Shopping for Jacobi’s second birthday gifts was a lot more fun now that he’s older and can genuinely appreciate receiving a gift and exploring a new toy. I had so much I wanted to buy for him, but ultimately chose a few gifts I knew he would love. Two weeks after receiving the gifts, I’ve realized we did well – he still plays with all of them on a regular basis.

1. Ikea 8-track train set

This was actually his Christmas gift, but it’s one of his most played with toys. He isn’t as into the imaginative aspect of it yet, but enjoys fitting the track pieces together. We started with this simple figure-8 track, but plan to expand in time.

2. Puzzles

A hellobee member recommended this one to us and I’m so glad she did. It is perfectly age appropriate and serves multiple learning purposes such as shapes and colors. I had originally ordered a different puzzle, but I was annoyed that there were no grooves for the puzzle pieces to fit into, and I knew J would quickly become frustrated that the pieces wouldn’t stay in place. We are saving that one for when he is a little older and more patient.

3. Art supplies

He is also getting into coloring and art-like activities especially if they include stickers. The only coloring medium I currently allow him to use are colored pencils. He will still eat crayons, break them or color on other things, and the same with markers. Pencils are a lot easier to clean off of furniture!

4. Basketball Hoop with Small Basketball

J has always adored balls, any ball of any shape, color or size. He can spot a ball from several hundred feet away and make a mad dash for it. He will spot them at target before we can dart away from that aisle – he loves them. And lately he has been obsessed with basketball ever since we walked by a gym where there was basketball game tournament. This hoop is perfect for him. It is designed for over the door, but the plates the fit over the door can be taken off so that the backboard can be mounted on the wall. We actually just put it on the rail of his crib during the day and take it off at bedtime. That is the perfect height for him right now and he loves “playing basketball.”

5. Books

In particular, Daniel Tiger books. J is obsessed with the show and asks for it every day. I don’t like allowing him to have screen time every day if I can help it, but I know how much he loves that show, and these books have been the perfect compromise. We have the trolley book and the bedtime book and they are the only “long” books that he will sit through. The other book he received from his grandma was the Eric Carle Around the Farm sound book. He loves listening to the sound of all the animals.

6. Duplos

J is really into building and making things now. Legos were too difficult for him at 18 months (he would try to stack them like blocks), but at 2 years old he picked it up right away. Like I said, he isn’t as into the pretend-play aspect of the Lego set, but building with them is an activity he loves to do. In addition, my mom and sister got him two extra packs including this garbage truck set that is his favorite (he loves watching the garbage truck on garbage day) because it comes with a lego garbage truck that you can maneuver to dump lego pieces into the truck. The other one he received was the policeman and robber set. There are so many fun sets and variations that I’m excited to build his collection over time.

What gifts would you recommend for a toddler?