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BEST Practical Gifts For 2 Year Olds: Useful Alternative Gifts


If you’ve stumbled onto this page that means, like me, you probably have a house that is overflowing with toddler toys (most of which barely ever get used). With my 2 year old’s birthday right around the corner, I started thinking (and googling), “What are the BEST practical gifts for 2 year olds?”

I wanted some alternative gifts for 2-year-olds that weren’t just more toys or junk. I’m not saying don’t get any toys, toys are great!

BUT- there is definitely a difference in practical or useful toys that allow for open-ended imaginative play and those toys that only do 1 thing and end up in a corner in about 5 minutes.

So, here are the best practical gifts for parents who have a two-year-old (or just toddlers in general) that are useful, functional, and will get plenty of use ( which aren’t just toys).

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a list of the best practical gifts for 2 year olds

What Are Practical Gifts For 2 Year Olds?

I actually had the same dilemma over Christmas because his aunts and uncles want to give him all the FUN things which I totally get but unless you live with a toddler, you don’t realize that in most cases they rather play with the box than the toy inside.

So, I actually ended up making a non toy gift guide with some great alternatives to toys that my little guy LOVED!

That’s when I realized there are actually tons of great options like: furniture, books, clothes, art/craft supplies and everyday utensils.

Things that will get multiple uses and even grow with your child.


These are the best gifts for a toddler girl or 2-year-old boy who has EVERYTHING.

Furniture Makes A Great Useful and Practical Gift For 2-Year-Olds

Toddler-sized furniture made just for them is a great practical nontoy gift for 1 and 2-year-olds.

I’ve found that my little guy gets super excited about his special tot-size furniture and always insists on using it

(he’s even asked to take it on the go when we’re out and about LOL!)

Here are some useful toddler gifts that they’ll love!


A toddler stool is a perfect gift for a little one that can help foster independence. My little guy feels like quite the grown-up when he pulls out his stool and climbs on up to wash his hands.

It’s multi-purpose in that they can also use it to help mom or dad in the kitchen.

You can opt for a mini step stool like this one. These are great for when you’re potty training as well so your child can reach the sink on their own to wash their hands.

I love that its slip-resistant!

Or you can go for a sturdier wooden stool with safety rails that’s perfect for the kitchen where the sink is usually higher up.

This one is great because it grows with your child. It has an adjustable standing platform so you’ll get many years of use out of it.

Etsy also has some great learning towers like these that also converts into a table and bench so you can get even more bang for your buck.

Personalized Night Light

Add a special touch to your child’s room with one of these personalized name night lights!

There are so many different designs to choose from so I bet there’s something for your little one. My little guy would probably love the dinosaur, dump truck, or train-themed ones.

It has multiple color change modes and different speed settings.

Take a look at this video if you want to see how it performs in person.

Honestly, we love anything that’s personalized. It’s just that little something extra that puts a simple gift over the top, like this custom blanket for kids.

Potty & Potty Training Accessories

If you’re thinking about what to get a 2-year-old for their birthday, consider what developmental milestones they’ll be hitting soon.

Potty training is one that is right around the corner so a potty or potty training accessories would be very useful and actually serve a purpose.

We recently purchased this potty training toilet seat with step stool ladder that sits atop the grown-up toilet.

I’m super happy we went with this one because I didn’t want to have to transition from a toddler potty to the adult one, plus I love not having to clean out the little potty afterward.

If you prefer, you can totally go with a My Size Potty fit for a little one. I get it, the big one can seem a little scary for some. They made need some time to adjust.

If you’re shopping for a practical gift for a 2 year old boy, this super cute frog potty training urinal with aiming targets is a fun one that easily attaches to the wall.

Tents, Teepees & Club Houses

Now, here’s a fun yet pragmatic gift for a young child.

I bet your toddler would love having their own special hideout where they can play or curl up and read a good book or let their imaginations run wild.

This super cute teepee tent comes with lights and has a waterproof base which is a MUST during those potty training years.

They make great props for photo shoots too!

I LOVE a multi-purpose product.

Here are a couple more options:

Indoor Toddler Club House Tent

Puppet Show Play Tent

Play House Tent

RELATED POST: The BEST Places To Take Toddlers To Spark Their Cognitive Development

Toy Organization Gifts Make a Great NON Toy Gift

How about a gift to get ALL those toys organized and put away?

