Thursday, February 18, 2010

unfortunately it isn't practical to ask her for a wish list

Hello! I'm nearly two! And I play with business cards and mint tins!

It turns out that one of the biggest challenges of motherhood isn't having the patience to correct a tantrum. It isn't doing the daily routine and living to tell about it. It isn't making the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner and repeating it until your eyes roll into the back of your head. It isn't changing diapers, fishing poop out of a bathtub, the teething, or lack of sleep. One of the biggest challenges of motherhood is choosing appropriate birthday and Christmas presents.

And dude, I'm facing my Annual Biggest Challenge right now and I need your help.

It's Bean's birthday in just a couple of weeks and I'm at a loss. I've decided that two is a hard age for kids in terms of toys. I challenge you to find toys rated for 2+. There are a million for 1+, and a million for 3+... but 2+? Not so much.

Not that I'm using that as a guide, mind you, I just don't know what we should give to her, something fun but useful and educational.

But first, some background about Bean:

...She loves blocks and books and anything with music.

...She also loves Elmo. I can't stress this enough, though lately the love has been spread to the wider Sesame Street family.

...She can count to 14, recognizes all the numbers, knows her colors, and is starting to actually RECOGNIZE (read?) SPECIFIC LETTERS. It's unreal. But I'm offering this so no one goes and suggests a shape sorter (cuz she also knows all the shapes including -I'm not kidding here- the TRAPAZOID) or My First Book of Numbers.

...She isn't really into dolls yet. I'm thinking that's going to be next year's fabulous cast of gifts, which I'm totally up for.

I've considered getting her this Fisher Price Sesame Street thing. Which, I think she'd like, but I'm not sure she'd PLAY with it... yet. (I'm also a little bitter about this item because I had one when I was a little girl, and first of all there were A LOT more little people to play with than the TWO that this set comes with; second, my set actually had an Oscar INSIDE HIS TRASHCAN - this one comes with Elmo and Big Bird. That's it.)

I've considered getting her some Duplo blocks, which I KNOW she'll love, but it would take away the special experience she gets when she plays with the motherlode of Duplo blocks at my parents' house.

And I've considered the fake food / tiny pots & pans / cooking miscellanea route - because she loves to be with me in the kitchen, and she loves to play with the plastic food at other people's houses. But would it have true Toy Staying Power?

I'm throwing this one out to you guys. Toys appropriate for a two-year-old that will last for a while, won't bust my budget, and Bean will actually like. What do you think? One of the above I've listed, or something else entirely?


Anonymous said...

We've been using our pretend kitchen for a long time and it has never gotten old. Preparing is eternally fun, I guess. Until you get old, marry and have to do it every damn day.

Duplos also rule in our house. Endless entertainment.

We're also big PlayDoh fans here, if Bean is old enough to play with it and not eat it. Hours of entertainment to be had with squishy dough.

I'm trying to think of other favorite 2 yr old toys. If I come up with others, I'll email you.

Amanda said...

My experience says that she'll love the box of whatever it is that you give her!

Oh and wish lists aren't helpful. My Skyler turns 7 tomorrow and desperately wants Hannah Montana shoes with heels. BLECH!

wandering nana said...

I think Shelly is right. The Kitchen is fun (does take up room). Maybe since she likes the kitchen, get her a little set of pots and pans and dishes, and of course, she must have a fabulous apron that matches her mothers. So I think you should get her (or make it for her-read my post today as Whimsey can make anything... notice I'm building up the hype), The fabric house that fits over a card table! She could decorate it and go in and out for hours. Let me know and I can send you pictures. Didn't we just celebrate her 1st birthday?

Claire said...

I agree with the play kitchen!! That's about the age I got one for my boys, so.. a girl would likely definitely adore it!!
She's a cutie!!!!
Or, just get her another mint tin, a deck of cards & save the trouble because you know, if you get all excited for a gift, she will like the box.
Kids...I got get em!

Rose said...

Actually, you can still look at a Shape Sorter thing or something similar because, it teaches her the concept of what fits into what, and maybe some big little. There's more to it than just knowing shapes!

How about jumbo bricks? If you have the budget for it.

Definitely get her more books, you can't ever have too many of those!

How about Elmo's Potty Time DVD? I'm not saying you have to start potty-training her yet, but watching the movie will help her start to be familiar with the concept of the potty, etc...

A tricycle?

