Best Toys for 2 Year Olds UK

Looking for toys for your 2 years old in the UK? You have come to the right place! After extensive research to find quality and educational toys for my son, I have a list of toys we are currently loving or planning to get! 

Between 2 to 3 years old, your toddler is growing day by day into a little human. They have their own mind and ideas. They constantly test out everything, even our patience! 

While choosing toys for 2 year olds, we have to keep in mind a few important criteria. The toys should be age-appropriate toys, educational and aid in development. The toys should also foster independent play and creativity.

Looking for long-lasting toys, certified non-toxic and natural materials are not always easy to find in the UK. But I have a list of them just for you!

Top 4 best toys for 2 years old

At a glance, these are our top 4 toys for 2 year olds in the UK:

  1. Balance bike
  2. Wooden Puzzles
  3. Building blocks
  4. Magnetic Tiles

Best educational toys for 2 years old

When we think of education and development for 2 year olds, it is not about books or school learning materials. It is learning toys that encourage the natural development of their skills and challenges their emerging problem solvings skills and independence.

A 2 year old master new skills daily! They also learn new words every day. They learn all these primarily through play.

educational toys for 2 years old
Educational toys for 2 years old. Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Building Blocks

Building Blocks are one of the toys everyone seems to recommend. This construction toy is the epitome of an open-ended play toy. It allows young children to build anything they want or use it in any creative ways they can think of.

At 2 years old onwards, you will see the building blocks getting a lot of action from your little ones. They learn coordination, problem-solving, concentration, spatial awareness and creativity through blocks play. Add wooden figurines, cars or Schleich animals for an extra dimension to their play.

At an early stage, my son enjoys knocking down the towers we built. Around 20 months old he started to stack them up while declaring “construction”.


HABA Building Blocks

Wooden Peg Puzzles

Puzzles are excellent learning toys to help brain development. A 2 year old will first need to find the correct slots to the pieces. Then they have to coordinate their hand and arm to fit the puzzle piece in.

I have introduced peg puzzles to my son since he was 1 year old. I started with simple one-piece geometric puzzles inspired by Montessori materials.

By 2 years old, we can build up to 9 pieces of puzzles with smaller pegs, working on that pincer grip. Sequencing puzzles are also popular at this age base on their interest in differentiating sizes.

Start by introducing one set of the puzzle at a time. Later when they have mastered them, you may present all the sets at one go.

Melissa & Doug wooden puzzles are one of the affordable choices in the UK.


Wooden Peg Puzzles from Melissa & Doug

Duplo

Lego Duplo is one of the very few plastic toys I recommend. This bigger version of the famous Lego is not only safe for young children but also easier for them. They can use it to practice their hand-eye coordination and dexterity.

Duplo provides opportunities to build various scenarios. The more Duplo you have, the more creative you can get. This construction toy is simple to use and helps to develop your child’s fine motor skills.

This Lego Duplo is also durable, and my son plays with the set from his father’s time which still looks almost new!


Duplo’s My First Alphabet Truck

Magnetic tiles

Magnetic tiles are a popular STEM toy or construction toy as they provide a unique building possibility. This STEM toy will improve your toddler’s fine motor skills, teach them colour recognition and improve their stacking skills. It also develops your child’s spatial awareness and problem solving skills.

This toy is great for both solitary or group play. A  large set of 100 pieces are recommended by many parents to start with. With this amount, you have enough building tiles to build some serious constructions. Magnatiles and Playmags well-loved by parents and kids. This is because their magnets are strong enough to hold large structures.

Magnatiles can be expensive but it is worth it for its quality and magnet strength. This is why it is popular in the UK. Not to mention it lasts for years and kids of all ages love to play with it, so you’ll see lots of playtime with it. These tiles are also compatible with Playmag.

Playmag is another popular but more affordable magnetic tiles. If you are on a budget, this is a great option without sacrificing on magnet strength and quality. The 100 pieces can be bought at the range of 50 – 60 GBP.


