Developmentally Appropriate Gift Guide for 2 year olds
BY Alicia mason – for growing kind
Have you been wondering what to get your 2 year old?
We have compiled a list of 2 year old gift ideas that are super fun to play with, and they are developmentally appropriate. As you read through our 2 year old gift guide you will notice we have given you the WHY for each item, and constantly referred to play schemas. Please refer back to our “What are Play Schemas?” to learn more.
A Balance Board
Why? Balance boards are great for balance, proprioception (awareness of the position and movement of one’s own body), stimulating the vestibular system, and assisting with emotional self-regulation on rough days. They can also be used with toy vehicles to explore concepts of movement and gravity. They are designed for children from 18 months plus so it can be given as a Christmas gift before 2.
Kinderfeets Kinderboard – Bamboo
Kinderfeets Kinderboard Natural
Wobbel Original – Bamboo
Wobbel Original – Felted
Why? This puzzle is great for children who are exploring the rotation schema, exploring cause and effect, and introducing language concepts, like “spinning”, “twisting”, and “turning”. It’s also a wonderful fine motor activity.
Why? At 2-3 children are starting to build structures 5-7 objects high. So a proper block set is a wonderful way to encourage this new skill. They may also start to use their imagination to play with a block as different items, such as food or vehicles. So having blocks of different sizes and shapes will be valuable. They may also be used to explore the connection schema, by stacking and knocking down structures, and positioning schema by lining up blocks.
Dress Ups / Imaginative Play
Why? 2 is when make believe play really starts to take off. Some simple costumes and props can really help encourage, and create scaffolding for this type of imaginative play. Butterfly wings can help children explore trajectory schema and even rotation schema in new ways by changing the experience of running and spinning in circles.
Why? At 2 children are starting to draw with pencils. They will enjoy the new medium, and still require supervision. Pencils that are easier to grip and produce a strong pigment are ideal for first explorations with pencils.
Why? At 2 children are likely to enjoy the sensation and process of painting, without necessarily having a product in mind. Finger paints are a great way to explore the feeling and colours of the paint, and how the colours interact with each other, and are a great first sensory toy.
Why? At 2-3 children are starting to play symbolically. With loose parts the opportunities are endless. A dolly peg can be a person, or a stick insect. A wooden ring can be money, or some carrot for a soup, or a monocle. They can be lined up for positioning schema. They can be used to construct something for connection schema. They can be used to make transitional art, or play shop to develop language and social skills.
Why? Autonomy is becoming increasingly important at this age, and at 2-3 children are able to self feed. Having a weaning chair can assist them to feel competent in self-feeding, and may be safer for children who are starting to explore climbing.
Why? Naming and identifying emotions is a new skill at this age, which will serve children well throughout their life. The Colour of Happy is a great book to build this skill. It also has a great rhyme and rhythm to it which will be fun for a 2-3 year old. The Growing Kind book club will also be a great way of building your 2-3 year olds library with board books, or small hard cover books, picked out by a qualified Early Education expert.
This gift guide has been written by Alicia Mason specifically for Growing Kind. You can contact Alicia over at @filltheirbucket