I bet any parent would be over the moon (or just me?) to get a toddler gift that will help them get all the toys they already have, organized (instead of adding more toys to the ever-growing pile).

It’s a great gift for a 2-year-old too because it will help to teach them how to put their things away properly when they’re done playing.

I absolutely LOVE this toddler book rack that looks just like the one we use in my kindergarten class. It’s just the right size for little ones and it’s easy to use as they just pop the book into the flaps (no need to make sure they line up and don’t fall out).

If your child has lots of loose toys that end up all over the floor, a toy storage organizer with plastic bins is the perfect functional solution.

Best Educational Practical Gifts For 2-Year-Olds (That Aren’t Just Toys)

Educational gifts are another useful and functional gift for 2-year-olds.

There are some great ones that are toys but there are many more options that are nontoy educational gifts too.

Here are a few of the best educational gifts my 2-year-old LOVES!

Board Books

Books are a great alternative gift educational for 2-year-olds. It’s something they can reuse over and over again and it helps foster their imagination and brain development so why not?!

I love board books for toddlers because they’re sturdy and durable. My guy is quite the destructive force of nature and the board books hold up way better than a paperback.

Here are some of my favorite board books for 2-year-olds that are fun, interactive (like Dear Zoo), and great for a toddler’s development (both educational, fine motor, and gross motor skills).

Peek-A-Who? by Nina Laden

This is such a cute and fun board book for toddlers where you look through the die-cut windows to see who is peeking out. It’s bright and colorful with a fun rhyming text.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

I would hope you already have this one in your collection because it’s such an awesome classic. It’s a great interactive book for talking about food, the days of the week, and eating healthy just to name a few.

My toddler is obsessed with this one!

Munch! by Matthew Van Fleet

This is such a FUN book! It has interactive tabs that make the different animals mouths move in different ways. The text is super simple and talks about the different sounds the animals make.

This is one my kid has practically memorized now and loves to ‘read’ on his own.

First 100 Animals Lift-the-Flap by Roger Priddy

This is a fantastic book for teaching your child about animals. It has fun and interactive flaps to keep them engaged. It divides up the animals into categories like pets and on the farm.

First 100 Words Lift-the-Flap by Roger Priddy

Can you tell we like the Priddy series?

Here’s another favorite in the same type of style as the animal one. This is a great tool for teaching your toddler their first 100 common words of things they’ll see around their environment like pets, food, toys and more.

RELATED POST: Best Baby Board Books To Add To Your Library

Educational Posters

Another practical educational gift for 2-year-olds is educational posters. I’m talking alphabet, numbers, colors, and shapes. Having these large visuals is a great learning tool that your toddler can go back to over and over again to practice.

I teach English online so I’m always referring to the posters. Now, my little guy visits his posters pretty much daily and shouts the alphabet pretending to be a little teacher.

It’s seriously TOO CUTE!

Posters are a fantastic way to reinforce learning in little learners and allow them to practice independently (I find some can be shy or nervous about getting things wrong)!

This awesome educational poster bundle comes with 11 education posters that include the alphabet, numbers, colors, days of the week, months, and much more.

I’ve seen single posters go for as much as this ENTIRE bundle! It’s a steal!

If you want something that looks a little prettier for their room, consider an alphabet wall decal.

Stationary and Art Supplies

Stationery supplies like toddler-friendly crayons, markers, or craft supplies are another great practical gift for toddlers that still a ton of fun!

I think triangle crayons are a great first coloring, drawing, and writing tool for toddlers.

They’re a lot chunkier than regular crayons so it’ll be easier for 2-year-olds to manipulate while they master their gross and fine motor skills.

Plus, you won’t have to worry too much about losing them since they won’t roll off on their own.

Or skip the supplies and grab a magnet doodle board that they can use over and over again!

I loved mine as a kid and now my little guy loves playing with his too.

Another fun activity (without the mess) is this giant water doodle drawing floor mat. It’s a big hit with little ones.

Mine folds up so we take it along when we’re having play dates and every toddler just gravitates to it.