Playmags 100 Pieces Clear Colour


Magnatiles 48 Pieces

Matching-pair games

Matching-pair games help the toddler to develop their memory and logic skills. At this young age, a 2 year old can start by matching the body to head. As they grow older, you can move up to more complicated matching cards. Playing matching-games together with your child requires turn-taking and fast interaction, encouraging children to learn social skills at the same time.


Orchard Toys Farmyard Heads and Tails Game

Wooden toys for 2 year olds

I love wooden toys for their inherent quality. Here are the reasons why you should get wooden toys for your toddler:

  • offers a tactile sensation, and children appreciate that. Wood allows the child to come close in contact with nature.
  • It is environmentally friendly, organic and a renewable substance.
  • Wooden toys are durable and can endure rough treatment.
  • Usually, wooden toys do not come with advanced technology such as blinking lights and electronic sounds. These distract the child instead of fostering creativity.

Getting well and sustainably made wooden toys in the UK is possible, and here are my son’s favourites.

Wooden Toys for 2 Years Old, social play
Wooden toys for 2 years old. Photo by Marisa Howenstine on Unsplash

Wooden train and railway tracks set

Wooden train and railway set for 2 years old are one of the popular toys for toddlers. They love to move the train along the tracks, which you have built for them at first. At some point, they will learn to create simple train tracks themselves.

As your child inch towards 3 years old and shows more interest in building the tracks, you can buy expansion packs to add to the set. This will add on a new level to their railway tracks play and.


Brio Classic Train Set

Wooden Nesting / Stacking Boxes

The nesting/stacking boxes check all the points for being both Montessori and Reggio friendly toys.

The child learns size discerning and hand-eye coordination as they stack them up. This toy not only urges them to learn about sizes but also challenges their movements.

This toy also qualifies for open-ended play. The child can use them as little houses for toys dolls, garage for their car or farm for their animals. The possibility is endless!


Grimms Wooden Stacking Boxes

Wooden Grimm’s Rainbow

This open-ended toy made from wood colored in beautiful rainbow color from Grimms is very popular. This is because kids of all ages can enjoy playing with it with endless creative possibility. 

A quick search on the internet and you will find many inspirations on how to use the rainbow. The child can stack it, or use it as enclosures, or use it for marble runs. There are so many ways you can play with the Grimms rainbow!

They are so very lovely to add to the play area, and children enjoy beautiful things too!


Grimm’s Rainbow

Wooden peg dolls

Wooden peg dolls will add a whole new dimension to the children’s toy collection. With the dolls, there are unlimited ways for story-telling or imaginative play.

Thus, if you are serious about fostering independent play, you should add some wooden peg dolls into the mix. They will boost their literacy through role-playing games and encourage more engaged plays.

A few good quality and popular peg dolls to be found in the UK are the Grimm’s 12 Rainbow Friends and Grapat 12 Nins.


Grimm’s 12 Rainbow Friends

Many of the educational toys and wooden toys mentioned above make perfect gifts for 2 years old too. Check out our Best Presents for 2 Years Old for every budget UK to get some inspiration.


Outdoor toys for 2 years old

Playing outdoor is one of the best activity you can give your child. Nature is the best playground and no toys can replace it. That said, you can also buy some toys to use outdoor whilst they explore every nook and cranny.

Also, when it is not always possible to go to nature, playing outdoor at the backyard or the balcony is good alternative. Your toddler can get some breath of fresh air while they play with some things that are only possible outdoor.

Balance bike

Balance bikes are popular here in the UK because of its conducive environment. With good pathways and parks in the vicinity, young children can learn to move around with a balance bike.

Unlike pedal bikes, these bikes are simple without any need of foot pedals or gears. This allows a child as young as 18 months to use it. It teaches and encourages balance and coordination.

When shopping for a balance bike for you 2 years old, find one that has an adjustable saddle seat and handlebar. This allows the bike to grow along with your child.

