Ride-on toys: Your child will still love wheeled toys he can push himself along on such as tricycles and wagons pedaling is probably more than he can handle. Look for ride-on toys that are well balanced. Cargo holds that allow your child to pack and unpack for his trips are a nice feature. (Review)
Balls: Balls continue to be a favorite, but even more so now that your toddler can target her throws. A few kids this age even make the occasional catch. Set up a couple of wastebaskets as “hoops” and the two of you can have a rousing game of basketball. Or establish two goal lines and introduce your child to a simplified version of soccer.
Art supplies: Invite your child to be creative. Set up an area in your home where it’s okay for him to be messy. You can prompt his artistry by asking your toddler to draw certain things: The sky, or grass, or even what the sound of rain looks like. Bring out washable tempera paints and some broad brushes and watch how these additions charge up the creative process. (Review)
Percussive instruments: This is the age when music inspires dancing, clapping, spinning, hopping, even shouting so why not add to the cacophony by handing over a tambourine, or drum, or rhythm sticks? Experiment with different genres of music and invite your child to conduct or beat out an accompaniment. (Review)
Dress-up clothes: Pretend play starts to take off about now. Designate a drawer or a box for dress-up clothes and stuff it with an assortment of shirts, skirts, hats, high-heel shoes, whatever might inspire some imaginative romps. If nothing else, it’s a great excuse to put stuff on and take it off an exercise 2-year-olds seem to love.
Child-size household equipment: Toys for dramatic play need to be realistic. So buy a set of toy dishes, pots and pans, and plastic food. Set up a small table and chairs where your child can host tea and dinner parties. Acquire a small broom, or even a little vacuum cleaner, to make cleanup fun. (Review)
Construction toys: Your child may become interested in new construction possibilities. Consider giant building blocks or play sets with pieces that can be linked or snapped together. Your child can create buses, trains, or entire farms, complete with furnished houses. (Review)
Puzzles and manipulatives: Your child’s new dexterity has opened up many new play possibilities. He can more easily organize cups so that one nestles inside another, assemble four- or five-piece puzzles, use a set of plastic keys to open doors in a plastic house, and dress and undress a doll outfitted with laces, snaps, and buckles. (Review)