10 birthday gifts for two-year-olds

Your two-year-old is ready to take on new challenges – give them a helping hand with these gifts!

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Photo by Syrie Wongkaew

When it comes to two-year-olds, it can be easy to think that the whole year will be dominated by “the terrible twos.” But rather than dreading those temper tantrums, parenting experts say that we should reframe our thinking and try to see them as opportunities for our tots to learn new emotional and social skills. Being two is tough (even though, from a parent’s perspective, it doesn’t always look this way!), and one of the biggest curveballs is a huge surge of new emotions for our little ones. As well as developing their cognitive thinking, speaking and fine motor skills at this age, they’re learning to play with others, share, take turns, and deal with big emotions like embarrassment, guilt, frustration and anger (and hey, even as adults, we don’t always deal with these perfectly! Imagine being two and trying to figure them out!).

The best way to help our little ones through this transformative phase is to help them learn through play. Creative play, where they engage in role-play, is an excellent way to work through tricky new emotions. Toys that encourage sharing will help your toddler take turns and learn how to be fair. And some toys are just plain old fun – because when you’re two, that matters, too.

  1. WeeCanToo Veggie Finger PaintIf there’s one thing we know about two-year-olds, it’s that they love to stick their fingers into… literally everything. So give them a set of WeeCanToo paints, and let them! We love these paints as they’re completely harmless. Made of organic fruit and vegetable powders, the colors come from natural tints, like beetroot for red, and blueberries for purple (neat, huh?). These are the kinds of paints you don’t have to worry about if your tot decides he’d rather eat them than, you know, paint with them.
  2. Areaware Color Puzzle: Build your tot’s motor skills and imagination with this beautiful puzzle by Areaware. Featuring an abstract design that will stimulate your little one’s creativity and build their problem-solving skills, it’ll provide hours of fun, too.
  3. Plan Toys Tea Set: Here at The Tot, we believe that the best way to learn is through creative play. We love anything that sparks the imagination and encourages fun and creativity – like this cute tea set, from Plan Toys. Crafted from recycled ribber wood and coated in non-toxic water-based dyes, now tea time can be had at any time! The set includes two place settings – teapot, sugar bowl, milk pitcher, 2 tea cups, 2 saucers, 2 tea spoons, 2 tea bags, and 2 cubes of sugar.
  4. Plan Toys BanjoGot a budding musician on your hands? Let them follow their musical dreams with this banjo from Plan Toys. Featuring tuneable strings, this is the real deal, and will allow your little one to indulge their love of rhythm. Bonus: it’s not a drum kit.
  5. Janod Toys Magnetibook – Crazy Face: In one handy box, this gift is perfect for the toddler on the move. Featuring magnetic faces and add-ons, your tot can craft different faces (yep, many of them “crazy”) according to their whims. Endless fun for tots (and, if we’re honest, for grown-ups!).
  6. Anne Claire Petit Organic Fire Engine: We’re suckers for anything from the Anne Claire range, and this adorable fire engine is no exception. Hand-crocheted (but machine-washable!) it even features a bell inside for realistic creative play.
  7. Brio First Railway – Beginner PackToot, toot! All aboard the Brio First Railway set! This simple yet beautifully designed toy railway makes us yearn for our own childhoods, when classic toys like these abounded. As well as instilling in your tot a love of creative play, this set is completely safe for them – it’s made of 100 per cent beech wood and is free of PVC, lead and phthalates.
  8. Green Toys Tug Boat: Crafted from recycled plastic milk containers this tug boat will help your little one engage in imaginative play. There’s no end to the good green fun young sailors can have with the Green Toys tugboat. This colorful craft floats great, and has a wide spout to scoop and pour water. It’s a must-have gift for all budding sailors.
  9. Hape Healthy BasicsThere’s no greater gift than teaching our children to eat mindfully, and this set of healthy food toys from Hape does exactly that. Featuring apple juice, orange juice, eggs, milk, yogurt and cheese, the toys allow children to engage with food as play, making mealtimes a lot easier down the track.
  10. Hape Gourmet KitchenDoes your little one follow you around the kitchen, helping you sift flour and crack eggs and pour milk? Then the Hape Gourmet Kitchen is definitely for them! We adore this super-cute mini-kitchen, made from wood from sustainable forests. The kitchen is the perfect place for tots to express themselves creatively and have fun while story-telling and indulging in creative play. It’s also perfect for playdates – because who doesn’t want to whip up a batch of cookies with their bestie?