Seeking Best Educational Toys for a 2 Yr Old.

Updated on August 18, 2009
C.D. asks from Magnolia, TX
14 answers

Hi Moms, my recently turned two year old gets bored quickly with matter what they are. She has the Leap Frog bus that says the alphabet; She has the Learning Friend Tad that teaches counting, shapes, and colors; She has telephonics, and she has the wooden five sided learning cube w/letters and numbers on one side, a bead maze on top and 3 other activities on the wooden block. I was wondering what suggestions and experiences you might have for capturing and keeping the attention of a toddler. I am interested in hooked on phonics as well as anything you may have had success with...whether it's a discovery toy, interactive tv dvd or what have you. I'm just trying to keep my childs learning ahead of the game and have it be an enjoyable experience at the same time.

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answers from San Antonio on

Melissa & Doug are good learning toys/puzzles and is the Learning Zone? (located off of San Pedro across from North Star Mall).

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answers from Houston on

Isn't part of the charm of having a two-year old their short attention span? I know it helps me when I need to redirect my little monster's attention to a more appropriate activity.

I have to second the suggestion about putting some toys away and rotating different activities in and out. I've done this essentially since birth and it has been great.

I've kept things low tech and in rotation from the start--we don't even have a TV. Lots of interactive play, "helping" with real tasks like washing dishes and grocery shopping--counting, identifying colors, and singing songs. We read age-appropriate books, but I also read aloud from whatever I am reading (with the occasional edit ;-o). She is certainly on track, if not ahead, for her age group.

It isn't that I am so opposed to all things electronic, I just want certain things to WORK when I need to whip them out--like a video during a long airplane flight or car trip! Now that she sees TV pretty regularly in daycare, my life is a little harder, but we are managing.

Just about everything is educational to a child this age. It is how you choose to present and reinforce the information.

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answers from Houston on

Sounds like your daughter is in "educational" overload. Remember, just the act of playing is an educational experience at that age.
I agree with the first response. Get back to the basics for toys. They hold attention much longer than electronics. Another way to renew interest is to put some of the toys in a closet for a couple of months. Switch them out once in while. That way, they have more of the "new" appeal after not seeing them for a while.
Good luck. And, just have fun with her! Enjoy the "terrific" two's!

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answers from Austin on

Other moms will know much more than I about the toys you seek. I thought about how my children learned and then about how I learned from my mother. I also thought about the mother of a blind child and how she taught her. All of us did it by talking about simple everyday things. You have a great advantage because of your education. I learned nutrition from my mother. She always told me what vitamins and minerals were in the food she prepared and why the vegetables and fruits were good for us. My friend's mother taught him not to drink sodas because they would put holes in his teeth. To this day, he hasn't had a cavity and he hasn't had a soda! The mother of the blind child, kept the child near her. She let the child feel the potato before it was peeled and then she let her feel the potato and the peel separately. She let her taste a piece of the raw potato. I am sure she carried it on to let her taste potato prepared a number of ways. My great-grandmother showed me nature... the strata of the rock, the bird pulling a worm out of the ground. She taught me the names of flowers and trees. She taught me games. Stringing wooden beads at her house was so much fun. From my grandparents who had a farm...... well, it would take too long to tell you all I learned there.... wild violets in the spring, a pine tree for Christmas, and lots of blackberries that our whole family went to pick in the woods. Then, cobblers and jelly and jam followed. All around me were smiles and productive people and good attitudes. I was gaining an education and I was collecting wonderful memories. I guess to all the moms I would say that I applaud you for creative toys and games to help your chlldren learn, but please don't forget how much they can learn from you and other friends and relatives. Everyone has something to teach.

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answers from Killeen on

Actually going back to the basics is not so bad either. My kids always loved puzzles. There are for example frame puzzles from Ravensburger which are perfect for little ones after they mastered the wooden ones. Coloring and crafts, letting the kids experience with different materials. Most things you can find in the house.

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answers from Austin on

We run a curriculum based preschool. Our blog has some suggestions and will feature specific info on toddler/preschool age toys next week. Here's a link on appropriate educational software

The key thing to keep in mind is that creative play is the most important aspect of your child's development, IE don't be concerned when she/he prefers to pull out your pots and pans! :)

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answers from Houston on

my dd 16 months loves dolls, and all the accessories like a stroller, baby bed bottles etc, she will walk them around feed them and put them to bed. she will play with dollies for at least an hour.
she also likes blocks to stack, she like thomas trains and will play with her brother for a little bit.
she loves to play outside in the sand and the water, even tiny puddles catch her attention.
we have baby first tv on our sattelite, which is excellent.
i hate to say this because there are people on this forum who sell educational toys, but every one i have bought her doesnt hold her attention for more than a minute or two, i have many leapfrog toys which are well made and cool, but she prefers an old fashioned book.
she also plays a lot with her little people car and people set.

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answers from Austin on

Puzzles are great. Once she can do them easily, you can turn them over and have her draw a picture on the back so she can put them together that way also.. I used to also lay out all the pieces to 2 puzzles and our daughter could do 2 at the same time.. Then we moved up to 4 puzzles at the same time.. Makes them last a lot longer. This is all great for memory and fine motor skills.

