Best Non-Toy Gifts for 2 Year Old Toddlers (Gift Ideas)

By Chad Montgomery
best non toy gifts for 2 year old toddlers

As a father to three rambunctious boys, I’ve been through the gift-giving rodeo many times, especially when it comes to 2-year-olds. I get it; you want the perfect gift that offers both entertainment and developmental value. As Christmas morning or that special occasion approaches, you might be stumped with what to get. Don’t worry, I’ve been there last year and the year before that. So, let me share some of my favourite non-toy gifts and insights to make your holiday season a little brighter.

So let’s dive in to how to buy the best non-toy gifts for 2 year old toddlers.

And if you’re looking for unique advent calendar suggestions – check out our post on advent calendar ideas for toddlers.

What Do 2-Year-Olds Like to Play With?

Two-year-olds are a bundle of energy, curiosity, and rapidly developing fine motor skills. They love engaging in pretend play, mimicking what they see adults doing. It’s not unusual to see them chatting away on a toy phone or cooking up a storm in a pretend kitchen. Sensory play also becomes a huge hit at this age. Whether it’s playing with different shapes, and textures, or just making a mess with some craft supplies, these activities help them explore their environment and refine their hand-eye coordination. Board games designed for little kids, which can boost their cognitive skills while providing much fun, are a great option too.

The Evolution of Play: Transition from Infants to Toddlers

Remember when your toddler was just an infant, fascinated by the simplest of things like a musical instrument or the sound of a rattle? As they transition into the terrific twos, their interests also grow. They begin to show a keen interest in art supplies, allowing them to express themselves creatively. Older kids in the family can become role models, and the younger children tend to mimic them in play, trying to keep up with their older siblings.

My own kids, for instance, have shown a noticeable shift from solitary play to more collaborative games as they’ve grown. You might find them more interested in a magazine subscription like National Geographic for Kids or a monthly subscription box like Kiwi Crate or Green Kid Crafts. These offer wonderful ways for them to explore their world, all while giving them a fun activity to look forward to.

Incorporating the right gifts, be it practical gifts or something unique like a bird feeder for some outdoor fun, can play a crucial role in a child’s development. So, as you think of the perfect non-toy gift this Christmas or any other special occasion, remember to align it with the interests of young toddlers and how they play. It’s the perfect way to ensure they get lots of use out of your thoughtful gift. And trust me, as a dad to three, I’ve seen first-hand how the right gift can light up their world.

The Value of Non-Toy Gifts

The Value of Non-Toy Gifts

Non-toy gifts have a special place in the heart of gift-giving, especially during the holiday season. One of the best parts of opting for non-toy gifts is their longevity. While new toys might lose their lustre shortly after Christmas morning, non-toy gifts like a magazine subscription or a savings account continue to provide value over time. These are gifts that won’t end up forgotten in a corner after a few weeks.

Additionally, non-toy gifts are a great way to spark creativity. Art supplies, for instance, give children the freedom to express themselves, while craft supplies can become the foundation for countless projects. A musical instrument can introduce them to the world of music, and a digital camera can help them see the world through a new lens. These gifts encourage varied learning experiences, catering to different facets of a child’s interest and development.

Now, let’s talk about the practical side of things. We all know how quickly toys can accumulate, leading to much stuff and clutter in play areas. This is where practical gifts come into play. Items like a sleeping bag for fun sleepovers or a piggy bank to teach financial responsibility not only serve a purpose but also reduce the sheer volume of toys a child has.

Furthermore, in a world increasingly conscious of environmental impact, non-toy gifts offer a greener alternative. By opting for experiences, such as a trip to children’s museums or a cooking class, or sustainable gifts like a bird feeder or board books, we can reduce the demand for plastic toys. This not only minimizes the clutter in our homes but also helps in reducing the environmental footprint.

In essence, non-toy gifts are a great option for family members and extended families looking to give something meaningful, lasting, and beneficial in multiple ways. Whether it’s a special occasion or just because, remember that the best gifts are often those that offer quality time, learning, and lasting memories.

Top Non-Toy Gift Ideas for 2-Year-Olds

Toddler gift to the zoo

Experience-Based Gifts

One of the best non-toy gifts that offers a wonderful way to spend quality time with young toddlers is gifting experiences. Think of memberships to local attractions, such as the zoo or an aquarium. Music or art classes are a fun way to introduce them to new skills and passions. Most recently our oldest has been extremely into golf – a nice golf club set could spark a new passion. Moreover, a day out at a children’s museum can provide them with hands-on learning experiences that are both engaging and educational. These memories will surely last longer than any toy!

Books and Interactive Story Sets

Nurturing a love for reading early on is a perfect gift. Board books with vibrant illustrations or interactive story sets tailored for little kids can open up a world of imagination. Characters from their favourite book can become their play buddies, and the stories can serve as a base for their imaginative play.

arts and crafts supplies for two year olds as a gift

Art and Craft Supplies

There’s so much fun in letting those little hands get messy! Child-safe art sets, paints, crayons, and play-dough sets are great ideas to foster creativity. It’s not just about the end product but the process itself – mixing colours, shaping dough, or simply scribbling – all of these activities enhance their fine motor skills and let their creativity shine.

