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Best toys for 2-year-olds: fun and educational gifts for toddlers

From puzzles and Play-Doh to train tracks and building bricks, we’ve found the best fun and educational toys available in 2022 to suit every need, interest and budget. 

By Victoria David | Last updated Nov 25, 2022

Toddler playing with a toy

Buying fun and educational toys for a two-year-old can be tricky. They’ve grown out of baby toys, but they’re still too young to tell you what they like, toys can be extortionately priced, and there is so much conflicting advice about which is the best to get that it can make your head spin. Throw in the cost of living crisis, the calendar marking endless Birthdays and the looming Christmas period, and it's enough to leave you pulling your hair out. 

So, let us help. At the heart of it, toddlers are active, curious and imaginative and need toys that can help them learn new skills and bring them hours of fun. At this age, children are developing their emotional, social, language, problem-solving, and fine and gross motor skills on a minute-by-minute basis. Toddlers are like sponges, soaking up the world around them, and at Mumsnet, we know how a carefully chosen toy can have a tremendous impact. That's why we've scoured Mumsnet forums, listened to industry experts and analysed verified reviews to find toys for two-year-olds that were approved by experts and tried, tested and loved by toddlers and their parents. 

In this list, we've covered our bases by including creative and imaginative toys that inspire children's love for learning. For those who love to play pretend, you can buy dolls, play sets, kitchens and car garages, which are great for sharing with their friends. For more active kids, there are toys they can ride, bounce and climb on – a great way to use up some of their energy! If they prefer to build and create, we've got Duplo, magnetic construction sets and playdoh for fun that'll last more than a year. So, whether you are a parent to a puzzle lover, a car addict or an aspiring architect, check out our list of the 15 best toys for two-year-olds to buy in 2022.

For further gift-giving inspiration, we've put together similar age-appropriate guides to highlight the best toys to buy for babies, three-year-olds, four-year-olds, five-year-olds and six-year-olds. Our lists of Mumsnet recommended tablets for older children include tablets, board games and fidget toys

Here is our list of the best toys for two-year-olds. 

1. Best overall toy for 2-year-olds: TP Toys 4-in-1 Deluxe Trike

A picture of TP Toys 4-in-1 Deluxe Trike in Midnight Blue.

Price on writing: £89.99 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key Specs

Dimensions: H95.6cm x W47.8cm x D88.5cm | Weight: 7.8kg  |  Material: Plastic, metal, fabric | Assembly required: Yes| Warranty: 2 years | Development claims: Encourages physical development | Age: 10 months+

Reasons to buy 

  • 4-in-1 multi-use 
  • Grows with your child 
  • Range of safety features 
  • Well-made
  • Useful design features 

Reasons to avoid 

  • Awkward to fit in the boot of a car
  • Some report that parts can be stiff

What Mumsnet users say 

“DD is two next week and I have a balance bike and a trike. The trike has been used daily this year. She loves it. We can walk miles. She jumps on and off and it’s easy for me to push. The handle will eventually come off when she can reach to peddle but we are a while off that. So it's more a pushchair replacement. Bag on back and easy to manage her walking and that.” Icedaisy

Our verdict

Favourite features? TP toys 4-in-1 deluxe trike is more than a fun toy; it is practical, multi-use and ideal for toddlers as they become more independent. Starting at ten months, it is perfect for school runs and walks to the park. Just pop out the canopy to protect your child from the sun (or, more likely, rain), pop your water bottle in the holder and store any bags in the secret compartment and away you go. 

The best part about this trike, and why it wins our top spot for best overall, is that it grows with your child. Starting as an infant trike, it moves effortlessly into a guided trike, to a training trike, to a balance bike with its removeable control handle, adjustable seat, foldable footrest and pedals for when they're ready to zoom off on their own. Some previous customers say adjustments can be tricky to master at first, especially as the parts can feel stiff to move and remove. However, we're sure you can agree that with a little UB40, it will save you money until they're ready for their first bike.

If you're worried about safety, you needn't be. TP toys have ensured they added a three-point safety belt, removeable safety bar and shock-resistant wheels as a barrier between your child and bumpy road surfaces. We know it's a little more expensive than other options on this list. However, that money buys you years of use, a sturdy frame and a trike designed with your child in mind. 