It’s fantastic because you don’t need to worry about any accidental wall art that might happen when you aren’t looking. Your little Picasso’s tool is filled with water that only works on the mat.

Another must-have at our house is Play-Doh and tools to play with it! Anybody else?

One more gift to spark their creativity is a toddler craft and activity kit filled with materials and simple projects to make.

These are all great gifts that help little one’s work on their gross and fine motor skills in a fun and engaging way.

Personalized Ceramic Piggy Bank

Teaching children about money and saving can start at a young age. It’s an important life skill but it can be fun too with a personalized ceramic piggy bank.

Your little one will love putting coins in their piggy bank and saving for a rainy day.

You can even include some coins in a coin pouch along with your gift.

For more unique custom piggy bank designs check out this store on Etsy!

RELATED POST: Use This One Trick To Avoid Toddler Meltdowns in Restaurants

Practical Gifts For 2-Year-Olds (That Foster Independence)

Now, here are a few essential items you can buy for a 2 year old that will help them to do more things independently and develop new skills (which they’re gonna want to be doing anyway).

This article talks more about how you can encourage toddler independence.

Practical and Essential Personal Hygiene & Personal Care Gifts For 2-Year-Olds

Now, it’s about time your toddler starts taking care of business on their own. They’ll still need your help and guidance but it’s a great time to let them start trying things.

First up, brushing their teeth! These toddler toothbrushes have extra large handles and a short neck making it easier for small hands to manipulate and avoid gaging while they learn.

Another great option is this electric toddler toothbrush that has a timer so kids know how long to brush. It also pauses every 30 seconds to remind kids to switch areas while they brush.

Bathtime essentials are up next. A toddler bathrobe will make them feel like quite the little grown up and they look SO CUTE! Or how cute is this hooded fox towel?!

At this age, your toddler should also start brushing their own hair. I love the benefits of using wooden soft bristle brushes (stimulates the scalp, encourages blood flow, and promotes hair growth) and this set is perfect for little ones.

If you’re shopping for a 2-year-old girl’s gift, you could even add some adorable hair accessories like bows and clips.

Eating Utensils and Food-Related Practical Gifts For A 2-Year-Old

Teaching your toddler to self-feed is a must! These products are great for help toddlers’ independence when it comes to feeding themselves.

I got rid of the bottle ASAP! Shortly after my little guy turned 1 we slowly began transitioning away from the bottle and towards using cups.

This Munchkin Miracle 360 trainer cup has been our go-to. I love that it’s leak and spill proof so less mess for mom. Plus, it’s designed in a way that requires your toddler to sip/pull the water out, thus teaching them how to drink from a real cup eventually.

If your little one is ready for open-top cups this minimalistic silicone training cup is perfect (it’s designed by a pediatric feeding specialist).

My little guy still needs a bib when he’s eating because there are still some spills and messes. These silicone bibs with deep spill pockets are GENIUS!

Now, for plates.

I love divider plates with suction cups on the bottom. If your kid is anything like mine, you’ve had a plate of food fly by your head at some point. These suction cups on the bottom of the plate are a LIFE SAVER!

Another great buy is this awesome chunky spoon and fork set. For whatever reason, if you serve my kid food (any food) with that fork he will FINISH it. I guess he thinks it’s fun.

Alternative Gifts for 2-Year-Olds For Homekeeping & Pretend Play

My two year is so so eager to ‘help’ out in whatever way he can.

He loves to assist in the kitchen or when I’m cleaning around the house. If your little one is the same, or maybe you just want to teach them to clean up after themselves, here are a few great tools to get them started.

This adorable toddler clean-up set has a few great tools to get them started plus a stand to put everything away when they’re done.

If you’ve got a little chef, then you’ll definitely want this toddler cooking set complete with stainless steel utensils, play food, hat+apron, and a cute little box to put everything away when you’re done.

RELATED POST: The BEST Toddler Sleep Sacks & Wearable Blankets

Best Educational (Award-Winning) Toys For 2-Year-Olds

If you really want to bring a toy for a two-year-old, that’s great too, but make sure it’s something that will grow with them and something they will get plenty of use out of.

I love learning toys that are multipurpose.

Toys that offer several different ways to play with them and allow for more imaginative play (rather than toys that just do one thing and get boring fairly quickly).

