22 of the best toys for 2 year olds

Our pick of the top toys for boys and girls aged 24 months and up

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Your 2-year-old is full of energy and curiosity. They can solve simple problems through trial and error and often like to ‘practise’ an activity over and over until they have got it the hang of it. At 2, children also start to pretend more during play, using familiar objects and situations to copy the grown-ups in their lives.

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So what kind of toys suit a 2-year-old best? First things first, it’s got to be indestructible. Like, really indestructible.

And fun, obviously. Ride-on toys get a big thumbs-up, as do anything that lights up or beeps when you press its buttons. Puzzles and simple construction toys can also come into the mix, now that your child’s hand-eye coordination is improving.

Although it doesn’ have to be plastic and noisy to light up a toddler’s eyes: we’ve found lots of great wooden toys, too.

Here is our pick of the best toys for 2-year-olds, as tested by children and rated by parents:

1. Musical Hop Out Mizzie Music Box, £25.20

Age: 2+

What it is: A retro-style jack-in-the-box toy. Wind the lever and, to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel, out of the 13cm-high tin pops soft and furry Mizzie the kangaroo,.

Why we love it: This classic surprise toy was an absolute winner with our toddler tester Taran, 2, who loved the anticipation of watching Mizzie pop up from the box. “He kept saying ‘Again! Again!’ He thinks it’s hilarious and couldn’t stop laughing,” says Taran’s mum Samantha. This toy was an easy pick for our Top 100 Xmas Toys 2020 list.

Available at: Mizzie The Kangaroo and Amazon

2. John Lewis & Partners Wooden Fruit Set, £16

Age: 3+ (but fine from 2+ with adult supervision)

What it is: A set of 6 wooden fruits in halves, plus a 16cm-wide wooden chopping board and knife. Each piece of fruit is joined together with Velcro to allow for easy ‘chopping’.

Why we love it: We like how colourful and robust this little set is. And our toddler testers looked so thrilled to be ‘slicing’ the fruits in half – although 1 was quite perplexed that you didn’t peel the banana!. The Velcro can get a bit full of fluff over time – but you can easily rub it off.

Available at: John Lewis

3. Playmobil 123 Dump Truck, £24.99

Age: 18 months+

What it is: A plastic dump truck that comes with a shape-sorting garage, a driver figure and a sandbag, box and barrel for loading onto the truck. The brightly coloured garage is large enough (20cm x 13cm x 30cm) to fit the truck and accessories inside.

Why we love it: Reuben, our 2-year-old tester, loved the tilting tipper and the garage doors that open and close. And his mum Zoe liked how, if you park the truck in the garage, the shapes fall through the shape sorter onto the tipper. Nice and rugged – and good value for money. We picked this for our our Top 100 Xmas Toys 2020 list.

Available at: Playmobil and TrendyBaby

4. LEGO DUPLO Town Submarine Adventure Bath Toy, £17.99

Age: 2+

What it is: A chunky 24-piece set that fits together to make an underwater arch with seaweed and a submarine that you can submerge in the bath. Comes with 2 diver figures, a clownfish, a whale, a seagull and snorkel, flippers and underwater camera for the divers.

Why we love it: Not only does it float, our toddler testers discovered, it also releases bubbles when you submerge it underwater – as does the little clownfish! A well-pitched toddler construction toy with the potential for loads of extra play fun.

Available at: LEGOJohn Lewis and Argos

5. Stick-O Forest Friends Magnetic Set, £24.99

Stick-O Forest Friends Magnetic Set

Age: 18 months+

What it is: A 16-piece set of chunky shapes that can be joined magnetically to create a host of woodland creatures, including a bird, rabbit, caterpillar, flowers and tree. Each magnetic piece is made from wipe-clean BPA-free plastic.

Why we love it: “This is an excellent STEM toy with lots of open-ended play options,” says Pooja, mum to toddler tester Kaiden, who played calmly with the set for over an hour. “The magnets rotate so always connect in any combination. I’m very impressed with this toy’s simplicity and efficiency.” So are we; it’s on our Top 100 Xmas Toys 2020 list. 

Available at: Stick-OKidly and Amazon

6. LeapFrog Scoop and Learn Ice Cream Cart, £49.99

Age: 2+

What it is: An interactive push-along 63cm-high trolley stacked with ice cream combos for your child to create and serve. Comes with 6 activity cards you can insert into the cart to hear ice-cream orders to make and then ring through the till. Requires 3 AAA batteries (included).

Why we love it: It’s a definite toddler play magnet and the ‘magic ice cream scoop’ which recognises all the different colours and flavours on offer really ‘wowed’ our little testers. The activity cards are great for reinforcing colours and numbers and we like how the cart pretend-gobbles up all the left-over ice cream.

Available at: Amazon, Smyths Toys, Argos and The Entertainer

7. MURO Mega Board, £189

Age: 12 months+

What it is: A large (75cm x 33cm) wooden ‘busy board’, made from birch and rubber wood that you can place on the floor or fix to a wall. Comes with a peg sorter, bead maze, door, peg slider, handle, traffic lights, latch, abacus and xylophone that you can secure to the frame or take off as you like. Some self-assembly required.

Why we love it: It’s colourful, durable and packed with so many different things to touch and move and play with that it more than lives up to its hefty price tag. “My daughter Hallie’s so excited by this toy,” says Leigh, mum of one of our toddler testers. “She keeps going back for more! There’s so much to do on it – and it’s definitely a toy that’s made to last.” We were so won over by it, it’s made our Top 100 Xmas Toys list for 2020.

Available from: Muro and Babipur

8. LEGO DUPLO Number Train, £12.99

Age: 18 months+

What is it: A buildable, wheeled locomotive and 3 carriages (37cm long in total), with numbered bricks to load on board. Comes with 2 child figures and a very cute cat.

Why we love it: It’s a colourful train that’s easy to build and push along, and introduces numbers and counting in a fun way. It was a real hit with our toddler testers and also with the children who put it through its paces in our MadeForMums product tests – popping 1 of the figures in (and out) of the train’s cab is definitely one of the top attractions! Nice and light, too: would be a good toy to stash in a carry bag when you’re travelling.

Available at: LEGO, Argos, The Entertainer and Sainsbury’s

9. Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Ride-On, £59.99

Age: 18 months+

What it is: The classic toddler ride-on car (82cm x 40cm  x 77cm), with working wheels, horn,’ignition switch’ and open-and-close petrol cap. Comes in a variety of colours and looks, including the Classic (pictured, left), Fairy, Dino (pictured, right),  Police Response and Princess Horse & Carriage. Some self-assembly required.

Why we love it: The Cozy Coupe has selling like hotcakes since 1979 –  and that’s simply because it’s a toddler magnet. There’s something about the open-and-close door, the perfectly pint-sized seat, the steering wheel and the tall roof that pretty much every 2-year-old is drawn to. Our toddler testers’ parents recommend you give yourself plenty of time to put it all together, though.

Available at: Little Tikes, ArgosSmyths Toys, Asda and Amazon

10. Bee Smart Wooden Vehicle Set, £23.99

Age: 18 months+

What it is: A set of 9 hand-painted 8cm-long vehicles in a little case, all made from responsibly sourced wood. Vehicles include a fire engine, police car, ambulance, ice cream van, London bus, black taxi and recycling truck and all have rolling wheels.

Why we love it: We’re impressed by the quality these little vehicles at this price. They are also perfectly sized for toddler hands: our tester Xavier, 2, played with them all day, even at bathtime. Which, ahem, was how his mum Lyla discovered that they’re robust enough to survive a dunking in water. A surefire pick for our Top 100 Xmas Toys 2020 list.

Available at: Bee SmartDotty Hippo and Amazon

11. VTech Toot-Toot Drivers Fire Station, £32.99

Age: 12 months+

What is it: A 33cm-high and 45cm-wide interactive fire-station set that includes 6 interchangeable track pieces, a spinning fire pole, a slide, a lift, a spinning disc launcher, flip-open windows, a pop-up fire and a swinging flag. Comes with a fire engine that has a moveable ladder. It also plays tunes and, when the engine rolls over any of the 4 SmartPoints in the station, says phrases, such as ‘I’m a brave fire truck!’ Requires 2 AAA batteries (included).

Why we love it: It’s easy to assemble (though best done away from your child, as there are lots of stickers to stick on before it’s good to go). And our toddler testers loved how much there is to do and hear and play with. It’s compatible with other Toot Toot sets and vehicles, too. There are 2 noise settings, by the way – though you might not find the ‘quiet’ one quite as quiet as you’d really like…

Available at: Smyths ToysBoots and Selfridges

12. Orchard Toys Big Bus Jigsaw Puzzle, £11

Age: 2+

What it is: A big (59cm x 42m) 15-piece floor puzzle of a bustling British red bus. Comes with a learning guide on the back of the box.

Why we love it: The big pieces are super-sturdy, wipe-clean and fit together well. And the parents of our toddler testers really liked that there’s so much detail in the completed picture: there’s masses to point out, count and talk about when the jigsaw’s complete.

Available at: Orchard ToysAmazon and Ocado

13.  Melissa & Doug Animal Rescue Shape Sorting Truck, £16.99

Age: 2+

What it is: A 26cm x 17cm x 11cm wooden safari truck with 2 rangers, and 7 animals that each fit into to the truck, each though a differently-shaped hole in the side.

Why we love it: Well, it’s a truck and a shape-sorter, with extra alligator/elephant/hippo/giraffe/lion/zebra/rhino animal action. It’s a great toy for encouraging hand-eye co-ordination and shape recognition, as well as being a good springboard for all sorts of imaginative play (it comes with some nice play ideas). We also like that there’s a female ranger figure, as well as a male one, and our toddler testers were delighted to discover that the cargo door lifts up so you can unload the animals.

Available at: Amazon and Argos

14.  John Lewis Cleaning Set, £12

Age: 2+

What it is: A colourful, toddler-sized cleaning playset, including a mop and bucket, broom and dustpan and brush.

Why we love it: This high-quality set’s perfect for the toddler who loves ‘helping’ with household chores – our testers were beside themselves at having an actual mini mop bucket they could fill with water! Great value, too.

Available at: John Lewis

15. Ozbozz My First Scooter, £19.99

Age: 2+

What it is: A 64cm-high trainer scooter that adjusts from 4 wheels, to 3 wheels to 2, as your child gets older and more co-ordinated. The handlebar height is adjustable and the whole scooter folds in half for easy storage. Comes with a small tool kit. Choose from Blue & Green (pictured), or Pink and Yellow. Some self-assembly required.

Why we love it: It’s light, easy to ride and excellent value for money. The unanimous verdict from our testing session was that this is a brill starter scooter for toddlers. It’s nice and quick to assemble, too.

Available at: Argos

16. LeapFrog Pick-up & Count Vacuum, £32.99

Age: 2+

What it is: A 58cm-high plastic pretend vacuum cleaner that lights up, counts and sings as it sucks up 10 colourful plastic dust pieces. It has 3 modes of play that teach colours and numbers, and a music button that activates songs about counting, colours and cleaning up. Requires 4 x AA batteries (not included).

Why we love it: Our toddler tester Lola, 2, was in raptures when she saw this and played with it, on and off, all day – though it took her a wee while to work out how to pick up the ‘dust’. We like the balls inside that bounce as you vacuum and the play-mode games are fun. Lola’s mum Holly notes that it works best on a hard floor rather than carpeted one.

Available at: LeapFrog, Smyths Toys and John Lewis

17. Tobar Wooden Stack n Sounds Train, £19.99

Age: 18 months+

What it is: A classic pushalong shape-sorter toy with a modern touch: sounds effects, activated by pushing the funnel. Both carriages and the engine have pegs for the 13 coloured wooden stacking shapes. Requires 2 x AG13 batteries (included).

Why we love it: Our toddler tester Joel, 2, spent ages humming happily to himself as he pushed his train along and played with the shapes. He also loved the 3 train noises. His mum Ijeoma most rated the stack and sort feature. “It’s great for problem-solving,” she says. “There are loads of ways to stack the shapes!” We picked this train set for our Top 100 Xmas Toys 2020 list.

Available at: Grizzly Kids and Tobar

18. Steggy the Fine Motor Dino, £15

Age: 18 months+

What it is: A 22cm-long plastic stegosaurus with holes along his back for 10 brightly coloured, numbered spikes. The spikes store inside the Steggy’s body between plays.

Why we love it: Louise, mum of our toddler tester Charlie was impressed by how long her son played with Steggy and how often he came back to it thoughout the day. “I think it’s great,” she says. “I’ve not really seen other toys that improve your child’s pincer grip like this.” Do note, though, that you may have to hold Steggy steady while your child puts the spikes in; it can move about a bit otherwise.

Available at: Learning Resources, Bright Minds and Primary ICT

19. Green Owl Toys Wooden Helicopter, £8.50

Green Owl Toys Wooden Helicopter

Age: 1+

What it is: A dinky 8cm-high wooden helicopter featuring rotating wheels propellers and rolling wheels. Designed in Britain and made from wood from European managed forests. Also available with a red or white propeller and contrasting wheels.

Why we love it: It’s simple but has universal toddler appeal. “It’s a really cute wooden toy,” says Kelly, mum of Tristan, 2, our toddler tester. “The hole for the window makes it the perfect shape for little hands to hold; Tristan enjoys running it along the floor on its wheels alongside his cars.”

Available at: Green Owl Toys

20. Fisher-Price Little People Babies 1-2-3 Babies Playdate, £44.99

Age: 18 months+

What it is: A sizeable (64cm x 52cm x 34cm) folding, take-along playset with all sort of things to press or twist to prompt lights, sounds, music and actions. Comes with 3 baby figures, a rocking horse, a feeding table and spoon play pieces. Requires 3 x AA batteries (included).

Why we love it: Gosh, there’s a lot to play with! Our toddler tester Sofia, 2, loved putting the babies down for a nap in their cradle, feeding them at their table and moving them through the door, into the ‘garden’ and down the slide. Her mum, Anita, says of the set, “Overall it’s excellent quality and there’s fun to be had with it for a couple of years, I reckon.”

Available at: Smyths Toys, Amazon and Early Learning Centre

21. John Lewis Wooden Ice Lollies, £12.50

Age: 3+ (but fine from 2+ with adult supervision)

What it is: A set of 6 12cm-high pretend ice lollies on a stick that can each be taken out of (and put back into) their bright blue stand.

Why we love it: Lovely, colourful lollies that are just perfect for toddler pretend play and are well-made enough to last for ages. Our toddler testers all absolutely loved the little bites that are taken out of 2 of them! Great value for money, too.

Available from: John Lewis

22. Stickle Bricks Fun Tub, £19.99

Age: 18 months+

What it is: A tub of about 30 construction bricks of different shapes and sizes, including wheels, axels and faces, that fit together (and come apart) easily.

Why we love it: Stickle Bricks have been around for decades but our toddler testers of today were very taken with them, and were soon building all sorts of cars and animals and houses. Our only little gripe is that size of the tub makes you think you’re going to get a good few bricks than you actually do.

Available from: The EntertainerNext and Very

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