Balance bikes can be used to up to age five when the kids graduate to a pedal bicycle. By then, they are equipped with the skills of balancing and steering with handlebars. Thus reducing the learning curve of cycling.

At an earlier age, around 14 months, we introduced the Puky Wutsch to our son and he had a lot of fun with it, especially around 18 months. Later, we introduced to him the two-wheeled balance bike from Puky. After a few tries, he surprised us by going off like a little explorer, at 21 months!


Puky LRM Balance Bike

Outdoor Toys for 2 Years Old, Sandpit
Sandpit – Outdoor Toys for 2 Years Old. Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Unsplash

Sandpit

If you have space or a garden, a sandpit is one of the best investment for the kids to play.

Scooping and dumping have always been a favourite of toddlers. They like to experiment with how things work and also build structures or sculptures.

At the sandpit, kids can have all sort of sensory play. It can also be used in creative role-play games. The sandpit can be a mud kitchen or a play store or a restaurant. Sit back and be amazed by what your toddler can come up with.


Wooden Sandpit

Inflated pool and water play toys

Every young child needs a water play activity. You can always set up buckets or trays of water for sensory play. But an inflated pool, especially during summer, will be a bigger hit with your little ones.

Coupled with a few water play toys or just about any items in your household that can go into the water, you will find them having hours of fun.


Intex Paddling Pool

Montessori toys for 2 year olds

Montessori toys focus on being practical and useful for learning and refining a specific skill. Our focus here is to find age-appropriate toys for 2 years old that aid their understanding of the real world. 

I am sharing here some Montessori inspired toys you can find in the UK easily. They are aligned to the Montessori approach yet affordable, and fun to play at home.


Read more at our Best Montessori Toys in the UK.


Schleich animals

Schleich animals are one of the best figurines, being true to details and size. They are well-loved by toddlers and beyond. A 2 year old will start role-playing by playing farm or the likes. They will also incorporate it into their creative play.

They are also very useful for introducing vocabulary. I draw inspiration from the Montessori method of 3 part lessons to teach my son the names of the animals.

First period – name the word / concept. For e.g. this is a horse, that is a car!

Second period – asked to recognize the vocabulary. For example, where is the horse? Bring me the cow, please.

Third period – ask the child to name the object. We carry out this period only when we are sure the child knows it.

We also use picture books or cards for matching when we are going through the second period. My son loves to bring the right animal and match it to the printed version.


Schleich Animals Wild Life Set

Color matching / sorting activity

Around 2 years old, you will find your child getting interested in colours. They will start discerning them and enjoy sorting them. 

You can start by introducing the primary colours first to your toddler. Then build it up to more later as they gain confidence in the skill.

These sorting cups can also be used in open-ended plays or role-playing activities. These extended play adds extra value for the money invested.


Grimms Seven Friends in Seven Bowls

Layered puzzles and complete a picture puzzles

As your child grows in his toddlerhood, he is ready to take on more puzzle challenges. If you have been building up his puzzles skills since he was 1, he is ready now to tackle not only multi pieces puzzle but also multi-layered ones.

Completing a puzzle really brings pride to the toddler. He also learns persistence and patience and sees results in them. 

Layered puzzles help them to learn size discerning. Meanwhile, a real puzzle, albeit a smaller version, will help them train their memory as they try to rebuild what they saw before!


Goki Layer Wooden Puzzle


Haba Fire Engine Puzzle

Geoboard with elastics

Geoboard is one of the toys that promote practical and sensorial activity while working on geometric shapes. These skills are essential for pre-reading and pre-writing activities. The child learns to see shapes and naming them, preparing them to recognize letters and numbers. 

This toy also improves eye coordination and muscle control. Not to forget those pincer grip practice here too! It is also designed to help the child to concentrate from going left to right and top to bottom. Another pre-writing skill!


Wooden Geoboard

Threading / Lacing

Threading or lacing is an excellent toy to challenge a child’s fine motor skills. It also allows them to learn a multi-step activity. The child develops their cognitive and visual perception as they practice their hand-eye coordination with this toy.

