasp utensils, crayons, hair brush, tooth brush, how to use snaps and zippers, and balance better for building and stacking blocks into towers.

You will find them helping in the dressing and undressing process and pretty soon will be begging to do it on their own.

4. Cognitive

At 1 year old, children develop a basic understanding of pretend play, but by 2 and 3 children are more engaged into complex details of their creativity. Dress up, cooking, and cleaning are some of the favorite pretend-play games children love.

They also will generally begin to learn sense of time, be capable of putting together small jigsaw puzzles, and understand of step-by-step instructions.

5. Social & Emotional

This may be one of the most exciting, as well as difficult, stages in our children’s development. They become so independent and intelligent at this stage that they grow out of babyhood and we soon forget they’re still young children.

Children at this age will learn to mimic other kids and adults, interact with other children, learn to do things without help and become more independent, have tantrums out of frustration, and display disobedience.

Dealing with the tantrums, frustration, and disobedience are the hardest for us parents, and we label this the “terrible two’s” stage or the “two-nager” stage. With some good emotional teaching tools we can help ease the transition for our children.

6. Book & Toy Storage

As your child gets older, the amount of things they own grows like crazy and us parents start to go a little crazy with the mess so I chose to include this as a category in this post. 

I like to use storage bins and bookshelves for keeping everything organized in my kids’ rooms and I enforce a clean-up time when play time is over so they learn to be clean understand where to put things.

7. Miscellaneous

Other good options for gifting include:

  • Furniture
  • Clothing
  • Money (gift cards or savings)
  • Experiences

 You can also check out this page if you’re interested in knowing more about these milestones.

What kinds of toys do your 2 years olds love?

Toddler Development & Gift Guide for a 2 Year Old

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Heather Ritts
November 21, 2018 11:29 pm

I love all the growth in these years. Very informative, thank you!!

November 22, 2018 9:01 pm

That playhouse is darling! My husband built one several years ago and it has been such a great investment. My youngest loves playing in it with her friends. I like your ideas for emotional and social development as well. Those mix and match faces are pretty cute, and a good… Read more »

November 23, 2018 6:15 pm

Love this list! I always enjoy getting books for my little one. 🙂

Melisa from Crushing Motherhood
November 24, 2018 3:42 am

This is a great explanation of development and gift list. We definitely need your storage recommendations!

November 26, 2018 11:58 pm

Hey Paula! I love this post. My daughter is turning two in February and because it’s right after Christmas, I’m always on the hunt for age-appropriate gifts. I love how you broke this post down into different sections as it makes it easy to find gifts based on skills my… Read more »