Thesecond year of a little boys life is all about learning to do things on his own. He’s talking more, seeing more, and the physical milestones are tremendous. Here are some practical ideas your birthday boy should enjoy all year long.
I Can Do it Myself
Maybe it was more my influence, but I was all about my two-year-old starting to take on more of the basic tasks on his own. Typically a child moves to their big boy bed around this age, and even if they’ve already converted to a toddler bed they may not have Big Boy Décor yet. A gift of appropriately themed wall decals, bedspread and sheet set, curtains, or a lamp or nightlight are both practical and fun. If there are issues surrounding the transition to going to sleep on their own, a flashlight or light-up book can be helpful. I saw this story years ago about ‘Daddy Dolls‘ for military kids, and remember thinking what a great idea for any child having trouble sleeping solo.
I could list a hundred ideas just considering regular activities and how much more difficult they were with an energetic 2-year-old. Here are a few more practical gifts that should get a lot of use:
- Small backpack
- Roller carry-on suitcase (see our toddler travel article for more)
- Reusable snack containers (pick it/pack it myself I might just eat it)
- Tooth care set (book, toothbrush, cup, toothpaste)
- Bath care set (soap, bubbles, toy, washcloth or scrubber, robe, towel)
- Colored laundry baskets (sort it for me!)
- Toy bins (make it special by providing some labels… kids are so much better about putting things away when they can see where toys are supposed to go)
- Soft dishes (to throw in the sink without breaking anything)
A recurring theme at any age is books, of course. Between two and three children are able to follow stories better and picture books (no words) are a great way to have them start “reading” to you. My favorites are all by David Wiesner. Also a great topic for this age are those that address emotions, try an Eggspressions learning emotions playset, Mad Isn’t Bad, or Feelings Flash Cards.
The digital age brings a whole new genre of personalized books into the mix, try shutterfly for a photo book of relatives or a book about them from I See Me . Sticker books are also a great way to keep a 2-year-old occupied (the best are those with reusable stickers).
Potty Training Help
Although many kids (especially boys, I hear) don’t actually potty train until three, the process starts this year. Anything you can do to help get a kid pumped to potty helps everyone. For toddler boys, they now have boxer briefs in all kinds of characters so they’re not so tight. A potty seat for home or travel are great too; be sure to get one with the biggest front cup you can find. Last but not least, extra sheets are always great because nighttime leaks are a pain for all (see H’s tip on this).
What kid doesn’t love costumes? I recommend filling up the inventory first with professionals he might interact with that could be intimidating. This can help start a conversation to build understanding and reduce fears; doctor, dentist, police officer, firefighter, clown (Melissa & Doug have a ton of great choices on their site and through Amazon). Then move on to the favorite characters, and finally the “copy-me” role playing gear… big hits in our house have been:
- Tools (especially the play power tools including chainsaw, hint: include adult-sized goggles & earmuffs)
- Camping (sleeping bag, tent, camp gear sets)
- Gardening (tools, wheelbarrow, lawnmower)
- Cooking (grill, kitchenette, food)
My brother bought us an art easel for our 2-year -old last Christmas and it has gotten a LOT of use. Don’t forget to include a smock and some finger paint. Big Crayons are a hit… I like them not so much because they are more easily grasped but because they are harder to break. Washable markers are more appealing to some kids, and if you have a painter, washable watercolors are inexpensive and last a long time. No matter who you’re buying for, a clever note with a pack of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers will inevitably get used by the adult supervision.
For some of us, as much as we appreciate practical gifts it’s just more fun to get a really neat toy instead (or also). At this
age, there is a ton of physical development going on and unlike buying for an older child it’s unlikely anything will be a repeat. Some favorites are Melissa & Doug’s monster bowling set and the Plasma Car. A good little people or other themed playset with characters can entertain for hours, as will a sandbox or water table.
- Puzzles (stick to chunky, peg, or magnetic… anything else the pieces will get chewed or lost)
- Color sorting games (I liked these farmers market baskets, gets me some pretend food and a sorting game)
- Shape learning games (shape sorters might be too easy, but try bean bags)
- Kicking Balls (new skill, folks)
- Duplo Legos (try Gummy Blocks for a child who still likes to throw things)
- Wooden Blocks
- Wagon he can pull
- Bilibo or other balancing device
For the Adults
These may not be all fun for the kiddo, but a practical add-on is always appreciated by Mom, Dad, or whoever else spends a lot of time with said child.
First, two-year-olds are constantly trying to exert their independence. They finally know what they want and can express it… emotions run high when they can’t have it. A time-out rug and timer will get a LOT of use, and there are all kinds of fancy gadgets but a simple egg-timer works great. An adult book for helping kids cope with emotions at this age might also be welcome (know your audience of course).
Second, this age is active, active, active! Short attention spans and tons of energy means adults have to be full of ideas to steer kids away from 24-hour cartoons. A Toddler Activity Book with a custom list you can make of local places appropriate for kids is a lifesaver. You can also try a subscription for kid-activity kits like Kiwi Crates or a gift certificate to an indoor gym.
Last but not least, two welcome add-ons that don’t need explanation are extra mattress protectors and batteries. Here’s hoping you find the perfect gift, and if you need more ideas (or just a consolidated view of all these suggestions) check out our entire Amazon store for 2-year old boys or other gift articles!