Best Educational Toys for Two Year Olds

Encouraging children to play with toys that have a developmental purpose is important. During their first few years, children develop their mental, social, and physical foundation which they will continue to build upon through adolescence and adult life. Two year olds are no exception; this age is crucial for stimulating mental development.

Allowing two-year-olds to explore and manipulate toys on their own encourages imagination and creativity in a way that cannot be taught or demonstrated. We’ll share some great suggestions for STEM and educational toys for two year olds.

Educational toys qualify as anything that both encourages play and stimulates learning for a child. Educational toys offer the ability for growth, development, and mental stimulation, which will stick with your child and enable them to build on previous knowledge, which will increase their academic progression.

What are the best educational toys for two year olds? Let’s explore!

Type of ToyRecommendations
STEM ToysSpike the Hedgehog
Stack Up Cups
Shape Sorter
Wooden ToysWooden Push and Pull
Wooden Shape Puzzle
Wooden Car Ramp
Pretend Play ToysPretend Kitchen
Pretend Phone and Keys
Spray and Squirt Play Set
Toy Vacuum
Motor Skill ToysBuilding Gears
Busy Board
Pounding Bench

STEM Toys for 2 Year Olds

Spike The Hedgehog

Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog - Toddler Learning Toys, Fine Motor and Sensory Toys for Kids Ages 18+ Months, Montessori Toys

This toy is STEM approved and encourages young children to grab, insert, and explore their limits through experimentation.

STEM Specs:

Open-ended play – Gives children the independence to explore the toy in their way

Colorful pegs – Gives children opportunities to learn the color wheel

Motor skill development – By pulling pegs out and inserting them back into the toy

Stack Up Cups

The First Years Stack & Count Stacking Cups - Toddler Toys - Learning and Baby Bath Toys for Kids - 8 Count

Stacking cups are perfect for two-year-olds and toddlers because they offer multiple opportunities for learning and development, as well as coordination and motor skills.

Our youngest loved his stacking cups. They were his go to toy at daycare and at home. We had stacking cups, stacking boxes, stacking rings, etc. If he could put one on top of the other, we probably had it.

STEM Specs:

Open-ended play – Children can stack, line-up, and play with these cups in various open-ended ways, without having to complete a specific task

Counting – Gives children a chance to count as they stack and play with these cups

Colors – Each brightly colored cup is perfect for children who are working on learning their colors

Shape Sorter

Fat Brain Toys Take-Along Shape Sorter - Wooden Montessori Learning Toy, 12 mos+

This STEM toy offers learning opportunities through experimentation and exploration. Learning how to put the shapes into the correct holes and figuring out how to get them out of the box are both advanced skills that two-year-olds may not naturally know how to do.

Years of travel and watching folks unsuccessfully try to fit a bag in a plane’s overhead bin have convinced me that some kids should have spent more time with shape sorters. Life skill development starts early!

STEM Specs:

Shapes – This toy is perfect for children to work on learning shapes in an indirect way

Spacial Awareness – Shape sorters help kids predict if objects will fit within a certain space.

Motor skill development – Picking up and carefully placing each shape inside the correct hole is fantastic motor skill work

Colors – Each brightly colored shape allows children to begin to recognize colors

Related Post: What is a STEM Toy?

Wooden Toys:

Wooden Push And Pull

(Elephant) - Hape Elephant Wooden Push and Pull Toddler Toy,Grey

This wooden toy is simple but offers fun and interactive abilities. The simplicity of this wooden toy allows children to use their imagination and creativity more than other toys might.

Wooden Toy Specs:

Creativity – Due to the neutral colors and simplicity of the toy’s function, children can be creative and use their imagination while playing with it

Motor skill development – Pulling and pushing the toy with the little rope attached to it offers great motor skill development opportunities

Animals – This toy is in the shape of an elephant, which offers children the ability to learn about new and exciting animals

Wooden Shape Puzzle

Magnetic Wooden Educational Shape Puzzle - Learn Colors & Shape Recognition Toy – Toddler Preschool Game – Kids Montessori Education

This wooden puzzle has a direct goal; to place each shape inside the correct space. Using a magnetic grip, two-year-olds will easily be able to place each puzzle piece in its correct space, without too much difficulty.

Wooden Toy Specs:

Shapes – This puzzle offers the opportunity for children to learn shapes
Colorful pieces – Each piece of the puzzle is brightly colored which allows for learning and continued interest

Goal setting – This puzzle teaches children to begin a task and end a task that is easy and clear to understand

Wooden Car Racetrack Ramp

Toddler Toys for 1 2 Year Old Boy and Girl Gifts Wooden Race Track Car Ramp Racer with 4 Mini Car

This wooden ramp offers simple and creative play with open-ended opportunities.

Wooden Toy Specs:

Cause and effect – Dropping the wooden cars on the ramp will teach little ones that if they start the car at the top, it will end up at the bottom of the track.

Colorful pieces – Each piece of the racetrack ramp are brightly colored which allows for learning and continued interest

Wooden Car Ramp Toy
We received this cool Car Ramp as a gift – it’s from Melissa & Doug

Pretend Play Toys:

Pretend Play Kitchen

Play Kitchen Set for Kids Kitchen Playset Toy Kitchen Set Wooden Kids Play Kitchen for Kids Ages 4-8 Realistic Pretend Kitchen Toys for Girls Boys Toddler Cocinas de Juguete Gift for Ages 3+, Natural

This pretend play toy offers real-life opportunities for children to imitate cooking, cleaning dishes, and baking skills in which they have witnessed.

