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21 of the best toys for 2 year olds

Our pick of the best toys suited for boys and girls aged 2 years, which we've tested to ensure they delight, entertain and boost key toddler development skills

best 2 year olds toys

Which toys are best for 2 year olds?

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 (and it's slightly driven you up the wall!). 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 child best? First things first, it's got to be indestructible. Like, really indestructible. And fun, obviously. There's no point a toy having amazing development-boosting potential if it's simply not much fun to play with.

As well a pretend-play toys, and toys that offer opportunities to explore and repeat, ride-on toys get a big thumbs-up, as do anything that lights up or beeps when you press its buttons. Simple puzzles and construction toys can also come into the mix, now that your child's hand-eye coordination is improving.

And of course, it doesn't have to be plastic and noisy to light up a toddler's eyes: there are lots of great wooden toys that are perfect for 2 year olds, too.

To save money on toys check out our best toy deals page to keep updated on the best toy sales.

How to choose and use toys safely

Here's what to look out for when choosing the right toys for your toddler:
  • Look for the CE mark, which is the manufacturer's claim that the toy meets regulatory requirements
  • Look for the voluntary British Toy and Hobby Association's Lion Mark (a red lion inside a yellow triangle)
  • Buy from retailers that you know and trust
  • Ensure the toy is appropriate for your child's age. Small pieces (such as plastic eyes on teddy bears that appear 'fastened on' but aren't properly secured) are choking hazards up to the age of 3
  • Beware of any items that detach or have sharp edges
  • Check toys regularly for things such as loose threads or escaped filling

Best toys for 2 year olds at a glance

  • Great toy for balance and nurturing a sense of independence: Beehive Toys Bumblebee Ride-On, £39.99
  • Great toy for learning colours: CoComelon Colour Learning Sheep, £22.99
  • Great toy for sorting, matching and role play: LeapFrog Count-along Basket & Scanner, £33.99
  • Great toy for creativity, role play and fine motor skills: Playmobil 123 Dump Truck, £24.99
  • Great toy for motor skills and early number and letter recognition: Early Learning Centre Wooden Stacking Train, £25
  • Great toy for pretend play and colour recognition: LeapFrog Scoop and Learn Ice Cream Cart, £49.99
  • Great toy for active fun: VTech 3-in1 Sports Centre, £41.99
  • Great toy for imaginative play and developing fine finger skills: LEGO DUPLO Camper Van, £24.99
  • Great toy for problem solving and colour and shape recognition: Woody Treasures Butterfly Gear Game, £11.99
  • Great toy for learning cause and effect: Musical Hop Out Mizzie Music Box, £25
  • Great toy for role play and social skills: LEGO DUPLO Modular Playhouse, £54.99
  • Great toy for problem solving and dexterity: Muro Megaboard, £189
  • Great toy for early maths skills: LEGO DUPLO Number Train, £12.99
  • Great toy for active play and role play: Little Tikes CozyCoupe Ride-On, £59.99
  • Great toy for role play and dexterity: Bee Smart Wooden Vehicle Set, £23.99
  • Great toy for fun and learning cause and effect: VTech Toot-Toot Drivers Fire Station, £32.99
  • Great toy for dexterity and problem solving: Orchard Toys Big Bus Jigsaw Puzzle, £10.30
  • Great toy for shape recognition and hand-eye coordination: Melissa & Dough Animal Rescue Shape Sorting Truck, £18.49
  • Great toy for pretend play and active fun: John Lewis Cleaning Set, £12
  • Great toy for fine motor skills and creative play: Janos Sweet Cocoon Stacking Stones, £30
  • Great toy for fine motor skills and dexterity: Stickle Bricks Fun Tub, £19.99

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

1. Beehive Toys Bumblebee Ride-On, £39.99

– Great for balance and nurturing a sense of independence

Age suitability: 18 months+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A light (2.5kg) 39 cm x 26 cm x 54 cm ride-on toy with a 28cm-high seat. It has a curved ergonomic shape, rounded comfort handlebars and 4 silent, non-scratch enclosed safety wheels, which can be used on any smooth, level surface, indoors or outside. Minimal assembly required (attaching handlebar with tool provided).

Why we love it: This 'sit and scoot' ride-on bumblebee is eye-catching, feels high-quality and hard-wearing and great value for money. It's a great for honing some early balancing skills and for burning off some toddler energy in the months before your child's ready to graduate to a balance bike or scooter. Kirsty, mum to our child tester Iris, 2, said, "Iris loved riding it round the house, or dragging it up the garden to whizz down the slope. I’m amazed at the quality for the price! It' has really smooth safe wheels – I like the fact that little fingers can't get to any of the mechanisms and get stuck – while the seat has a padded bit that makes for a good ride."

