These toys make great gifts for the 2-to-3-year-old child who can be very active at times and yet will readily engage in quiet, cognitive activities at other times. This age is a time of emerging balance and discovery which can be enhanced with the right toys. These gifts will do just that.
This bowling set comes with six milk-bottle shaped bowling pins and a ball that resembles a cow's head and makes animal sounds when it's thrown. Sounds a little morbid if you're not a toddler, but otherwise it's a lot of fun. There are just enough pins that it's not too frustrating to go set them up over and over and the ball has an on / off switch in case the noise starts to get on your nerves. Everything goes back in a case for easy storage after playing. Recommended for ages 24 months and up.
This is like the sock monkey you might have played with as a child and it's just as fun, red rear end and all! It's about as tall as your toddler, so it's perfect for backyard romps, tea parties, camping under a makeshift tent in the dining room or whatever adventures your child can dream up. It's lightweight so it can be carried everywhere and machine washable to withstand the inevitable wear and tear this friend will be subjected to. Recommended for ages 2 years and up.
This is the age where scribbles and chicken scratch start to become shapes and body forms. What better way to practice and refine these emerging fine motor (and pre-writing) skills and express what he's feeling through art than with his very own easel. I like this one because it has a clip system for normal sized paper. Bigger is better when it comes to paper at this age, but when you run out of big paper, your child will still be able to create and play. Roll systems without clips often leave you with an easel that's inconvenient to use and sits in the corner until you order a specialized roll. The large tray will accommodate many different media like paint, chalk, pencils, markers, crayons and more. Recommended for ages 2 to 6 years.
This rocket toy feed your child's imagination as well as his love and interest in things related to space. It comes with several figures and a working moon buggy and the rocket compartments offer several different ways your toddler can play creatively aside from the obvious rocket launching that will take place. This toy is quite solid (though a bit on the heavy side) and will withstand all those launches, too. Everything stores neatly inside when not in use. Recommended for ages 18 months to 3 years.
Puzzles with big knobs like this are just perfect for teaching your child about spatial reasoning and geometry while allowing him to practice fine motor control without getting too frustrated. Kids this age need opportunities to balance physical, active play with quiet, cognitive play and puzzles are a great way to accomplish this. When choosing puzzles, make sure you check the age range since some knobs and even the pieces can pose a choking hazard to toddlers. These are recommended for children 12 months and up. Shown here is the Large Shapes puzzle, but there are many in this series to explore. I really enjoy all the Melissa and Doug wooden toys (though most are only suitable for older kids).
This little home is a great first "doll house" for girls, but boys will love it just as much. And boys need the opportunity to work out and imitate the things they see around the home each day just as much as girls, of course. There are so many different ways to play with this toy so it will keep your child busy and interested for a long time. Pay attention to the ways your child plays with this toy and you'll see how adults really are models of behavior. It can be a real -- sometimes funny -- eye-opener. Figures and furniture store away nicely but this honker takes up some serious space on the floor or shelf. Still, its size means more than one child can use it at the same time and happily so. Recommended for ages 12 months to 4 years.