2. Best budget-friendly toy for two-year-olds: Orchard Toys Red Dog, Blue Dog

A picture of Red dog, Blue dog game.

Price on writing: £9.40  | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Dimensions: H25cm x W5cm x D22.5cm | Material: Cardboard | Assembly required: No| Language: English | Educational objectives: Numeracy and Literacy | Age: 2-5 years 

Reasons to buy

  • Budget-friendly 
  • Educational value
  • Simple rules 
  • Durable 

Reasons to avoid 

  • Some reported damaged boxes on arrival online. 

What Mumsnet users say

"red dog, blue dog - brilliant game made by orchard toys. A kind of picture lotto and even if you don't play quite by the rules you can take turns turning over the cards etc." sjcmum

Our verdict

Favourite features? Orchard Toys have been making puzzles and games for nearly 50 years; teachers, parents and children love them for being educational and fun. The Red Dog, Blue Dog matching game is no exception. 

Multiple Mumsnet parents and reviews talk about how much their two-year-olds love this versatile matching game. After all, the rules are not only simple but adaptable. Depending on your child's skill level, you can match by picture or colour, and as they grow in confidence, practice their speech by asking them to read or repeat the words to you. The cards feature everyday objects in different colours and are made to last even against the most determined toddler. 

Mumsnetters spoke so positively of this game and Orchard Toys in general that we struggled to find anything negative to say. It's a fun way for children to develop their skills in matching, memory and turn-taking, which is why it gets top marks all round. 

3. Best educational toy for 2-year-olds: First 100 Words Board Book

A picture of the First 100 Words book cover.

Price: £5.59 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Dimensions: H27.5cm x W2cm x D27.6cm | Reading Age: 1-2 years | Publisher: Priddy Books | Pages: 14 | Type of book: Board | Development: Language and communication

Reasons to buy

  • Affordably-priced
  • Educational 
  • Part of a series 

Reasons to avoid 

  • Too big for children to hold independently 

What Mumsnet users say

"Books of words, '100 first words' type of thing. He loves telling me what all the pictures are and learning new words" ShinyShinyShiny

Our verdict

Favourite features? My First 100 Words by Priddy Books is both educational and budget-friendly. Its colourful, durable design makes it appealing to toddlers as they pour over the pictures and, with your guidance, begin to pick up fundamental reading and speaking skills that'll set them up for school. 

The board book is meant to be read together due to its larger design, allowing you to settle down with them and have fun together. However, if you prefer something other than board books, Priddy Books have a broad collection in this series. You can choose from Soft to Touch and Lift the Flap. You can also tailor your choices to their interests and needs by selecting from 100 words on different topics like animals, numbers, shapes and colours (to name a few!). You can even buy them in a collection for the perfect Christmas present! 

4. Best STEM toy for 2-year-olds: Magformers First Magnetic Construction

A picture of Magformers inside and outside the box.

Price on writing: £39.99 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs 

Dimensions: H28cm x W6cm x D24cm | Weight: 800g | Material: Plastic | Number of pieces: 30 | Age: 18 months+ | Educational Objective: Fine motor skills, maths 

Reasons to buy

  • Versatile 
  • Language booklet included
  • Build cards included
  • Can buy additional sets
  • Simple to use
  • Interest maintained for years

Reasons to avoid 

  • Expensive

What Mumsnet users say

“Magformers - my two-year-old and six-year-old play with them every day.” Emptycup

"DS2 has just turned 3, and he loves his older brothers Magformers." Equimum

Our verdict

Favourite features? STEM toys help children learn more about science, technology, engineering and maths through play. Magnetic pieces that can be made into 3D and 2D shapes, Magformers is an approved STEM toy – and is loved by kids.

This starter pack, containing 30 colourful squares and triangles, is a fun way of introducing two-year-olds to geometry and simple maths. It comes with building cards for creating 3D models such as a rocket, heart and fish – or whatever your child wants to make. It is also perfect for building hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, covering various developmental milestones for your child. 