Available from: Beehive Toy Factory

2. CoComelon Colour Learning Sheep, £22.99

– Great for learning colours

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: 2 x AAA (not included)
Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A grabbable 14cm-high white sheep that thrillingly glows a different colour to match the colour of the object it's placed on – and then plays Baa Baa Black Sheep with the ‘black’ changed to its glow-colour. Comes with an 8-colour playmat and can also be used as a nightlight.

Why we love it: It's definitely got the thrill factor – and that’s even before you add in the CoComelon association. Our child tester Eadie, 2, loved dancing and singing along to the music, saying, "My sheep, my sheep!" whenever she wanted to play with it. Eadie's mum Amanda was impressed with how well it helped her get to grips with matching colours. She thought the paper rainbow mat wasn’t very robust (as do we) but we can see that the toy comes a QR code that allows you to print more, if you need to.

Available from: Amazon

3. LeapFrog Count-along Basket & Scanner, £33.99

– Great for sorting and matching and role play

LeapFrog Count Along Basket & Scanner

Age suitability: 2+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: 2 x AAA (included)
Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A 24cm-high shopping basket that comes with 8 pieces of play food and an interactive 'scanner' that recognises each food item as you '‘scan' it. It has 3 game modes based on colours, shapes, counting and food groups. The handle on the basket can also be pulled out to turn it into a rollalong trolley basket. Comes with instructions and 3 scannable double-sided shopping lists.

Why we love it: It's solidly made, brightly coloured, with well-thought-out games (and a friendly, encouraging voice to guide you through them) – but it's the scanner that's the absolute star feature. The fact that it recognises each food captivated all our toddler testers. Donna, mum of child tester Holly, 2, said the toy hadn't left her daughter's side since she got it. "Holly enjoys playing shop," she said, "so this toy with the scanning device took it to the next level. She keeps wanting to show it to anyone that comes round. She is playing with it independently and saying the names of the different food items, so already she is learning from it. I can see great potential for this toy in imaginative play for many years to come."

Available from: Argos and Very

4. Playmobil 123 Dump Truck, £24.99

– Great for creativity, role play and fine motor skills

Age suitability: 18 months+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None

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

Why we love it: We like the bright colours and the simple but thought-through design. Reuben, our 2-year-old child tester, loved the tilting tipper on the truck and the garage doors that open and close. And his mum Zoe liked how, when you park the truck in the garage, and then push the shapes through the shape sorter, they land neatly into the tipper. Nice and rugged – and good value for money.

Available at: Amazon

5. Early Learning Centre Wooden Stacking Train, £25

– Great for motor skills and early number and letter recognition

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 18 months+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Silver, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A ‎10cm x 45cm x 16 cm wooden engine with 2 wagons, all made from FSC-certified wood, that you build from a set of wheels and 15 stacking blocks – 6 of the which have numbers on one side and letters on the other.

Why we love it: It’s sturdy and bright and well designed and with all the colours and numbers and letters, offers lots of stacking and learning opportunities on top of simple push along train play. Meghan, mum of our child Ava, 2, said her daughter adored the train. “She plays with it a least once a day,” she said, “building the bricks into a tower or pushing it around and going ‘choo choo’. She laughs and giggles the whole time."

Available from: Early Learning Centre

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

– Great for pretend play and colour recognition

leapfrog scoop and learn ice cream cart

Age suitability: 2+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: 3 x AAA (included).

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.

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: The Entertainer, Amazon and Argos

7. VTech 3-in-1 Sports Centre, £41.99

– Great for active fun

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: 3 x AA (included)
Awards: Silver, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What is it: An 58cm x 66cm x 44 cm interactive sports centre where you can shoot a basket, net a goal or throw to hit a target (that's round the back behind the scoreboard). The electronic scoreboard counts the shots that score and plays encouraging phrases. It also features buttons to press that trigger songs and encourage learning about shapes and colours. Comes with a pint-sized football, a pint-sized basketball and small throwing ball. Some (tool-free) assembly required.

Why we love it: It's brash and noisy but our child testers loved it! And we really like that it combines educational elements ("find the blue triangle") with all the sporty fun. We also liked the encouraging interaction – and how you can pull the hoop down for a slam dunk! Liz, mum of our child tester Lucas, 2, said, "This toy is amazing, It's's well worth the money and will last for quite some time. Lucas goes running to it every morning. He caught on pretty fast to how to play and was so pleased with himself when he scored. For us, it was amazing that he played with us and even took turns!"

Available from: The Entertainer, Ryman and Argos

8. LEGO DUPLO Camper Van, £24.99

– Great for imaginative play and developing fine finger skills

Age suitability: 2+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Bronze, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A 30-piece playset that includes a camper van with moving wheels and removeable roof, campfire, canoe, teapot, guitar, squirrel, camera and assorted bricks, as well as a fabric tent. Comes with 4 play figures and instructions that include a little picture story.