This Melissa & Doug kids beading set helps children develop strong fine motor, cognitive, and visual perception skills, while promoting hand-eye coordination.


Melissa & Doug Lacing / Threading Wooden Beads

Child shape/size tools

In a Montessori environment, practical life items such as a cleaning set or a functional washing area are bought or set up in child’s size. Maria Montessori calls play a child’s work. Learning to be functional individuals give the children pride. They love to imitate the adults and also to learn to be independent. 

Useful toys like this require the child to be active and develop their skills. It also helps them to increase social interaction when he joins in to do the work together.

There are a few items you can also get for your home to help your child hone their practical life skills. 

child size tools for 2 years old
Child size tools for 2 years old. Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

Child cleaning sets

Melissa & Doug toys create well made toys for toddlers, so we can be sure this child cleaning set is safe for them to use. 

My son is still playing around with his broom most of the time when he was younger, but I allow him to explore with it as long as he is not using it inappropriately. Now closer to 2, he started to try to sweep up his mess, though he still needs to learn how to do it properly and to completion.


Melissa & Doug Cleaning Set


Melissa & Dough Cleaning Caddy Set

A wheelbarrow and gardening tools

If you have a garden, a wheelbarrow is what every 2 years old needs. They are also active in their transporting schema during this age. You will find them picking up, transporting and then dumping leaves or branches around the garden.


Rolly Toys Wheelbarrow

At the same time, providing them with real gardening tools but in their size will boost their interest in helping out. Toddlers love to mimic the adults and will gain confidence in their independence as they explore working with the tools. Not to forget, the fine and gross motor skills they gain as they play.


Garden Hand Tools in a Carry Bag

Musical toys for 2 year olds

Music and musical toys are one of the best educational toys for 2 years olds. They encourage movement and coordination. They also teach rhythm while improving language, literacy and social skills.

Wooden Musical Instruments Set

If you prefer wooden toys then getting a set like this is perfect. There are a lot of classic instruments for the toddler to experiment with producing different sounds. You can also join in to make music with them, teaching them rhythms and patterns. 


Tidlo Wooden Musical Instruments Set (14 Pieces)

Plan Toys drum

Adding this beautiful wooden drum into the set will make it complete. I recommend this drum often because it makes such lovely sounds. The drumstick with rubber stop is a genius as it gives the hitting a gentle spring. The different sections of the drum also make a nice variation of tones.

It is also not too loud, which was important for younger babies but nonetheless still a good feature with enthusiastic toddlers. The adults will enjoy hitting the drum as well!


Plan Toys Solid Drum

Hörbert

At 2 years old, your toddler is also ready to explore the world of music himself. You will find them repeated, asking you to turn on their favourite music. They will also enjoy just listening to music, flipping through the songs or finding the one that pops into their head. At the same time, you will see them doing dances and all sorts of movements they have learned along with the songs.

Hence it is useful to provide them with a music player that they can play independently. The player is simple to use and lets a toddler learn to play, select and enjoy music whenever they want to. This is also Montessori aligned if you are into them learning practical skills. 

Many of us strive to reduce or not to have screen time at all for our little one, hence enter this beautiful wooden music player. It may be quite some investment but you will find them using it for years to come.


Hörbert – Wooden MP3 player for kids

Activity toys for 2 year olds

There are a lot of activity toys possible for 2 years old toddlers. They now push boundaries and love to pretend play. They are also walking, jumping and learning vocabularies, all of which are perfect for various activities and play.

There are a few types of appropriate activities for 2 years old.

Role-play activity toys

Role play toys are great for education and development of a 2 year old. It not only helps them develop their language but also their social skills. It is also the key to the child’s imagination.

Play kitchen

If you have the budget and space, a wooden kitchen will be a perfect gift for 2 years old. Finding an appropriate sized wooden play kitchen for your toddler is no easy feat, but luckily I found some good ones in the UK.