This set is suitable for preschoolers and comes with a booklet to help teach shapes and colours. For keen builders, you can buy more sets and accessories for making even bigger and better creations. 

5. Best for car loving two-year-olds: VTech Toot-toot Drivers Garage

A picture of VTech's car garage.

Price on writing: £49.99| Buy now from John Lewis 

Key specs 

Dimensions: H29cm x W66cm x D36cm | Weight: 2710g | Material: Plastic | Assembly required: Yes Educational objectives: Fine motor skills | Age: 12 months+ 

Reasons to buy

  • Appealing design 
  • Includes a car 
  • Moving parts and sounds 
  • Two levels of play 

Reasons to avoid 

  • Some previous customers report that instructions are difficult to follow 
  • Some previous customers report that it doesn't feel solid 

What Mumsnet users say

“Both my DC spent hours from the age of 2.5 for the oldest and 18 months for the youngest playing with it. It started with us building the track and them pushing cars around it to them as they for older building larger and more elaborate tracks. It's still used now at eight and six and we have loads of sets. But be warned it is really annoying as it all makes noises.” Bubblysqueak

Our verdict

Favourite features? The VTech Toot-Toot Drivers Garage has plenty to keep your child entertained, with one Mumsnetter claiming their child still plays with the toy at age eight. 

The two-storey garage is built for children with the need for speed. Included as part of the garage is a stock car, which can be used to visit the tuning station for a top-up of fuel or electricity, the shop for supplies and the car wash for a fresh clean. Your two-year-olds will love racing up and down the ramps and speeding through the six Smart Point locations that interact when driven over. We guarantee kids will love the lights, fun sound effects and songs (be warned though - these tunes can get stuck in your head!). Playing with the garage encourages imaginative play and develops fine motor skills.

If they love this set, you won't have to worry about birthday or next year's Christmas ideas either, as there are a range of cars, animals and tracks you can buy to make the set even bigger and more interactive. 

6. Best toy for farm fanatic 2-year-olds: Battat Big Red Barn

A picture of Battat's Farm Barn.

Price: £24.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Dimensions: H33.2cm x W27.94cm x D22.86cm | Weight: 1700g | Material: Plastic | Educational Objectives:  Imaginative play, communication and language, fine and gross motor skills | Age: 18 months+ 

Reasons to buy

  • Childhood classic
  • Opens up
  • Includes animals and farmer
  • Portable
  • Easy tidy up 
  • Made for little hands

Reasons to avoid 

  • Previous customers said the door can be stiff to open 

What Mumsnet users say

“Battat big red barn animal farm from Amazon. She loves it.” Moobar

Our verdict

Favourite features? No toy collection would be complete without a farm playset. Toddlers love animals, and the Battat Big Red Barn is the perfect size for little hands. 

The set comes with a horse, cow, sheep, pig and a farmer for hours of pretend play, which can help to improve concentration, and attention span and develops social and motor skills. We love that the barn folds together for easy storage and has a handle for moving around the home or taking it away with you. Some parents reported that the doors were stiff and could be tricky for children to open, so be aware that some help may be needed. 

7. Best portable toy for 2-year-olds: Playmobil 1.2.3 My Noah’s Ark

A picture of the Playmobil Noah's Ark set.

Price on writing: £21.41 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Dimensions: H32.5cm x W20cm x D22.5cm| Weight: 1160g | Material: Plastic | Batteries required: Yes - CR123a batteries| Age: 18 months+ | Educational Objectives: Fine and gross motor skills, imaginative play and social skills 

Reasons to buy

  • Easy to hold 
  • Portable carry handle
  • Has longevity 
  • Easy to clean 
  • Ideal for an advent calendar

Reasons to avoid 

  • Not all religious characters included, for example, an angel or a shepherd 

What Mumsnet users say

“The 1.2.3 is great. We have the Noah's Ark and our two-year-old loves it. Chunky, easy to hold/manage and can go in the bath! It will last till they're older as it has intrinsic play value as people, animals etc.” Inappropriateraspberry

Our verdict

Favourite features? Playmobil toys are great for imaginative play and have many play sets to suit all children’s interests. Playmobil 1.2.3 is their range for younger children, and My Noah’s Ark comes highly recommended by Mumsnetters. 