This set is great. I’ll embarrassingly admit I’ve lived in places with a kitchen less cool than this one looks.

Pretend Play Toy Specs:

Real-life experience – Pretending to cook and clean in a kitchen allows children to imitate what they’ve seen adults do, as well as learn skills that will help them in the future

We love to see what our kids (pretend to) cook up in their own little kitchen.

Creativity –This toy will allow two-year-olds to express themselves in a safe and fun environment creatively

Related Post: If you little one is showing an interest in cooking or baking, you can find some edible projects in our post on how to make cooking a STEM activity

Keys and Phone Combo Set

Battat – Sensory Toys – Pretend Phone & Keychain – Toddler Light-Up Phone – Toy Car Keys & Phone – 18 Months + – Light & Sound Phone + Light & Sound Keys

Children often want to hold and play with their parents’ keys and phones. These toys will allow children the opportunity to explore similar objects without putting their parents’ real possessions in danger.

Pretend Play Toy Specs:

Real-life experience – Children can play with, and explore objects that they see their parents using, without risking the damage or loss of the real thing

Creativity – By imitating their parents, children learn how to grow through pretend play, which is an integral part of every child’s developmental foundation

Related Post: Creative Play Activities

Spray and Squirt Cleaning Set

Melissa & Doug Spray, Squirt & Squeegee- Pretend Play Cleaning Set - Toddler Toy Cleaning Set For Ages 3+

Allowing children to learn how to clean in a fun and interactive way is a very beneficial outlet for them to pretend to do what they have witnessed their parents doing.

Pretend Play Toy Specs:

Learning a valued skill – Even though it will be conceived as a play, children will be learning a life skill that will help them as they mature and grow

Imitation – Imitation is a significant part of the learning process for a two-year-old. Because they do not know how to do many things at that age, they often learn through imitating.

Toy Vacuum – Little Helper Dyson

Little Helper Dyson Ball Toy Vacuum Cleaner

As toddlers start walking, having toys that encourage them to move can be a tremendous help. Our first son loved his popper, and our second loved this toy vacuum (just like Mommy’s.)

Pretend Play Toy Specs:

Learning a valued skill – Even though it will be conceived as a play, children will be learning a life skill that will help them as they mature and grow (and hopefully help out with some of the household chores when they are old enough.)

Imitation – Imitation is a significant part of the learning process for a two year old. Kids learn through imitating, and since this looks like the real thing it encourages them to “help” clean. We can’t vacuum without our little guy running to get his vacuum to join in the fun.

Toddler with Toy Vacuum

Note: The toy vacuum lists one of its features as “Working suction that really picks up!” It’s a toy, and as a vacuum, it works like a toy. Your child may pick up a few stray dust particles, though don’t anticipate some fun pretend play can substitute for cleaning. Bonus: When they’re big enough to use a real vacuum, they’ll at least have had some practice!

Motor Skill Development Toys:

Building Gears

Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! Super Building Toy Set, STEM Toys, Construction Toys, Gears for Kids, 150 Pieces, Ages 3+

This motor skill developmental toy also promotes STEM methods with its engineering-related function. Children can freely arrange and place gears in different places and discover how they will all move together as a whole.

Motor Skill Toy Specs:

One part of a whole – Two-year-olds will learn that an entire moving part is made up of many little different working parts

Fine motor development
– Grabbing, squeezing, and placing gears in various and new places will increase fine motor development

Busy Sensory Board

deMoca Busy Board Montessori Toys for Toddlers, Kids Sensory Wooden Activity Board with 10 Preschool Educational Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills, Travel Toy, Boys & Girls Gift

This sensory board is FULL of motor skill development opportunities. Using real-life items like locks, zippers, gears, clips, and shoelaces, children will be able to learn and explore this board freely while also learning valuable life skills.

Motor Skill Toy Specs:

Close-ended – The objects on the board offer close-ended opportunities because when something is opened, the only other option is to close it.

Fine motor development – Tying, zipping, opening, closing and so many more actions will enable children to strengthen their fine motor skills over time

Pounding Bench

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench Wooden Toy With Mallet - STEAM Toddler Toy

This toy offers the opportunity for young children to develop motor skills through hammering, pulling, and inserting pegs into a pounding board.

Motor Skill Toy Specs:

Colorful learning – This colorful toy will be so much fun to play with, that children will not even realize that they are learning an important skill

Fine motor development – Grabbing and holding a play hammer at the age of two is no easy task. Strengthening these motor skills in a fun and creative way is precisely what this toy will do

Cause and Effect – When you pound down one peg, the one next to it pops up. Kids learn the relationship between the pegs and their actions. As they play peekaboo with the pegs, they can begin to predict what will happen next.

If your child loves pounding, also consider letting them flex their music muscles with the classic toy xylophone.

Final Thoughts on Best Educational Toys for Two Year Olds

Giving your child opportunities for learning, without controlling exactly how they learn with the toy, is one of the most beneficial things that a parent can do to instill independence and creativity in their two-year-old. The toys featured in this list are an excellent place to start!

Each child will develop differently, especially at this early age. Some toys are so cool kids can’t wait to play with them or want to keep playing with them long past their “suggested” age. You may have a 1 or 3 year old that will enjoy these same toys just as much. Check out our picks for each age group here:

1 Year Old
3 Year Old

For our all time favorite STEM & Educational toys (for all ages) check our top picks roundup.


Howie Miller is as dedicated to fatherhood as he is to life long learning. Musician, Photographer, Educator, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Blogger, and founder of STEMtropolis, where you can share his adventures in STEM and STEAM with his family.

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