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A second birthday is actually the first birthday that little children start to understand what all the excitement is about. It’s also the first time they get excited about the gift inside the wrapping paper rather than wanting to just play with the paper!
So a second birthday is a lovely chance to really thrill a two-year-old boy or girl with a wonderful birthday present. I’ve put together a curated list of second birthday present ideas based on a list of the gifts that were a big hit with my daughter and her friends for their second birthdays.
2ND BIRTHDAY GIFTS THAT WILL THRILL TWO-YEAR-OLDS
Browse this list of 2nd birthday present ideas to find the perfect gift for a special two-year-old.
1. BOUNCY FUN
Two-year-olds have so much energy. So something they can safely bounce on is a great gift. I think the Air Hopper is absolutely brilliant; it’s super cute (it comes in blue or pink), and it doubles as something to bounce on and something to ride on.
An inflatable hopper and ride-on for toddlers all-in-one. It's great for balance and coordination.
2. LEARN TO LOVE READING (ALOUD!)
Reading to a two-year-old is a great way to help them fall in love with reading. But I find at the end of a long day, I need something really easy to read out loud.
Julia Donaldson’s wonderful books are brilliant for this; they are so lyrical the words simply flow off the tongue as you read them, meaning that even super-tired parents can bring a story to life with aplomb.
Includes: The Snail and the Whale, Room on the Broom, The Gruffalo's Child, The Gruffalo, The Paper Dolls, Tyrannosaurus Drip, Cave Baby, Monkey Puzzle, What The Ladybird Heard, The Troll.
3. MINI MOZART
Ok, so mini Mozart might be a little ambitious. But it is certainly great to let kids learn to make their own musical sounds, even though it might not always be lovely to listen to them.
But the visual feast of a two-year-old happily bopping away as they play easily makes up for the audio assault on the ears.
Related: Beautiful wooden toys for Three-year-olds
This 18-key piano is made from sustainable birch and maple.
4. MESS-FREE CREATIVE FUN
My daughter was given an Aquadoodle for her second birthday, and we have also given several as gifts to two-year-olds.
The marvellous thing about the Aquadoodle mat is that eager artists can colour and create until their hearts’ content, but there will never be any paint spills to clear up. It’s a win for kids and a win for parents!
5. LEGO IS A CLASSIC FOR A REASON
Lego Duplo is the entry point into the wonderful world of Lego for tiny tots. My daughter was given this set for her second birthday and spent hours happily building towers and castles.
What I love about the classic set, with its wonderful mix of primary and bright colours, is that it is a lot less prescriptive than the sets that are for building a specific thing; so much more is left to the imagination to create, and it is great for open-ended play.
Plus, Lego is great for developing fine motor skills and emotional intelligence as kids learn to stay calm and focused to get the blocks to do what they want. Oh, and let’s not forget social skills, the art of sharing and collaborating with a fellow child.
85 Duplo bricks and shapes, all stored in a giant green Duplo brick box.
6. WHAT’S THE TIME?
On average, kids should be able to tell the time by age seven. So give them a head start with a puzzle that’s in the shape of a clock.
My daughter was given a wooden puzzle clock like this for her second birthday; it’s great for sitting quietly, getting little kids used to what it means when the clock’s hands are pointing in a certain direction.
This 100% wooden clock puzzle by Bee Kids is great for sensory, motor and coordination skills, alongside learning how to tell the time.
I love that it comes in a box that doubles as gift packaging.
7. ALL THE ANIMALS
This arc is a truly classic gift. It is teacher-approved and has an array of educational benefits.
It is great for imaginative play and story-telling, which helps develop language skills. Plus, the shape sorter is brilliant for developing motor skills and dexterity.
14 bright and beautiful wooden animals in a wooden ark.
Jacques of London toys are beautifully made and come in gorgeously gift-packed boxes packed with tissue paper.
8. FISHING FOR FUN
The Djeco fishing game is another gift that my daughter received when she was two. I must confess I enjoyed playing it with her as much as she did. It is strangely hypnotic, trying to attract the magnetic ducks (I know, where are the fish?!) onto the fishing hooks.
As with all Djeco toys and games, it is wonderfully designed with beautifully captivating colours.
There are twelve ducks (not fish!), two rods and a watery-themed box to fish in.
9. KING OF THE CASTLE
Your child is bound to feel king or queen of the castle with this fabulous castle-shaped sorter set.
The great thing about shape sorters that aren’t just shapes is that there is so much scope for imaginative play alongside developing coordination and motor skills.
5 wooden character shapes plus a wooden castle for them to live in.
10. GET SCOOTING
A second birthday is a perfect time to introduce tiny tots to their own set of wheels that they can ride on independently. I think that scooters are a rite of passage for two-year-olds. It’s amazing how quickly the average two-year-old is able to cope with pushing themselves along.
My daughter played endlessly in the park on her much-moved Micro-Scooter.
This is the most light-weight Micro-Scooter, which is great for manoeuvrability (and for when parents have to carry it!) It has light-up LED wheels powered by the kids themselves (no batteries needed!) and an extra grippy footplate.
11. TIME FOR A FIRST BIKE
A first bike is a great birthday gift idea for a grandparent to give to their grandchild. Balance bikes are the way to go, rather than buying a pedal bike with stabilisers.
A balance bike allows the child to use their feet on the ground to control the forward movement of the bike. This means they feel more confident to work on their balance, steering, stopping and starting.
My daughter had a Strider Bike as her first bike, and it took her one session at the park to master scooting along on it. The Strider is the bike that comes top of many best balance bikes lists, with good reason.
For a start, it is really affordable and also adaptable – the same bike can be adapted to be used from 18 months to five years old.
Plus, the Strider is made from really sturdy steel but also manages to be really light, and the wheels are made from puncture-resistant EVA foam.
I will also add that it has great resale value.
Easy to assemble, with a lightweight frame, puncture-resistant tyres and built-in footrest.
I hope you find the perfect gift on this list. Use my gift guides to find gifts for kids of all ages.
Luci is the founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, she has used her experience as a mum to create useful guides to organising family life. During that time, she has found the most joy in creating lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Read more.