There are 18 pieces – the ark, two figures, ten animals, including elephants, giraffes and lions, and other accessories - perfectly sized for little hands. Kids will love getting the animals in and out of the boat and lining them up in pairs. 

What’s great about this toy is that all the parts fit inside the boat, and it locks to keep them all tidied away at the end of the day. A handle makes it easy to move around or to take it away on holiday.  

8. Best baby doll toy for 2-year-olds: Baby Annabell

A picture of Baby Annabell.

Price on writing: £64.99 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs 

Dimensions: H43cm | Weight: 1380g| Material: Plastic | Batteries required: Yes 3xAA | Age: 3 years+ | Educational Objective: Social, emotional and personal skills 

Reasons to buy

  • Makes realistic sounds and movements
  • Soft body 
  • Comes with accessories
  • Part of a series 
  • Easy to use 

Reasons to avoid 

  • More expensive than other doll options 

What Mumsnet users say

“At that age, mine loved Baby Annabell. She has a soft body so easy to change clothes. There’s also a boy version of Baby Annabell. You can get loads of accessories too. My DD had a baby walker, cot, plenty of outfits and bottles.” Kanaloa

Our verdict

Favourite features? For children who like to play Mummy and Daddy, Baby Annabell has a vast range of dolls to suit all children and all ages, including soft newborn babies, dolls that burp, snore and go on the potty, and even Baby Annabell’s brother Alexander and big sister Sophia. 

Although the range is more expensive than other doll options, its high-quality and realistic noises and movements set it apart. Baby Annabell is designed to move and sound like a real baby; she laughs, cries, needs to be rocked to go to sleep, fed and burped.  This is an excellent opportunity for your child to develop early personal, social and emotional skills. 

Included as part of the package are a bib, bottle, dummy, rattle, and her first outfit. Parents rate this as a gift, making it easy to decide on next year's presents with so many other models to buy and a wealth of extra accessories. 

9. Best creative toy for 2-year-olds: Easel

A picture of a John Lewis Easel.

Price on writing: £32  | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs

Dimensions: H83cm x W53cm x D43cm | Material: Wood | FSC Certified: Yes | Assembly required: Yes | Age: 3 years+| 

Reasons to buy

  • Chalkboard and Whiteboard
  • Magnetic 
  • Eraser and four magnets included
  • Develops a range of skills
  • Longevity of use

Reasons to avoid 

  • Does not include chalk 

What Mumsnet users say

"She also got an easel at 2 with its also very loved." 17caterpillars1mouse 

Our verdict

Favourite features? By the age of two, children have already begun to draw and write lines and circles. So, why not give them a safe place to record their ideas? Even though they may not be writing complete words yet, or drawing pictures you can recognise, encouraging them early on develops their fine motor skills and their language and communication skills.

Plus, easels are versatile toys that will be loved for many years. As they grow older, they can use it as a teacher's whiteboard, practise their spellings on the chalkboard or show off their creativity by creating a display of their work with magnets - the world's your child's oyster with an easel. Just don't forget to buy some chalk! 

10. Best imagination toy for 2-year-olds: Melissa and Doug Scoop and Service Ice Cream Counter

A picture of Melissa and Doug's Scoop and Serve Ice cream set.

Price on writing: £49.99| Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs 

Dimensions: H8.51cm x W30.48cm x D40.64cm | Weight: 2000g | Materials: wood and plastic| Assembly required: No | Age: 3 years+ | Educational Objectives: Social and fine motor skills 

Reasons to buy

  • All parts include (28 piece)
  • Can be used indoors or outdoors
  • Includes a scoop, menu and money
  • High-quality
  • Durable 

Reasons to avoid 

  • More expensive than other options 
  • Some previous customers were disappointed there was no where to place the money or menu 

What Mumsnet users say

"Melissa and Doug Ice Cream Set - I've yet to meet a toddler who didn't love it." CakeCrumbs44

Our verdict

Favourite features? Melissa and Doug have been creating high-quality, screen free and imaginative toys for 30 years. Their Ice cream set is no exception. 