Personalized Items

There’s something special about receiving an item with your name on it, especially for kids. Custom-made storybooks where they’re the main character, name puzzles that help them recognize letters, or personalized clothing items can make them feel truly unique and valued. These gifts are always a hit during the holiday season or any special occasion.

Home & Garden Tools

kids gardening set as a gift for a 2-year-old toddler

Introducing toddlers to practical life skills is a great addition to their learning journey. Kid-sized gardening sets can help them develop a love for nature and teach them about responsibility as they care for their plants. Brooms or kitchen utensils can be fun for pretend play and also instill a sense of contribution to household chores.

Music and Instruments

Every child loves to dance and make some noise! Instruments like tambourines, maracas, or even kid-friendly headphones can introduce them to the magical world of music. Not only is it entertaining, but it also aids in their hand-eye coordination and rhythmic understanding.

What to Get a Toddler That Doesn’t Play with Toys?

Every child is unique, and while most toddlers might be enamoured with the latest toy, others might show more interest in experiences or tactile activities. For these young ones, the key is to think outside the toy box.

Experience-based gifts remain a great option for kids of all ages. A trip to a local farm, a day of exploring nature, or even a simple picnic in the park can provide much fun and offer a great way to bond. These outdoor adventures not only provide a change of scenery but also introduce them to the larger world around them.

Tactile activities can be especially engaging for toddlers who prefer hands-on experiences over traditional toys. Sensory play items, such as kinetic sand, offer endless possibilities. They can mold it, shape it, or simply let it run through their fingers. It’s a great way to stimulate their senses and enhance fine motor skills. Water play tables are another excellent choice. The splashing, pouring, and stirring can keep them entertained for hours while teaching them about concepts like volume and cause-effect.

Additionally, art and craft supplies cater to their creative side. Even if they’re not into traditional toys, they might find joy in painting a picture, creating a collage, or building something out of craft materials.

When shopping for a toddler who isn’t into toys, it’s essential to focus on their individual interests and passions. Practical gifts that align with their curiosity can be the perfect gift, ensuring they have a great time while also learning and growing.

What Do You Give a Toddler That Has Everything?

What Do You Give a Toddler That Has Everything?

Ah, the age-old question: what do you gift a toddler who seems to have it all? For such little ones, it’s often not about adding more items to their collection but about offering unique experiences and lasting memories.

Unique experiences are a wonderful way to ensure they receive something special. Think of a cooking class tailored for little kids or a day spent exploring a butterfly garden. Perhaps there’s a nearby children’s theatre offering a show featuring their favourite characters. Even simple experiences, like a special ice cream outing or a day dedicated to crafting with family members, can be the highlight of their year.

Memory-making events also fall into this category. A personalized photo book chronicling their past year, a photo album where they can store pictures of their adventures, or even a surprise meet-up with distant extended family can create moments they’ll cherish.

For families keen on imparting values of generosity and compassion, a donation to a charity or cause in the child’s name is a meaningful gesture. Such gifts not only benefit those in need but also serve as an early lesson in giving back. Whether it’s a cause related to children, animals, or the environment, it’s a perfect way to celebrate the spirit of giving.

In summary, when you’re seeking gifts for the toddler who seems to have everything, focus on experiences, memories, and meaningful gestures. It’s not about the material goods but the heart behind the gift that truly counts.

Safety Considerations for Non-Toy Gifts

When it comes to gifting, especially for young toddlers, safety should always be a top priority. While non-toy gifts offer a great way to diversify the presents they receive, it’s essential to ensure that these gifts align with the highest safety standards.

First and foremost, always opt for non-toxic materials. Whether it’s art supplies like crayons and paints or practical gifts like a sleeping bag, it’s crucial to ensure that the materials used are safe for children. Many brands now prioritize child safety and label their products as non-toxic, making it easier for gift-givers to make informed choices.

Age-appropriate sizes are another essential consideration. For instance, while a musical instrument like a tambourine can be much fun for a toddler, it’s vital to ensure it’s the right size for their small hands. Similarly, personalized clothing or items like fun socks should fit well to prevent any tripping hazards or discomfort.

Lastly, supervision during use is key. Even the safest-seeming gifts, like a water play table or kinetic sand, require adult oversight. It’s easy for young children to get overly enthusiastic or find unexpected ways to interact with their gifts. Having an adult nearby ensures they can play and explore without any risks.

To sum it up, while non-toy gifts are a wonderful way to delight and educate toddlers, it’s always essential to prioritize their safety. By focusing on non-toxic materials and age-appropriate sizes, and ensuring supervision, gift-givers can ensure that their presents are both fun and safe.

Wrapping Up The Best Non-Toy Gifts for 2 Year Olds

Gifting toddlers can be both a delightful and challenging experience. Beyond the glitz of traditional toys lies a world of non-toy gifts that offer meaningful, lasting, and enriching experiences. Whether it’s an experiential gift that offers a new adventure, practical items that they can use daily, or gifts that stimulate their creativity and imagination, the options are vast and varied.

But amidst all the excitement of gifting, it’s paramount to prioritize safety, ensuring that the joy of receiving is matched by the assurance of well-being. As we’ve explored, with a little thought and creativity, it’s entirely possible to find that perfect gift that resonates with a child’s unique personality and interests, creating memories that last far beyond the moment of unwrapping.

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