If you’re looking for a few ways to inspire creativity and excitement with colorful, hands-on, and age-appropriate toys for the 2023 holiday season, we hope you’ll find this list of gift ideas for 2-year-olds helpful!
We’ve chosen 10 of our favorite top toys for the preschool children in your life based on what makes them each unique, their fun features, and the skills they reinforce. If you're looking for additional help to find the right toy for your little one, visit Melissa & Doug's 2023 Holiday Gift Guide and let it do all the work for you.
The 10 Best Toys and Gifts for 2-Year-Olds
Why it’s a great gift for babies and 2-year-olds: Planning a well-balanced meal is child's play with this wooden play food set—sturdy wooden food set featuring items from the five food groups for healthy pretend play.
Fun feature: Watermelon, corn, milk, cheese, cereal, fish, eggs, and more store neatly in four wooden crates.
Skills: Fine motor skills, item recognition, nutritional basics
How to wow: Fun and educational whether as a stand-alone or as part of a play kitchen.
Why it’s a great gift for babies and 2-year-olds: This 24-piece wooden block cube puzzle for kids is a great introduction to three national parks—Everglades, Arches, and Yellowstone—and the animals that live in each one!
Fun feature: Blocks also have the full alphabet plus extras of some letters so kids can spell out the names of the animals shown on other sides of the blocks and on the included identification guides. Guides include the animal names in English and Spanish, pictures of the completed park scenes, and search-and-find activities.
Skills: Matching, problem-solving, fine motor skill development
How to wow: Pair up this National Parks Foundation toy with any of the other pretend adventure items in our NPF collection.
Why it’s a great gift for babies and 2-year-olds: Jenna is the ideal, sweet smelling, first-born baby doll. Even the youngest caregivers will love this doll’s adorable face and soft, cuddly body—and grown-ups will love her wipe-clean arms and legs!
Fun feature: She has molded plastic hair and is "pretty in pink" from head to toe, in a removable smocked outfit and matching cap.
Skills: Storytelling, narrative ability, empathy, social-emotional skills
How to wow: If one doll isn’t enough for your little caregiver, you could double the pretend parenting fun with our twin dolls, Luke & Lucy!
Why it’s a great gift for babies and 2-year-olds: The always-happy Giddy Buggy caterpillar will bowl you over with his smiling face and this exciting kid-sized bowling set. Little ones can have loads of fun as they set up the eight-inch bowling pins, roll the kid-sized ball, and knock 'em down!
Fun feature: The set includes six bowling pins, an easy grip bowling ball, game instructions, and a sturdy carrying case with handles—made to be used both inside and outside.
Skills: Hand-eye coordination, dexterity, gross and fine motor skills, early counting skills
How to wow: If a Giddy Buggy theme isn’t to your kid’s taste, we also offer a Bowling Friends Preschool Playset with friendly animal pins!
Why it’s a great gift for babies and 2-year-olds: Engage little ones with this Melissa & Doug Classic Toy that's beautifully constructed from high-quality, solid wood. This ultimate shape sorter features 12 chunky, vibrantly colored shapes with rounded edges that are easy for little hands to hold and maneuver.
Fun feature: Each cube fits through a hole of the same shape on the natural-finish hardwood cube. Kids will delight as they drop each shape into the cube, and hear it make a satisfying "clunk" sound. Then they can open the lid, take the cube out and start all over again!
Skills: Color & shape recognition, problem-solving skills, fine motor skills
How to wow: If colorful shape-sorting is an activity your child enjoys, engage them with more colorful, developmental fun via our Geometric Stacker Toy.
Why it’s a great gift for babies and 2-year-olds: Piece together a deliciously cool puzzle and pretend play fun with this innovative combination of wooden puzzle and magnetic pretend play set!
Fun feature: There are 16 wooden magnetic pieces, including ice cream scoops, toppings, cones, containers, spoons, and a scooper. For puzzle play, match the pieces to pictures on the sturdy wooden puzzle board. For pretend play, lift and arrange pieces with the magnetic scooper to create ice cream treats!
Skills: Shape & pattern recognition, problem-solving skills, storytelling and narrative ability, creativity, fine motor skills
How to wow: Promote your child’s creative development with colorful, shape-based picture-making with our Beginner Pattern Blocks.
Why it’s a great gift for babies and 2-year-olds: Everyone is attracted to these magnetic animals! Twenty favorite wild and domesticated animals in a compact wooden case are waiting to play.
Fun feature: Ideal for both home and on-the-go fun.
Skills: Fine motor, sorting, grouping, and storytelling skills
How to wow: You can let your animal-loving kids hang their Wooden Animal Magnets all over your kitchen appliances, or you provide them with a Deluxe Magnetic Standing Art Easel of their own for just such a purpose.
Why it’s a great gift for 2-year-olds: With 100 wooden blocks in four colors and nine shapes, this set gives kids endless options for getting creative. They can stack, build, and count the blocks, and of course…knock ’em all down!
Fun feature: Blocks range from approx. 1" to 2.25"—perfect for little hands!
Skills: Fine motor skills and dexterity, color and shape recognition, pre-math and counting
How to wow: Add to the stacking and counting excitement with Wooden ABC/123 Blocks.
Why it’s a great gift for 2-year-olds: Toddlers and preschoolers will love fitting all 10 chunky wooden pieces into the cut-out shapes of the barn’s walls. Once they’re done, they can flip the barn roof up, reach in for the easy-to-handle pieces, and do it all over again!
Fun feature: This travel-friendly set includes a horse, pig, goat, sheep, chicken, dog, cow, ducks, a tractor, and a farmer.
Skills: Fine motor skills, matching and sorting, creative play
How to wow: Help your child get to know their favorite farm animals even better with Poke-a-Dot: Farm Animal Families!
Why it’s a great gift for 2-year-olds: Toddlers and preschoolers can take peekaboo to the next level with this solid wood pounding bench. They’ll love getting to know their colors while developing their hand-eye-coordination skills with the sturdy mallet that’s included!
Fun feature: Each colorful peg pops up with a cheerful smile every time!
Skills: Fine motor skills, color recognition, confidence
How to wow: Enjoy even more pounding and color-learning fun with the Pound-and-Roll Tower.
Looking for more of the best Christmas and holiday gift and toy ideas for kids of all ages? Check out these blog posts: