Written By: Psychologist Natasha Tanic
At the age of two, most kids are starting to master their motor skills such as running, climbing, and jumping.
They have more words, are more independent, and love playing with or next to their peers.
Tantrums and “no” sentences are a healthy way for your two year old toddler to express frustration and distress.
Free play and a variety of age-appropriate and safe toys boost your toddler’s learning, and help him polish his skills and reach milestones.
At this age, toddlers thrive on testing limits and practicing their newly discovered independence.
They enjoy being around other kids and are beginning to enjoy pretend play more, which boosts their social and emotional skills.
Check out the following developmental milestones to get a better idea of which skills you can expect of your two year old.
However, keep in mind that every child develops at his or her own pace, so if your child lags on some of the milestones, don’t worry, they’ll get there.
Your child now understands much of what you say to him. At this age, children can typically:
- Speak in sentences of two to four words
- Combine nouns and verbs
- Repeat the words they hear
- Start asking “what” and “why” questions
- Begin using basic pronouns such as “me” and “you”
- Understand words for everyday objects and body parts
- Know the names of familiar people
Cognitive milestones involve learning, thinking, memory, and problem-solving.
Two year olds start thinking in new ways and enjoy more complicated pretend play.
Also, by the time your child is nearing the age of three, most children can typically:
- Follow simple instructions
- Point and/or name body parts
- Repeat favorite nursery rhymes
- Remember things that happened in the past
- Group toys by size, color, or type
- Do simple three or four piece puzzles
Gross And Fine Motor Development Milestones
At this age, your toddler’s physical development is fast and stable. He has mastered most of his gross motor skills and polished his fine motor skills.
Most 2 year olds:
- Can walk and run
- Are starting to learn how to jump with both feet
- Can throw and kick a ball
- Are trying to catch a ball with both hands
- Can pull or carry toys
- Are able to climb on playground equipment, stairs, or furniture
- Can build a tower of at least four blocks
- Can drink from a cup
- Have started brushing their teeth and hair
- Can hold crayons and utensils with fingers instead of a fist
Social and Emotional Milestones
Your 2 year old toddler is more interested in other kids.
He is also starting to be increasingly independent but still lacking words to express his needs which can leave him frustrated and upset.
And that’s where temper tantrums and meltdowns come from.
By the end of this his second year, your child should:
- Enjoy playing with or next to other kids
- Be able to mimic what other children and adults do and say
- Do exactly the opposite of what you told him to
- Have tantrums and meltdowns when frustrated
How to Help Your Toddler Learn and Grow
Encourage your toddler to play with different toys. Read books together. Teach your two year old to name their body parts and say the days of the week.
Encourage your toddler to help with simple tasks at home, such as picking up his toys.
Always praise him for his efforts.
Best Toys For Two Year Old Toddlers
Two year olds gain knowledge through exploration and discovery.
Pay attention to your child’s interests and preferences and how he learns.
Toys that Promote Cognitive And Physical Development
Provide toys that encourage your 2 year old toddler to observe and practice their problem-solving skills.
Colorful blocks and nesting cups promote problem-solving, sorting and counting.
Toys like puzzles and shape sorters encourage kids at this age to make connections and understand the world around them.
Pretend play supports imagination and abstraction.
Playing with Play Doh and other forms of sensory exploration can help two year olds to develop eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills.
There are a variety of toys that boost toddler’s fine and gross motor skills and help them reach their developmental milestones.
Provide toys and outdoor equipment that promote movement and muscle strength.
Toys such as wooden puzzles (the kind with large knobs that make it easy for small hands to move the pieces) and wooden vehicles help stimulate both, fine and gross motor skills and build hand-eye coordination.
Two year olds also love push and pull toys and nesting toys, and both these types of toys help your toddler develop his hand-eye coordination, balance, and fine motor skills
Blocks and shape sorters are excellent ways to teach your toddler about cause and effect, promote motor development, and boost creativity.
If your child enjoys art, consider buying him a standing easel.
This toy promotes creativity and imagination, and improves fine motor skills by strengthening the wrist and your child’s fingers.
At the same time, it also encourages the development of his gross motor skills because it requires him to stand while painting.
Toys that Boost Language And Speech Development
In addition to a variety of children books that you can read together every day, buy your toddler toys like pretend food, plastic animal sets, puzzles, blocks, dolls, dollhouses, dress-up props, and Play Doh.
These types of toys promote language understanding and encourage speech.
Provide activity stations and different games that will encourage your child to ask questions and search for answers.
Toys That Encourage Social And Emotional Development
Communication between you and your child provides excellent grounds for his social and emotional development.
Through conversations with adults, children learn that other people may have a perspective that’s different from their own.
Also, encourage a lot of free, unstructured play. Play encourages kids to learn about the world, express their feelings, and deal with conflicts.
Free play helps develop language and literacy, encourages kids to use their senses, and teaches them essential social and emotional skills such as empathy, emotional control, and responsibility.
Two year old toddlers love playing with dolls, dollhouses, and themed playsets.
They also enjoy pretend play props such as play kitchen and pretend-food, doctor’s sets, and farms with plastic animals.
These types of toys teach your 2 year old cooperation and turn-taking and encourage your toddler’s emotional expression, impulse control, and responsibility.
Your two year old child has officially grown into a busy toddler who learns new physical skills every day and loves exploring.
He enjoys running and jumping around and has more and more to say.
You may discover that “no” has become one of your child’s favorite words, which shouldn’t concern you as this is a natural part of your two year old’s development.
2 year olds develop self-awareness and gain the independence that helps them learn and discover new things.
Allowing your child time for free play and providing a variety of age-appropriate, safe toys is an excellent way to boost your toddler’s learning, and help him polish his skills and reach milestones.