Why we love it: This little DUPLO set is so well pitched at toddler age with just a few simple things to 'build' (the trees and the camp fire) and stack (canoe on the roof, people on block logs round the fire) and big, chunky accessories to stimulate role play. We like that the camper van can be wheeled around and that it opens up for the figures to go inside – and we love the (sturdy) fabric tent with its opening flaps. Meghann, mum to our child tester William, 2, said, "William particularly enjoys making the family sit on the little chairs while he pours them all tea to enjoy. The tent's also a big hit with hide and discovery play. This set keeps him very busy."

Available at: LEGO and Amazon

9. Woody Treasures Butterfly Gear Game, £11.99

– Great for problem solving and colour and shape recognition

Age suitability: 18 months+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Silver, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A 24cm x 15cm wooden butterfly with removable shape-shorting blocks and cogs that rattle and turn once they're fitted together correctly. Made with non-toxic paints.

Why we love it: It's a beautiful butterfly to look at, with its bright colours and friendly face, and the shapes and cogs are well proportioned for toddler hands and fit together well. There are lots of similar puzzles out there but we think this one's great value for money. We'd say it's probably best aimed at younger 2 year olds, as older ones might find it a little too simple. Pooja, mum to our child tester Amelia, 2, was impressed by its smooth corners and clever design. She said: "It's light but sturdy and well-made – and great for teaching colours and shapes in a fun way. It is also a great way to teach cause and effect."

Available from: Amazon and Woody Treasures

10. Musical Hop Out Mizzie Music Box, £25

Great for learning cause and effect

Age suitability: 2+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A retro-style, battery-free 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," said Taran's mum Samantha.

Available at: Not on the High Street

11. LEGO DUPLO Modular Playhouse, £54.99

– Great for role play and social skills

Age suitability: 2+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Silver, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A 129-piece DUPLO set that builds (in 2 different ways) into a 36cm x 39cm x 10cm house with a kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom – all with opening windows. Comes with 3 family figures, a teddy, a dog and lots of accessories.

Why we love it: We really like how you can build this as a tower, as well as an open-fronted house, and how you can decide which furniture goes where (fridge in the bedroom anyone?). We also love the fun, outsize accessories, like the birthday cake and the rocking horse. Our child tester, Lola, 2, was very taken with the dog and teddy bear, as the opening fridge door and the comfort blankets. Mum, Laura, said, "The adaptability and endless options of this toy make it well worth the money. Lola loves cooking in the kitchen, putting the little kid to bed and even cleaning the windows!"

Available at: Lego and Amazon

12. Muro Megaboard, £189

– Great for problem solving and dexterity

muro

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 18 months+ | Batteries: None

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 2 year-old 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."

Available from: Babipur

13. LEGO DUPLO Number Train, £12.99

– Great for early maths skills

lego duplo number train

Age suitability: 18 months+ | Best for age: 18 months+ | Batteries: None

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, Very and Argos

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

– Great for active play and role play

little tikes cozy coupe

Age suitability: 18 months+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None

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: Argos and Amazon

15. Bee Smart Wooden Vehicle Set, £23.99

– Great for role play and dexterity

Age suitability: 18 months+ | Best for age: 18 months+ | Batteries: None

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.

Available at: Not on the High Street and Amazon

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

– Great for fun and learning cause and effect

VTech Toot Toot Drivers Fire Station

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 18 months+ | Batteries: 2 x AAA (included)

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!'

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: Very

17. Orchard Toys Big Bus Jigsaw Puzzle, £10.30

– Great for dexterity and problem solving

orchard toys big red bus jigsaw

Age suitability: 2+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None

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: Amazon, Ocado and Orchard Toys

18. Melissa & Doug Animal Rescue Shape Sorting Truck, £18.49

– Great for shape recognition and hand-eye coordination

Age suitability: 2+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None

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

19. John Lewis Cleaning Set, £12

– Great for pretend play and active fun

john lewis cleaning set

Age suitability: 2+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None

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

20. Janod Sweet Cocoon Stacking Stones, £30

– Great for fine motor skills and creative play

Janod Stacking Stones

Age suitability: 2+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A set of 20 wooden pieces in a mixture of shapes and sizes with pastel coloured accents and geometric lines, designed to replicate natural stones. They can be stacked in numerous ways.

Why we love it: These stylish 'stones' offer a slightly more unpredictable and challenging alternative to classic building blocks, and are just as much fun to knock down. For toddlers who keep picking up rocks and stones while out and about, these might well be the perfect choice.

Available at: Kidly

21. Stickle Bricks Fun Tub, £19.99

– Great for fine motor skills and dexterity

Age suitability: 18 months+ | Best for age: 18 months+ | Batteries: None

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 more than you actually do.

Available from: The Entertainer and Early Learning Centre

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About the author

Helen is Deputy Editor of MadeForMums, the author of Parenting for Dummies (Wiley, £17.99) and the Head Tester for our MadeForMums Toy Awards. She has written about parenting for Mumsnet, Pregnancy & Birth, Prima Baby, Boots Parenting Club and She Magazine and she's also been Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby. She has 3 boys and a heavy-duty washing machine.

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