Made from high-quality wood and plastic, the set isn't cheap, but we think you'll agree its worth the money because included in the package are a counter, ice cream flavours, toppings, cones, an ice cream tub, spoon, tongs, menu and money. Whew - that's a lot of bang for your buck! 

Mumsnet and previous customers all agree that this ice cream set is immediately loved by children. All we'd suggest is that it might need a tub to keep the money safe as there is no designated feature on the counter. 

11. Best play kitchen for 2-year-olds: Ikea Toy Kitchen

A picture of Ikea's play kitchen.

Price on writing: £89| Buy now from Ikea

Key specs 

Dimensions: H109cm x W72cm x D40cm| Materials: Wood and plastic | Batteries required: 4xAA | Assembly required: Yes | Age: 3+ | Educational Objectives: Personal, social and emotional, fine motor skills and communication 

Reasons to buy

  • Hob lights up 
  • Grows with your child
  • Removeable sink for easy cleaning 
  • Easy assembly

Reasons to avoid 

  • Food and batteries additional costs 
  • Easily chipped if too rough with it 

What Mumsnet users say

"I bought my DD a play kitchen for her 2nd birthday, absolute hit and will last for ages." Vicky1989x

"Depending on budget, a toy kitchen can give good use for the full year. That's what we got DS on second birthday and he enjoyed it on and off throughout the year. Very reasonably priced options too (IKEA for example)." Hodan85

Our verdict

Favourite features? A play kitchen is one of the highest-recommended toys on Mumsnet forums in 2022 for its versatile opportunities for role play.  However, with such an enormous variety available at vastly different prices, it can be hard to decide between the options. 

That's where the Ikea kitchen comes in with its light-up hob (that doesn't get hot!), over, prep area and sink. Any buddy master chef will love playing with this for hours and years to come. Make sure you've stocked up on AA batteries and have some utensils and toy food ready! John Lewis has a great wooden toy set created by Casdon Morphy or this wooden fruit set

12. Best construction toy for 2-year-olds: LEGO DUPLO Classic Brick Box

A picture of Duplo's starter set.

Price on writing: £19.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Dimensions: H18cm x L37cm x W18cm | Weight: 1010g | Pieces: 65 | Age: 2 years+ | Educational Objectives: Social, cognitive and fine motor skills 

Reasons to buy

  • Creative gameplay 
  • Longevity of use 
  • Toy storage box 

Reasons to avoid 

  • A basic set, so may require additional sets for more creative fun 

What Mumsnet users say

“Both DTs love DUPLO. It’s one of the few things they’ll sit and play together without fighting for hours, and it really encourages their imaginary play.” MuchTooTired

"He loves duplo, so I think thats another good shout." FilthyforFirth

"I think Duplo is always brilliant for a 2yo" Fivemoreminutes1

Our verdict

Favourite features? Lego is a brand that has established itself as a children's classic, loved by adults and children equally, and their Duplo sets for toddlers are no exception. Promising hours of safe, creative play, your child can let their imagination run wild and create all kinds of structures and creatures. 

Popular amongst Mumsnetters, this starter box has 65 classic bricks, two figures, a car, windows, a roof, two loaves of bread and some flowers, all conveniently stored in their Lego-shaped storage box (to avoid any feet-related accidents). To get started, your toddler can be inspired by the booklet of building ideas or bring their own imagination to life. The only problem is they'll love it so much they'll want to add more sets to the collection! That's Christmas sorted. 

13. Best train set for 2-year-olds: Brio First Railway Beginner Pack

A picture of Brio's starter train set.

Price on writing: £35.99 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs 

Dimensions: H29.5cm x W39cm x D12cm | Weight: 1520g | Materials: Plastic and wood| Number of pieces: 18 | Age: 2 years+ | Educational Objectives: Social, language and fine motor skills 

Reasons to buy

  • Brand loved by Mumsnetters
  • High-quality 
  • Part of a series 
  • Durable 
  • FSC certified 

Reasons to avoid 

  • More expensive then alternative train sets 

What Mumsnet users say

“I think the Brio train set is good at this age. Can buy small and, if they like, add to it over time.” Caspianberg 

"A wooden train set was our great hit at Christmas when DD was two! And I swear it got played with every day for the next three years. You just can’t go wrong. It’s a present they really grow into." theclangersarecoming 

Our verdict

Favourite features? Wooden train sets have been around for years, but children still love building tracks and watching trains go round. BRIO’s My First Railway Beginner Pack has been designed with toddlers in mind so they can start creating tracks as young as two years old. 

