Older Toddlers (2 Year Olds)

All Toys


  • Beginning of cooperative, social play.
  • Increasing interest in pretend play.
  • Love of physical, active play.
  • Child prefers action toys, toys that produce movement or sounds by child's own efforts.
  • More realism preferred:
    • begins to pay attention to qualities of objects.
    • prefers toys with working parts.
  • Toys should be lightweight enough for easy lifting, carrying.
  • Bright colors preferred.
  • Toys should meet safety regulations for age:
    • sturdy, unbreakable; not likely to break into small pieces and strong enough for child to stand on or in.
    • non-toxic materials.
    • no sharp or points or edges.
    • too large to be lodged in windpipe, ears, nostrils.
    • no detachable small parts.
    • no parts that could pinch or entrap fingers, toes, hair.
    • not put together with easily exposed straight pins, sharp wires, nails.
    • no electrical parts, unless supervised by adult.

Active Play


  • Push and Pull Toys
    • pull toys with strings.
    • doll carriages.
    • wagons.
    • small light wheelbarrow.
    • interest in push toys that look like adult equipment- lawnmower, vacuum, shopping cart.
  • Ride-On Toys
    • interest in realistic-looking ride ons- tractors, motorcycles.
    • ride ons with storage trays or bins.
    • ride ons propelled by bouncing up and down.
    • when children begin to pedal (around 1 1/2 - 3) small tricycle.
  • Outdoor or Gym Equipment
    • all gym equipment needs adult supervision.
    • tunnels.
    • climbing structures and slides.
    • stationary rather than moving outdoor equipment.
    • wings with curved, soft seats and restraining straps.
  • Sports Equipment
    • sleds sized to child (shorter length than child's height).
    • spinning seat.
    • pool toys (tubes, mats) with adult supervision.
    • balls of all sizes, but especially large balls. (All balls given to this age group should be at least 1 3/4 (44millimeters)    in diameter; however, if any object appears to fit easily in the child's mouth, keep it away from the child.

Manipulative Play


  • Construction Toys
    • solid wooden unit blocks.
    • large, hollow building blocks (cardboard, wood, plastic).
    • large, plastic bricks (2-4 inches or 50-100 mm) to be pressed together.
    • plastic interlocking rings; large plastic nuts and bolts.
  • Puzzles
    • fit-in puzzle:
    • 2 to 2 1/2 years, 4-5 pieces.
    • 2 1/2 years - 3, 6-12 pieces.
    • puzzles with knobs easier (knobs should be firmly attached).
  • Pattern Making Toys
    • peg boards with large pegs.
    • color cubes.
    • magnetic boards with shapes, animals, people.
    • color forms (from around 2 1/2).
  • Manipulative Toys
    • fit together toys of 5-10 pieces.
    • nesting toys with multiple pieces, including barrel toys that require screwing motion.
    • number/counting boards with large pegs.
    • shape sorters with common shapes.
    • pounding/hammering toys.
    • smelling jars.
    • color/picture dominoes.
    • simple lotto matching games based on color, pictures.
  • Dressing, Lacing, Stinging Toys
    • large colored beads. (All beads given to this age group should be at least 1-3/4 inches (44mm) in diameter, however if any object appears to fit easily in the child's mouth, keep it away from the child.)
    • lacing card or wooden shoe for lacing.
    • dressing books and dolls.
    • frames, cubes for lacing, buttoning, snapping, hooking.
  • Sand and Water Play Toys.
    • bathtub activity centers.
    • nesting tub toys.
    • tub toys with removable figures, accessories.
    • linking tub toys.
    • small boats (no metal parts).
    • small and large sandbox tools (with blunt edges).
    • water/sand mills.
    • sprinklers.

Make Believe Play


  • Dolls
    • soft-bodied and rubber baby dolls.
    • more realistic dolls with hair and moving eyes.
    • dolls to fit in child's arms; also small, realistic dolls.
    • talking dolls operated by pulling string.
    • large peg dolls.
    • doll accessories - simple and sturdy.
    • care taking accessories - bottle, blanket.
    • simple removable garments (hook and loop, large snap fasteners).
  • Stuffed Toys
    • soft, pliable animals.
    • mother and baby combinations.
    • preference for realistic animals, replicas of familiar characters.
    • toys with music box inside.
  • Puppets
    • soft hand puppets (hand-and-arm puppets too large).
    • lightweight, sized to fit child's hand.
    • puppets doubling as stuffed toys.
    • puppets doubling as stuffed toys.
    • puppets representing familiar characters.
  • Role-Play Materials
    • dress-ups and costumes.
    • equipment should be realistic-looking.
    • child-sized equipment - stove, cooking board, refrigerator.
    • all housekeeping equipment - cleaning sets, pots and pans, bath and laundry.
    • toys that can be pushed - vacuum, lawnmower, shopping cart.
    • full-length mirror.
  • Play Scenes (Including Small Figures)
    • familiar, realistic-looking scenes - farm, garage, airport.
    • scenes with multiple pieces but not highly detailed.
    • preference for moving parts, parts that make noise.
    • interior of scenes easily accessible.
    • vehicle sets with figures.
  • Transportation Toys
    • small, realistic cars (not metal).
    • vehicles with moving parts.
    • large trucks (metal too heavy) - moving parts, parts operated by large lever (with knob on end).
    • cars, trucks with removable figures, accessories.
    • small trains with simple coupling mechanism - no tracks.
  • Projectile Toys - not suited to age group

Creative Play - Arts, crafts, music


  • Musical Instruments
    • all rhythm instruments - bells, rattles, cymbals, drums, triangle, rhythm stick, sand blocks, xylophones.
    • horns and whistles (around 2 1/2).
  • Art and Craft Materials
    • large crayons.
    • non-toxic paints (finger and tempera) and short handled brushes with blunt ends.
    • clay.
    • sturdy markers.
    • blunt-end scissors.
    • chalkboard, large chalk.
    • colored construction paper.
  • Audio-Visual Equipment (Adult Operated)
    • operated by adult; tapes, records, CDs.
    • hand-cranked music box if cranked music box if crank is large and easy to turn.

Learning Play


  • Games
    • lotto matching games based on color pictures.
    • dominoes, especially giant dominoes.
    • board games based on chance - only a few large pieces or pairs.
  • Specific Skill Development Toys
    • simple teaching toys for:
      •  matching/sorting, shapes, colors, letters/sounds, numbers, concepts.
      •  all electrically powered toys need adult supervision.
  • Books
    • sturdy books with heavy paper, cardboard pages. 
    • short simple stories with repetition and familiar subjects.
    • simple pictures with clear color, few details.
    • pop-up books.
    • hidden picture books.
    • dressing books.