I asked my online villages for some help in determine our favorite toys for our two-year-old kids. This now completes the series I have of the best toys for those under one, and for three-year-olds. What about four-year-olds and up? Well, I’ll have to wait until I have a four-year-old to figure that out….
Outdoor Mud Kitchen
When I was little, one of my favorite things to do at my grandparent’s farm was to play with the huge old tractor tires leaning against the shed next to the chicken coop. They were usually somewhat full of water, and my cousins and I would toss things we’d find in the yard into them, and then stir it with a stick to make soup, and maybe dare each other to drink it. To my recollection, no one ever died for this. I do have a lot of cousins though, so I’m not sure if we’d have noticed if one went missing. Anyway, I loved pretending to make soup outside, and while this isn’t a gigantic old tractor tire, my guess is my kid just won’t know what she is missing.
Large Tractor Tire
This is a joke. See recommendation above.
Little Tikes T-Ball Set
So the primary reason I bought this for my kid is I’m not at all athletically inclined. Like embarrassingly bad at anything involving hand-eye coordination. I rarely ever hit a ball pitched to me when I was little. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that was probably due to me having really bad eyesight. (In 2nd grade I got glasses, and when I went outside to ride my bike home I was astonished that you could see individual leaves on trees. I thought trees just looked like brown sticks with a green blob on top – just the drawings you would do as a little kid). Anyway, Anais didn’t take to this too much, but I have a lot of hope for Gisele who seems like the most athletically inclined of my kids.
I strongly recommend this for your little ones! When Anais was two, this was her favorite activity. It didn’t matter if it was raining or cold out – she wanted to go down this slide. I know many people clean them up and then take them indoors in winter for their kids. We were too lazy to do this, but I agree the idea has merit.
Outdoor Basketball Set
See the t-ball set explanation for why I got this. I do like the adjustable height feature so it can grow with your little one.
Based on the frequency of use in our house, maybe I’d recommend this for a significant other versus a toddler? One thing I really like about this toy is that everything easily fits into the cart, so you don’t have to try to find all the toys later. That is, if your kid actually puts it away correctly. Good luck with that.
Outdoor Toddler Picnic Table
This is perfect for outside for your little one. Anais loved having her own table. It also is an excellent way to ensure that any dogs you have get ample nutrition. I speak from experience here.
These are amazing, and based on the cost, this is the ideal present from someone else (Grandma, I’m looking at you right now). But it’s worth it! This summer, almost every night after dinner, Anais would go outside and play in her house. She has spent so much time in there. We don’t have this exact one, as the one we had on Amazon was twice as expensive given it’s only from third party sellers.
I read that these sold out earlier during the pandemic, and I wasn’t surprised. It’s perfect for having your toddler exercise while indoors. When Anais starts jumping on the couch, we just tell her to go jump on the trampoline instead.
It’s never too early to train your kid to clean the house. Anais loved this set when she got it nearly a year ago, and she still plays with it. Everything actually works. I have grabbed her broom and dustpan more than once, as it was closer to me than the real broom. I also am unsure if we actually own a dustpan other than this toy one.
Woofer Hound Dog Guitar
I think I’ve purchased at least five of these so far. It’s not that it breaks, and we replace it, but we just keep buying them for other people. My niece had one of these first, and my husband and I thought it was so cool, that the next time we had a toddler’s birthday, we bought it, and we just kept this up. I’m pretty sure we bought this for Anais before she was even born. If you aren’t getting the sense, it’s pretty fun for adults as well as kids.
Musical Farm Set Toy Barn
I really love this brand of toys. The music isn’t nearly as annoying as some other brands. This is how I judge toys these days. When Anais was two, this was one of her favorite toys.
Hape Master Workbench
My neighbors had a version similar to this and their 3-year-old wasn’t playing with it much. So took it for Anais. What’s amazing is that at home, neither my husband or I are particularly handy, but Anais is obsessed with fixing things. She recently spent an entire day carrying her tools around, in case her toys would break, and she often “fixes” her toys with these tools to make sure they don’t break for her.
My toddler LOVED these. I say past tense here, because we won’t buy them for her anymore. She loved them so much it would result in major tears every time her bath was over. So hopefully, your toddler will love them too, but ideally slightly less than mine did.
So these aren’t just for raves anymore. Toss a handful in the bath, turn out the lights and have a party. Or you could quickly flick the lights on and off to re-create the raves of your youth.
And the Practical Stuff…
Kids Step Stool
What is nice about this type of stool is that it’s lightweight, so your toddler can carry it around, and get into all sorts of trouble. (Dare I mention the time I was feeding the twins, noticed I didn’t see Anais for a few minutes, and went into the kitchen, where I found she had used her step stool to crawl onto the kitchen counter and was just casually sitting on the knife block?) But it is helpful for them to be able to use these to wash their hands and turn lights on and off. I think we have at least three of these in my house right now.
You’ll eventually get tired of holding your kid up with one hand while trying to help them wash their hands. Or your back will start hurting. No? Guess it’s just me. But if you think that could be you – pair this with the stool above and your life gets just a tiny bit easier.
Please don’t let your kid grow up to be that awkward adult who needs to covertly inquire about a fork at a Japanese restaurant, or even worse, tries to use them when they can’t, ending up with some pricey tuna on the floor.
I may have saved the best for last here! We have used this in our kitchen almost daily for the last year and half. It’s perfect to let your toddler “help” with dinner. I swear, it’s actually easier to let them help when they are two vs. when they are three. When Anais was two, I could set her up with this, and I could put frozen peas in a bowl, and ask her to put the frozen peas (or whatever you have) in another bowl. She’d stand there for 30-minutes painstakingly moving each individual pea from one bowl to the other bowl. This kept her attention and let me actually cook dinner. Then, at around 3-years-old, I try the same activity. She looks at me and dumps one bowl into the other. So yeah, I need to up my game here. But regardless, the Kitchen Helper really allows your kids to be part of the action, and it’s safer for them than standing on a kitchen chair. Although there are different variations of this, I strongly recommend getting one that folds up. We don’t have a big kitchen, and we used to fold it up and put it by the stairwell out of the way each day. We don’t bother doing that anymore – it just lives in the middle of the kitchen as a tripping hazard to keep our lives more exciting.
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