The 18-piece pack makes a simple circular track easy enough for toddlers to build and it comes with a wagon that makes a fun noise as it goes round. There’s also a colourful bridge and ascending track so children can watch the train go up and down. 

The great thing about BRIO is you can buy lots more tracks, trains and accessories to connect together so children can keep on creating and expanding their own little world.

14. Best garden toy for 2-year-olds: Playgo Sand and Water Table

Price on writing: £22.50| Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs 

Dimensions: H60cm x W53cm x D53cm | Weight: 1830g | Materials: Plastic | Assembly required: Yes | Pieces: 20 | Age: 2 years+| Educational Objectives: Social, numeracy, language and fine and gross motor skills

Reasons to buy

  • Sturdy, lightweight design 
  • Easy to set up 
  • Accessories included 
  • High-quality 
  • Plug holes for easy drainage 
  • Portable

Reasons to avoid 

  • Need to buy additional safe play sand 
  • No cover to protect it 

What Mumsnet users say

“Look at getting a sand table (or sand and water table) instead of an actual sand pit. They are much cheaper, portable (so you can move it around the garden to a shady area in the summer) and less cumbersome and ugly.” PoptartPoptart

"She loooves her water/sand table though and will happily play with it even in the winter months" Chrissywakeuup

Our verdict

Favourite features? A sand and water table are popular for Mumsnetters and their toddlers, especially in the summer. Perfect for keeping cool and getting outside. Although, some parents report that their two-year-olds still use it in the winter too! 

Versatile, portable and easy to set up, children can use the included boats, spade, sand sifters and water wheel attachment to make full use of the duel-basined table—one side for sand and one side for water. The only downside is that sand is not included, so it's up to you whether mud is the way to go or if you'd like to purchase additional play-safe sand! We recommend a sand or water table for two-year-olds as it promises hours of outdoor, screen-free fun and is reportedly a reliable favourite based on customer reviews. 

15. Best puzzle for 2-year-olds: Melissa and Doug Animal Sound Puzzle

A picture of Melissa and Doug's sound puzzle.

Price on writing: £15.99| Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs 

Dimensions: H30cm x W22cm x D2cm | Material: Wood| Batteries required: 2 x AAA | Age: 2 years+ | Educational Objectives: Problem solving, language and fine motor skills 

Reasons to buy

  • High-quality finish
  • Full-colour animals 
  • Eight different animal sounds 

Reasons to avoid 

  • The noise function is sometimes unreliable 

What Mumsnet users say

“Melissa and Doug have a nice variety. They're usually on Amazon.” Onetwothreeadventure

“Jigsaw puzzles - Melissa & Doug do some beautiful wooden ones.” IggyAce

Our verdict

Favourite features? When it’s time for a break from the noisy toys, a puzzle can encourage independent play and help to develop skills like problem-solving and logical thinking. The Melissa and Doug Zoo Animal Sounds Puzzle is a great introduction for children.

There’s eight animal pieces to take in and out, with a wooden peg on each one to make them easy to grip for smaller hands. Each piece makes a realistic animal noise to make the puzzle even more fun. Melissa and Doug puzzles are well loved by Mumsnetters and children play with them time and time again.

What skills does a child need to learn? 

To become successful adults, children need to learn the following: 

  • Communication and language (listening, speaking, reading and writing)
  • Physical (fine motor skills like eating, writing, getting dressed, and manipulating objects and gross motor skills like standing, walking, running, and jumping)
  • Personal, social and emotional skills (regulating emotions, taking care of themselves and building healthy relationships)
  • Literacy (reading, writing, speaking)
  • Mathematics 
  • Cognitive skills (critical thinking and problem solving)

What should a two-year-old be able to or learning to do?