Here are a few of the best educational toys for 2-year-olds.
(Just click the blue link if you want more details on the products)


There’s good reason this is an award-winning game for 2-year-olds and beyond. This game is FANTASTIC for working on your toddler’s vocabulary and memory skills.

I love that it has multiple different ways you can play it, varying its complexity so that you’re little one will still find it fun, engaging, and challenging as they grow older.

It can be played alone or with multiple children which is a bonus if you’ve got siblings at home.


These Mega Bloks are a fantastic learning toy for toddlers and a great alternative to legos which can be a bit too small for this age. It’s a wonderful gift that will grow with your toddler.

My little guy absolutely LOVES to build for hours with his set. His favorite game is probably building a huge block tower, then knocking it over.

We also use the blocks to teach colors and sorting as well.

It’s great practice for their fine motor skills and spatial learning.

Radio Flyer Tricycle

This RadioFlyer tricycle was one of my 2-year-old’s favorite birthday gifts to date. He loves to ride it or even just sit on it and ponder. It’s pretty cute to watch.

I love that it’s a gift that helps get him active and outdoors (although you can certainly ride indoors too, just make sure any stairs are blocked off) while helping him to build his gross motor and balance skills.

The little bucket in the back is perfect for collecting stuff on your ride. We did that all the time during our outdoor scavenger hunts.

It’s such a well-built bike and has lasted us a few years, now that my little guy has outgrown it, we’ve passed it along to his baby cousin.

Montessori Stacking Peg Board Toy Set 

This is an excellent early learning gift for 2-year-olds that’s perfect for helping them develop their coordination and fine motor skills.

It’s great for open-ended play, building, and learning.

You can easily teach colors, numbers/counting, patterns, and more with this Montessori-inspired gift.

You can check out more STEM toys for toddlers in this Toddler STEM TOY gift guide.

Importance of Practical Life Activities For Toddlers

One of the things I love about Montessori education is its focus on everyday activities for children’s development.

We do have to teach our children to become self-sufficient and we do this by introducing everyday routines and activities that help them become more independent.

This includes things like dressing themselves (picking out their own outfits- however strange it may look LOL!), brushing their teeth, brushing their hair, cleaning up after themselves, feeding themselves, etc.

They break these down into 4 categories:

♡ Preliminary Activities
♡ Self Care
♡ Caring For The Environment
♡ Social Awareness

Keep these things in mind when buying practical and useful gifts for your toddler.

Think about how it helps them excel in these different areas. You can learn more about the importance of practical life activities for toddlers if you’re interested.

More Gift Guides For Family

The Best Christmas Gifts For Baby’s First Christmas

The Best Toddler Learning Toys

The Best Art Gifts To Give Kids

Best Gifts For New Dads

Best Gifts For Expecting Dads

Toddler happy with non toy practical gifts

What Is A Good Gift For a Two Year Old?

Hopefully, this guide has provided you with some good practical gift ideas for 2-year-olds. Did you find some useful gifts for a 2-year-old that aren’t just junk?

I hope so!

Do you have some great gift ideas I missed?

Leave me a comment below with your useful or practical gifts for 2-year-olds. Or some of the best toys for 2-year-olds.

I’m always updating the lists so feel free to leave some suggestions 🙂



Tuesday 4th of February 2020

These are pretty great ideas. All things would come in handy. I would know, as I have a 2 year old daughter myself :D


Tuesday 4th of February 2020

These are awesome ideas! My toddler got the Melissa and Doug cleaning set for his birthday and it has been great for teaching him how to clean up after himself and enjoy it. We also love art supplies at our house so that is also a great idea. Thank you for sharing these!

Flossie McCowald

Tuesday 4th of February 2020

Such great ideas! I love how you have broken them down by category. If the kids are like mine, those Montessori pegs will be hits for YEARS to come! I would also recommend a basic ten-frame abacus (10x10), both because sliding colored beads is fun and for teaching math later on!

Amy Gougler

Tuesday 4th of February 2020

This is a great list! I personally love the stool idea. We did that for my daughter and it has been a HUGE hit. Totally worth it!


Tuesday 4th of February 2020

Great post, my youngest son is turning 2 years old soon and I like the idea of teepee tent.