Oh, 2-year-olds. The joy! The frustration! The perpetual need for a helmet and full body bubble wrap! While it’s tempting to simply buy them those two things this holiday season, there’s an endless sea of fun and practical Christmas gifts for 2-year-olds to consider.

Forget the notion of the “terrible twos.” We like to think their ability to test every last scrap of patience will serve them well later on (and maybe you too), and conversely, this age can be pretty darn magical and hilarious. For one thing, have you ever seen a 2-year-old “jump”? The level of concentration compared to the generally lackluster execution is absolute comedy. At this age they’re really beginning to work on those mobility skills, running, jumping and sometimes literally climbing the walls. They’re active and energetic and any outlet you can give them will save you all a lot of aggravation.

Related: 8 lies I believed about the terrible twos because everyone said they were the worst

2-year-olds are also truly becoming their own little people. As the baby-ness fades away, their vocabulary seems to expand by the day. They know what they want and can get it/do it/eat it “MINESELF!” thankyouverymuch. They love imitating the people and actions they see around them (for better or worse!) and are starting to get lost in pretend play alone and with peers.

The best Christmas gifts for 2-year-olds align with these milestones and help them grow into the person they’re becoming. They offer opportunities to get the wiggles out and move their bodies indoors and out. They invite them to engage in the world around them and even dip into their own imagination. Climbing structures and sensory tables as well as balance bikes and scooters are great investments at this age. Toys that allow them to pretend or practice their new found motor skills are must-haves as well.

We know it’s hard not to want *all the things* for your two-year-old this holiday season. But since we know mamas don’t have a ton of time to endlessly scroll through Amazon or zig-zag through the aisles of your local toy shop in pursuit of the perfect present, we’ve done some of the work for you.

Below are our favorite items for the two-year-old in your life—it covers their wants, their needs, and many of them encourage their educational curiosity. This holiday season, delight your little one with one (or more!) of these fantastic gifts.

Our favorite Christmas gifts for 2-year-olds

Little Big Playroom Memory Foam Ball Pit

Little Big Playroom

$255

1. Memory Foam Ball Pit

Winter days cooped up with busy toddlers can really put you to test. One seriously fun time killer? This super stylish ball pit. The durable design is made from squishy but sturdy memory foam and a washable cover to provide you energetic tot with a safe place to play or chill. (Ha!)

melissa-and-doug-cleaning-set

Melissa & Doug

$35.99

2. Let's Play House Dust! Sweep! Mop! 6 Piece Pretend Play Set

Toddlers love to help with whatever household chores you are doing. A mop, dust pan and broom just their size allows them to clean alongside you. (After all, chances are good it’s their mess you’re cleaning up.)

Rody Horse

Rody

$64.95

3. Bounce Horse

You know that toddler who seems to be perpetually bouncing off the walls? (So, um, every toddler?) Rody is the perfect way to harness that energy in a fun and safe way. Not only does it promote balance and a fun workout for little wiggle worms, and bouncing is totally encouraged.

Construction Plate

Uncommon Goods

$34

4. Construction Plate

If mealtime feels like negotiating with a tiny tyrant, this may just be a gift for yourself. The divided plate ensures foods don’t touch (the horror!) while super fun construction vehicle utensils help encourage them to try at least a bite or two.

Red & Olive Bundle Gift Set

Red & Olive

$113

5. Bear Bundle Gift Set

Lovey-obsessed tots will delight in this handmade duo and hat to match their new BFF. The set includes the sizable Beary, wearing his oh-so-smart sweater and beanie, a mini bear that’s perfect for on-the-go snuggles and a matching mustard colored beanie for your little one. Each snuggly piece is beautifully handmade by artisans in Peru who are paid fair wages to help break the cycle of poverty in their communities.

Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike

Strider

$119.99

6. 12 Sport Kids Balance Bike

When you are learning to ride a bike, pedaling really is secondary to learning how to balance. Balance bikes are designed for pre-biking toddlers and will build their skills and confidence before they are ready to add pedals. There are tons of options on the market, but one of our top recommendations for 2-year-olds is the Strider Sport. Not only does it fit an impressively wide range of sizes (kids from 30-44 inches tall!), it’s also lightweight (6.7 pounds), easy to assemble and adjustable without tools. (I mean, they really do grow overnight, right?) No-flat tires are always ready to ride and toddler-sized grips make it easy for them to take control. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive than the Strider Classic, but with a post that can extend 3 inches longer and the addition of the handlebar pad, we think it’s worth the extra cost. And, since these high-quality rides can easily last through multiple kids, it’s really just pennies on the dollar.😉

Want more options? Check out The 5 best balance bikes for toddlers that make learning to ride a total breeze 

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Lovevery

$90

7. The Block Set

This block set offers endless possibilities when it comes to playtime. It teaches little ones about colors and shapes and allows their imagination to run wild by letting them create anything they want. The box itself even turns into a wagon that kids can pull around and bring anywhere. Recommended age is 18 months and up, so it’s a good investment that will keep them busy for a long time.

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Green Toys

$39.99

8. Doctor & Ambulance Kit

Paging Dr. Toddler! With this kit budding physicians can tend to the medical needs of their dolls and teddies with an arsenal of tools (all made from recycled plastic, btw), that all packs away into a toy ambulance they can zip from one house visit to the next.

Personalized Night Before Christmas Book

Uncommon Goods

$40

9. Personalized Night Before Christmas Book

What a treasure! Originally written in 1823 for the author’s own children, this edition of the Night Before Christmas poem is personalized with your family’s names to make it extra special.

TOP BRIGHT Toddler Tool Toys

Top Bright

$29.99

10. Toddler Tools Set

This little tool set is ideal for toddlers, it invites role playing which is a huge part on learning how to do things. The truck comes with screws, wrenches, hammers and everything your kid will need to pretend to be working on building something. All the parts come inside a truck that can also be used as a toy itself, with its own little driver. All the parts are safe for two-year-olds and up and will keep them busy while you are doing things around the house, win-win!

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Banana Panda

$21.99

11. Super Size Memory Game

Sometimes bigger is better: That’s the case with this super-sized twist on the classic game of memory. The big cards boasting illustrations of cartoon critters are ideal for tiny toddler hands. Not to mention, the rules are easy enough to follow for game newbies, and littles will hone cognitive skills while they play the game.

Radio Flyer Socks Rolling Pony

Radio Flyer

$39.97

12. Socks Rolling Pony

Radio Flyer has done it again with Socks, their rolling pony, perfect for two year olds. EZ-Glide wheels allow your toddler to create their own motion and the ability to move in any direction. Safe for indoor and outdoor use, we also appreciate the durable, easy grip handles for little hands and super soft fabric when giving Socks a hug after their ride.

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Child's Play International

$7.99

13. My Tail's Not Tired

How can any little monster possibly go to bed when their tail isn’t tired? Luckily Big Monster has a plan to outwit Little Monster with the inevitable result. A humorous and charming bedtime story that parents and children will love to read and play, again and again.

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Micro Kickboard

$94.99

14. Mini Deluxe 3-Wheeled Scooter

There’s a reason you can’t go a single New York City block without a kid whizzing past you on a Micro Kickboard Scooter. They’re not only super well made and easy to ride, they’re also far easier to carry than a tricycle when your two-year-old craps out halfway around the block. The low-to-the-ground and lean-to-steer design make for a smooth ride inside and out, while an adjustable handlebar gives kids room to grow, keeping this one in use up to around age 5.

PIccalio Pikler Triangle

Piccalio

$349

15. Pikler Triangle

Pikler triangles are a staple in Montessori classrooms and have subsequently gained popularity at home as well. Developed as a tool to help improve motor development skills, to forge independent activity, and to allow freedom of movement, they’re endlessly entertaining for toddlers and bigger kids alike. This foldable version comes with detachable ramp that features a rock wall to climb on one side and a flat surface for sliding on the other.

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Ten Little

$46

16. Everyday High Top

Our kiddos love the sneakers from Ten Little almost as much as we do. They’re designed with input from pediatricians and podiatrists with developing feet in mind, so they’ve got plenty of flex and a wide toe box for plenty of wiggle room. They’re easy to put on (with insoles that help guide which foot each shoe belongs to!) which is perfect for fostering toddler independence. But the par they’ll like best? They come with stickers to decorate and make each pair truly unique.