Now, we'd like to preface this section by saying children develop at different speeds, and this should not be used as a definitive measure but as a guide. Your child may be learning these, racing ahead or be in the process of working up to them. That's normal.  Some children learn to walk quicker than they can talk, others find problem-solving easy, whilst some are more independent socially. Children aren't robots; they're each completely individual. That said, if you do have any concerns about your child's development, contact your GP. 

By age two-years-old your child should be: 

  • repeating and copying speech 
  • growing in independence
  • beginning to play alongside other children with an interest
  • composing short sentences of two-four words that make sense
  • naming objects around them, including body parts
  • recognising familiar people 
  • following two-step instructions 
  • Sorting objects based on basic 2D shapes and colours
  • Finishing sentences from familiar books 
  • Playing pretend 
  • Building 
  • showing signs of left or right-handed preference 
  • running, kicking and throwing a ball overhead
  • jumping and landing with two feet
  • climbing up or down furniture independently 
  • stringing small items 
  • holding a pencil (not necessarily correctly)
  • drawing lines and circles
  • uses utensils with increasing independence 
  • drinking from a cup without a lid 

This list is incomplete, so here are several resources we've used and other useful websites: NHS, Early Years Matters, CAMBs and UNICEF

How can play help your child develop? 

Child-led play is how your child learns about the world. Through play, they explore, discover, decide their interests, and learn new skills. Your role in their play is to watch, interact when invited, model good play behaviours and speech, and guide children to challenge themselves by trying new things with help. Children are constantly learning and absorbing everything going on around them. If you'd like to understand the value of play further and discover some easy and free ways to aid your child's development check out the NHS's advice on baby development and learning through play. 

What do two-year-olds like to play with? 

Well, it depends on the child and their individually developing interests. It's a very long game of trial and error. However, children at age two may be showing interest in the following: 

  • Imaginative play through dolls, stuffed toys, play kitchens and cars. 
  • Problem-solving using puzzles, memory games and shape sorting. 
  • Talking whilst sharing a book, singing songs or manipulating finger puppets.
  • Building using blocks, playdoh and construction toys. 
  • Creative play like drawing and stringing beads. 

What's the best gift for a two-year-old?

The best gifts for a two-year-old are within your budget, based on the child's interests and are age-appropriate. Check out our top three product list at the top of this page for our best overall, budget and educational toys. You might also like to look at tablets for kids, board games and fidget toys for gift ideas for older children.

What is the best toy for a 2-year-old? 

The best toy to buy for a two-year-old, as recommended by parents, is the TP Toys 4-in-1 Deluxe Trike. We love that it grows with your child and can work as an alternative to a buggy. Parents start by pushing the trike with the handle, and then as they get bigger and more confident, your child can begin pedalling themselves before eventually taking complete control. The trike can be used from as young as nine months up until age five, so you’re sure to get lots of bang for your buck.

How we chose our recommendations  

Recommendations at Mumsnet are made using a well-thought-out three-step verification process that ensures all products, information, and guidance are up-to-date, balanced and honest. 

Mumsnetters recommendations 

Step one in creating our article on the best toys for two-year-olds involved mining real parents' recommendations on Mumsnet's forums. We looked for multiple recent positive reviews of the same toy and excluded any that had numerous examples of negative feedback—that way, our initial list was comprised of toys that were absolute family favourites. 

Expert opinion 

We then cross-referenced that list with the opinion of industry experts using product reviews and comparison websites, blogs and print media. We looked for toys that had received awards, excellent safety ratings and positive press across several sources to whittle down our longlist. We also used experts to research our buyer's guide to answer frequently asked questions accurately and signpost valuable resources. 

Verified customers reviews 

This is where we established our final shortlist. We scrutinised and evaluated verified customer reviews and kept detailed records of the pros and cons of each item so that we could ensure our product write-up was honest and well-balanced and that the toys we recommended were safe and reputable. 

Celebrated toys 

The toys that make up our guide to the best toys for two-year-olds in 2022 have been carefully selected, recommended by parents, approved by experts, rated by previous customers, and, most importantly, loved by children. 

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.