1. Duplo set Okay, these are the best for 2 year olds. They still are large enough to handle for small hands, but fit together better than the megablocks. They have cute sets with cars or trucks or people and animals. The directors to make big projects are easy to follow for both of us. Perfect intro to building and creating.
2. Magnet tiles Again, these are a perfect set to start STEM projects. At this stage, Lincoln struggles with understanding how to balance them without a base, but we talk through it and I find he doesn't get too frustrated. He likes making things like garages and houses and barns out of the tiles. The shape recognition is also really awesome to see!
3. Water coloring mat I got this during quarantine and at that time Link was too little to really get it. Now, he loves to play with this mat. He shakes the water marker and it makes really awesome rainbow designs. Ours features animals and letters around it and I find his tracing and trying to make straight or curved lines has really begun to show!
4. Little people Lincoln loves these sets of people and animals. It's really fun if you have the objects they go with as well. We have a school bus and fire truck that the people go into that Link loves to play with and pretend with. They're super easy to clean so they can go in dirt or whatever and survive!
5. Brio set OH BRIO. So expensive, but honestly so worth it. Start your collection small and build on it throughout the years. Warning: these do cause frustration. Sometimes the trains separate if they have a sharp turn or big hill and this causes major meltdowns at our house. He really enjoys making tracks and then repeatedly going through it with various trains.
6. Safari animals Not just safari like this set but all animals are a major hit with both my kids. They love going through sounds and making the animals interact. Right now Lincoln is on a farm animal kick. (He slept with the cow last night!) But seriously, these are a staple.
7. Bruder If you have a truck enthusiast then you need these trucks. They're expensive, I won't lie, but they are amazing. They are beyond realistic, the parts all work, and they have little figures of the workers that go inside each truck. We have the one I put here and Lincoln is obsessed. We also have a dump truck, UPS truck, and an excavator. Save up and get it!
8. Lacing set We don't have this exact one, but it fits the same. Lacing is such a great fine motor activity or quiet time activity. I find Lincoln really loves to do this before nap or when he just wakes up. He will sit and make patterns and focus so hard on getting the little tip through all the beads. Small part alert, but they're chunky.
9. Pipes, cogs, tubes This bath set is such a game changer. I had been looking for a fun bath toy that didn't hold water for long (yuck, mold) and found these. The kids LOVE using them in the bathtub and making the parts all interact together. It's definitely something that will grow with the kids because there's tons of learning to happen. Plus they're fun to make dump soap in the tub!
10. Kinetic sand I love kinetic sand because it's not too much of a pain to clean, provides a unique sensory experience, and it's something I can throw on the table and know he'll get wrapped up in for a while. The tools this kit has are really cool. I throw them in the sink and they're easy to wash as well. I like kinetic sand because it's a weird texture and you can sculpt it as well!