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Crocs

$44.99

17. Fleece-Lined Clogs

Listen. They’re not always a personal fave but there really is no easier shoe for toddlers than Crocs. (Let’s just leave them to their feet, ok?) They’re SO easy to slip on and off and there’s nary a complaint about them ever being squeezy or pokey. And there’s no need to give them up when the temperatures drop, because the fleece-lined version will keep tiny toes toasty and comfortable. Here’s to Crocs all year round!

Veer Cruiser

Veer

$699

18. Cruiser

If your tot is getting restless in the stroller, it may be time to swap for a more versatile stroller wagon. With the Veer, there’s nowhere you can’t go with this hybrid style that combines the ease and maneuverability of a stroller with the classic fun of a wagon. We tested this one on myriad surfaces and especially love the smooth ride (thanks to those big ol’ wheels) and the cup holders. What’s more, they’ve got an entire eco-system of awesome add-ons to make it the ultimate here-to-there contraption. From travel system adapters for the tiniest riders to cold weather kits to keep little ones warm, it’s a splurge that pays for itself in no time.

Want more options? Check out Adventuring with kids? Yes, you need a stroller wagon.

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Lalo

$250

19. The Play Kit

Two is the perfect age for gifting them a place to read a book, create an artful masterpiece, play with some play-dough or work on a puzzle. Minimalist baby gear brand Lalo offers one of the most stylish and versatile table and chairs sets on the market. Useful, fun and easy to sit on for tiny humans, the sets come in a variety of great colors and pairs perfectly with their giant coloring sheets which are designed to completely cover the table surface.

The Dough Project DIY Mix

The Dough Project

$29.99

20. DIY Mix: 3-Pack

Speaking of play dough, this DIY mix 3-pack from The Dough Project is hours of toddler and parent fun. The kits come with all the ingredients (organic wheat flour, sea salt, cream of tartar and veggie oil) to make three batches of natural play dough. The natural dough kits get their color from beets, annatto seeds, turmeric, chlorophyll, spirulina, purple carrots and activated charcoal. So you don’t have to stress about the occasional (and almost inevitable) lick.

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Fat Brain Toys

$19.95

21. Dimpl Digits

The original Dimpl has kept my son entertained for hours, in never ending road trips, long flights and when I need to take a quick shower and have no childcare. This bigger and better version will help children learn how to count up to 10 while learning even more colors.

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KidKraft

$184.99

22. Farm To Table Play Kitchen

Your little one can learn the sights and sounds of the kitchen in this gorgeous play kitchen from KidKraft. They can “grow” vegetables and draw on the chalkboard while cooking up a delicious dish! This is the perfect kind of toy that grows with them, too.

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Melissa And Doug

$26.99

23. Wooden Latches Board

Your little one can unlock a lock or latch, swing open the numbered door and count on finding fun when the picture beneath is revealed on this wooden play board and educational toy! This awesome toddler busy board helps refine motor skills while teaching colors, numbers, animals and more!

Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Giddy Buggy Crawl-Through Tunnel

Melissa & Doug

$42.99

24. Sunny Patch Giddy Buggy Crawl-Through Tunnel

Whether on its own or part of the ultimate fort set up, a play tunnel is endless amounts of fun. When they’re tiny it’s a super engaging way to play round after round of peek-a-boo. As they get older they’ll find tons of different ways to play. From wearing it as a costume to making the spring leap up in the air, it’s always a delight!

Little Tikes Fish n' Splash Water Table

Little Tikes

$49.99

25. Fish n' Splash Water Table

Sensory play is one of our favorite ways to keep toddlers busy. A water table is a great investment at this age and can even be used indoors with rice or bird seed. (Or water of course with plenty of towels on hand!) At under $50, the Little Tikes Fish n’ Splash Water Table is hard to beat in the dollars to fun ratio. It’s easy to assemble and drain when they’re done and entertains kiddos from 12 months on up. Fun features like a tipping fish bowl, launcher and spinning lily pad give them plenty of play options while the included fishing pole, scoops and floating critters help them work their fine motor skills. We appreciate that it comes with just enough toys to keep them busy without overwhelming!

Looking for more options? Check out The best water tables for toddlers and kids

A version of this story was published October 25, 2021. It has been updated.