Two-year-olds are full of energy, enthusiasm, and growing independence. A great deal of time is spent exploring his environment and testing his limits. Your child’s emotions take on a roller coaster-like quality as he can go from happiness to anger within a few moments. Your child has the desire to try out new ideas and test his independence while still staying close to you as he still needs your support and comfort.
Along with independence, your will recognise new language skills developing in your child. He can now speak in short sentences and has become more decisive; telling you what he needs or wants. His memory is improving and he may be able to tell you at the end of the day about an activity he did, or what he had for lunch.
Your child’s social skills are growing which gives him the desire to interact with other children. Toddlers are energetic little people, so look for toys and activities that give yours a way to channel his energy.
Ride on Toys
Children love to take items along with them on rides and store them in the compartments of the riders. Help your child select a “friend” to take for a ride, or pack a little snack to enjoy on a break.
Puzzles and sorters
At this age, your toddler’s hand-eye control and ability to think and plan is developing at a rapid rate. Providing quality shape sorters in bright colors allows your child to fit the shape through the slot and take the lid off to start all over again.
Your child’s new dexterity allows him to more easily stack toys and organise cups so that one nestles inside another. Provide activities like Melissa & Doug Wooden Geometric Stacker to encourage his improving fine motor skills.
Providing more complex puzzles with at least four or five pieces encourages problem solving skills and helps your toddler develop concentration.
Toys for creation and play
Your child will love exploring his creativity using his hands (and body if you are willing to clean up a mess!). Providing art supplies like finger paints is a way for your child to express his inner artist. Roll out some paper, put a smock on him, and let him dive in! Another easy way to create is simply providing a set of crayons and paper. Let him strengthen his fine motor skills, and you can work on drawing shapes and identifying his colors, letters and numbers.
Your child may become interested in construction and building toys. Toys with pieces that can be linked or snapped together are particularly interesting. Your child may be able to create wonderfully unique houses, towers, bridges, castles.
Your two year old will still love balls, and may even be able to throw to you. Use a ball in the backyard to kick into goals and practice doing gentle throw and catch games.
Imitate real life
Provide toys that encourage your child to use his imagination and develop his creativity and social skills. Kitchen toys, tea sets, tool sets—they all help your child learn about the world around him by bringing it down to size.
Let your child participate in household tasks by providing washcloths, brooms and a little vacuum cleaner that are sized for his little hands. He will be very satisfied helping mum take care of the house, and it’s a fun activity to do together.
Children love to sing along with, dance to, and control the music – blasting the volume and turning it down low. Providing some child-appropriate CD’s and a durable CD player are highly recommended for easy fun and a tool for distraction if your little one needs a new activity.
Songs with actions are particularly important – they improve coordination and stimulate the memory and imagination. Playing familiar tunes over and over establishes a comfortable routine with your child and he will inevitably learn the words and movements to the song – adding to the fun.
This is the age when music inspires your child by jumping, clapping, spinning, and hopping. Why not add to the fun by handing over a tambourine, or drum, or maracas? Experiment with different genres of music and invite your child to join in.
If you’re trying to decide on the best toys for your 2 year old, why not check out Hello Charlie’s great range of toys? We’ve got lots of wonderful, eco friendly and education toys for toddlers!
First published September 2013, updated October 2016. Copyright © Vanessa Layton
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