Our daughter also love the Memory game.. You can find it in the game section of any store. It is like concentration.
She will learn taking turns and memory building.

Good time for a slide, tiny tikes makes one. She will need to develop the large motor skills of balance, also a blanket or sheet over it makes a good hiding place.. We used to play hide and seek with our daughters plush toys.

Also an indoor tent is great for her to have a place to go for quiet time.

Blocks for building, also a bunch of big boxes taped up to make giant blocks is good. These can be built in the back yard. Giant refrigerator boxes are great for creative play. They can be a playhouse a boat, a bus... All types of things.. Finger paints can help her creativity and learn about textures..

Do you have play centers for her? Like a cooking set? A tool set? These will help with some of her fine motor skills as well as her imagination. We used to play restaurant. She had a pad and color to "take our orders" then she would "cook" and serve us. With the tools she would "Build" and "fix"all types of things.

Remember none of this has to be brand new. She will grow out of things so quickly. Also make sure you have bins and places for her to return her toys to so that she will automatically learn to clean up after each play time.

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answers from El Paso on

Enough with the learning, let's get with some creative and imaginative toys/activities: crayons, watercolors, playdoh, blocks, dollhouse, FisherPrice farm , push and pull toys, toys that she can take out of container and put back in, simple puzzles. Have fun with her too!

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answers from Austin on

The toys are too predictable, I would suggest that you might try simpler toys where the action is initiated by Paris and not by the designer. Sand and water are always popular with sieves, cups, pitchers and those paddle things which move when hit with water or sand.
Paints (or cool whip colored with food color), markers, stubby sticks (short fat crayons) and blank pages or butcher paper- the bigger the better.
Stacking blocks- you can find them at TJ's and Marshalls which teach smaller and larger and how to build, cart and manipulate.
Cause and effect, wooden blocks that can be a tower that falls, wheeled toys like cars, pulleys, pin wheels.
Simple puzzles can be done again and again.
If these toys, introduced one at a time, fail to engage her you might want to look at other causes. Hyper? or only wants to interract with Mom who is the best toy around.
You really are. Especially as you can tailor your response to her input.
She needs to manipulate her environment, not be manipulated by it.

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answers from Houston on

My son is 7 now, but two things did come to mind. Letter Factory is a DVD from Leap Frog that really seemed to help him learn his letters. A Math Desk was also from Leap Frog I think, and it was fun for working with numbers. Good luck!



answers from Odessa on

Sorry for responding a little late, but I just got home from seeing my granddaughter! When her mom was a little one, she had all the toys I could possibly find for her... and like your daughter, she would bore with them soon. Imagine our surprise when we bought a new dryer and the joy she found in the box!!! Fortunately, Sears let us keep the box, we turned it on its side and that became her 'playhouse'. She would read in there, sleep in there... as small as she was, the box looked huge. We finally gave in and the two of us decorated her house. I let her go to Walmart with me and she picked out the material she wanted for 'curtains' which was the front door, but she called it her big window. I will remember her love for that box, and she could take whatever other toys she wanted to play in there with her. Sears still carries those big items and if you dont need a new large appliance, they will save boxes for you if you contact them periodically about your need. Hope that helps :)



answers from Portland on

I was like you with my first child. All she had was learning toys so she could "have fun while getting a leg up with learning"...

My family confronted me with this and informed there was nothing wrong with the normal toys I had as a child and I turned out fine. Plus many of the toys not actually designed for leaning interaction enocurage your child to use their imagination a lot more which leads to adults who can think "outside the box"...

I thought about it and purchased some mega blocks for her to start with. Imagine my surprise at how she would play with those blocks for hours on end fully entertained and happy. Then she got a couple of dolls and some clothes and she bagan "playing house" The more non educational toys I got her the more imaginative and fully self entertaining she became...Listening in on her talking to herself as she played with these things was quite the "eye-opener" as well...She would often work through issues she had at daycare or simulate her baby getting into trouble for various things that she had gotten into trouble for (i.e. not sharing, not putting her things away, getting into things she wasn't supposed to get into, etc). It was interesting listening to her work it out with her toys. She still played with the learning toys and much more often after she had the other items, but it was always the simple toys requiring her imagination that would have her sitting and playing for hours on end...

Good Luc... ;-)



answers from Houston on

I have a very active 2-year-old boy. He loves any imaginative play. We pretend to drive places, go to the doctor's office, the grocery store, restaurants, etc. We play baby (he goes down for "naps", gets a bottle, has tummy time, crawls to collect things, etc), charades, hide and seek, and server (wearing an apron - he takes your order, brings you your food, tells you how much and then clears the dishes). We run races (always counting 1, 2, 3, go), set up "obstacle courses," and play red light, green light. A simple doctor's kit, a big set of mats, and a few balls keep him occupied for a long time. The toy kitchen really has been the biggest hit with my son and daughter at this age. It is not an "educational toy" per se, but I think it can teach a child a lot. Good luck!

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