There are many things one can do and learn there, such as pouring and transferring. Activities such as opening and closing doors or containers are great for motor skills too. My son does pretend play by cooking and offering food to me, once he got into this phase.

There is a lot of fun at the play kitchen be it by playing alone or with others.


New Classic Toys Wooden Play Kitchen


A pram for baby doll

By now, your toddler probably has their favourite doll or a baby doll. Adding a pram to the collection allows them to interact more with it. They can role-play as a caregiver to their baby doll and push them around the house. 

A 2 year old also find themselves in the phase where they like to push things around a lot. This doubles as an excellent gross motor skill activity. 

Movement activity toys 

Toys that encourage activity and movement are important for toddlers. They are currently trying to master all their new skills – walking, running, hopping, balancing and manipulating their whole body. 

Balance bike

As recommended above in the outdoor toys section, a balance bike is great here. It ticks off all the boxes of body movement skills, including balancing and coordination. 

Unlike pedal bikes, these bikes are simple without any need of foot pedals or gears. This allows a child as young as 18 months to start using it.

When shopping for a balance bike for your 2 years old, find one that has an adjustable saddle seat and handlebar. This allows the bike to grow along with your child.


Puky LRM Balance Bike

Pikler triangle

A Pikler triangle is the brainchild of Dr. Emmi Pikler, and it has been one of the pedagogic specific material that has gone mainstream.

It allows children to learn climbing safely, while they practice the combination of skills needed to achieve that. 

For 2 years old, a Pikler Triangle can be used for movement activities, such as climbing up and down, and also sliding down if coupled with a slide. 

Meanwhile, it can also be used creatively in open-ended play. Give your toddler a free rein here and you will find them using it for all sort of activities and creative play. For example, as car ramps, turned around as tent with a cloth thrown over, or as a cave for their figurines.


Pikler Triangle

Wobble board

A Wobble board is actually a toy for just about every age, but at two, this balance board is great for developing core strength and learning to balance. It does not take up much space but can be used to burn all those toddler energy easily!

On top of that, it is actually an open-ended toy itself. With some creativity, toddlers can use the wobble board as a ramp for their cars, or a lazy chair to lie and read, or bed for their dolls. The possibility is endless.


Wobbel Board Original

Arts activity toys for 2 years old

At this age, providing toys that allow your toddler to express and explore their creativity is crucial. You can start by using simple plain art paper and colour pencils or watercolour paints.


Watercolour Paint Set of 12


Stabilo Chunky Colour Pencils


Crayons are also good for young children as they are easy to grasp and marks are results of how hard they press. This serves as a good cause and effect learning. Getting them a natural beeswax crayons are also a plus, especially if your toddler still put things into their mouth once in a while.


Honeysticks PUre Beeswax Crayons

Homemade playdough is also great and easy to make at home. But if you want, you can also buy a German-made toxic-free play dough.


Puky LRM Balance Bike

At a later stage, you can also start introducing child-size scissors for them to learn cutting and pasting

Choosing toys for 2 years old and their development

Choosing toys for 2 years old is a lot of fun. They are curious, walking, improving their vocabulary and motor skills every day. They also learn to problem solve and pretend. All these make them excellent at play. 

When we look for age-appropriate toys for our 2 year old, we should look at how these can aid and foster their development and interest. 

There are some developmental milestones to take note of during this age to help us find the right toys and activities for our 2 year old:

  • Walk, run and learning to jump
  • Throw or kick a ball
  • Balances on one foot
  • Climb on furniture or play equipment, or tree!
  • Walk up and down the stairs independently
  • Growing independence and wants to do things for themselves
  • Show a sign of potty training or toilet learning readiness
  • Start practising snaps and zips
  • Hold utensils and crayons with fingers but grasp may not be quite right
  • Enjoy more complicated pretend play
  • Complete multi-piece puzzles
  • Group or sort toys by type, size or colour
  • Recite favourite books and rhymes
  • Sing their favourite songs by themselves

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Get the right toys for your toddler to develop skills and foster creativity!