Also, if she knows her letters and numbers, and you're entertaining the PlayDoh idea (you can make your own dough, by the way), then you can giver her play dough stampers.

The pro of the Playdough stampers is, you could start teaching her to spell. She doesn't have the fine motor skills to actually WRITE yet, but she could stamp her name in the PlayDoh!

Does she know textures?

How about putting puzzles together? (What fits where).

Actually, there's a lot of stuff on Lakeshore Learning that I like! Here's a category that contains over 300 items for children aged 18 months - 3 years.

Mr. (or Mrs.) Potato Head? I think they make a version for 2-year olds.

Raffi CD's.

Let me know if you need more ideas than that! I can keep going!

Eleanor Q. said...

So we're in the same boat and here's what I'm thinking:
1. Tricycle. Already been gifted. Hiding in the trunk of my car. We got one with the adult push handle so we can start using it even though he's just learning to peddle.
2. Play kitchen has been suggested by everyone we know but for space reasons I'm nixing it. We did get some fake pots and pans at IKEA awhile ago and those have been a big hit. If you have the space, I think the Step 2 Kitchen has been the most suggested item.
3. Books. I find that he wants a lot more story books now so I set up a wishlist on amazon so that people can choose what they like from my pre-approved list.
4. Puzzles:Jigsaw and such. More complicated than the matching picture and shape ones. Crocodile Creek makes some nice ones that come 4 puzzles to a pack and start at 4-6-8-12 pieces and come in a nice lunch box to hold them all. Also on our wishlist.
5. If I had a backyard I would also ask for a t-ball set or picnic table so that we could enjoy the out of doors more. Perhaps
6. I also got suckered into buying this recently and aside from its loud noise, its not a bad toy. But it Bean is already on top of her letters perhaps its too easy? Though it does feature Elmo, Cookie and Ernie. little

Let us know what you decide!

KAY said...

This age is EASY. Sheesh, what do you get a 13-year-old who doesn't watch television or surf the internet for hours a day?!?

1. Play food and kitchen. Tupperware tea sets -- cute if your kid is familiar with the regular sized ones. another fave is the Melissa and Doug foods that velcro together. And if plastic kitchens are not to your decorating aesthetic, go to and see some of the cute kitchens made from some basic furniture pieces.
Are you wanting to make fake food? Have you met the world of felt food? We have recently fallen into this world. It's fun and addictive -- google it in etsy. Oh my...

2. Tricycle is another big hit. Use those large muscle groups and go outside. It's good stuff.

3. Little People from Fisher Price. Okay, I hate the new ones with the articulating joints. I like the arm-less ones of our youth or the late-90s plastic ones. We have been trying to shed some of our sets, but the girls begged if they could play with them first.

Jayme said...

My girls still regularly play with their kitchen and all it's paraphernalia at 7 & 5.

Alicia @ bethsix said...

Ooh! How about a nice set of wooden blocks? That way, it might not impinge on her Duplo excitement at the 'rents. (Oh yes, I did just say "'rents.")

My kids have what they call a "snack shop," purchased at Target a couple years ago, with red bins and wooden food (sushi!) and a chalkboard to write the daily special and a cash register/scanner and fake CASH MONIES! And a wire shopping cart. (However, I have no recollection of how many DIFFERENT ITEMS that was when we bought it... I know it didn't all come together. It was like one BIG Christmas gift for my oldest two a couple years ago.) It's actually in our garage right now :) because we have no space. But my kids love it.

If you have no space for a play kitchen (bwahaha!), you can get the mini-dishes/pots without the actual kitchen. Kids don't care, and it's almost more fun to PRETEND more of it anyway. Ikea has a GREAT, CHEAP set of really durable but ceramic dishes just like real ones (like $9).

I went through a bit of a phase when I researched good kids' authors, so I have great kids' book recommendations if you want them... Less so with music, but I do have some good recs for music that won't make you want to spoon your eyeballs out.

If you get something to do with play-doh, you can always make homemade play-doh too. That's fun. And tasty!

Megan said...

I was at a loss last month for our 2 year old too. Since she has 3 older sisters we have a lot of girl stuff and I wasn't excited to buy more...but this what we got. Dress-ups, my daughter LOVES them, shoes and all. Some little dolls to go with her princess castle and this...Radio Flyer Girls' Deluxe Steer & Stroll ® Trike, from Target of course. The bike was a HUGE hit for her!

Heidi said...

When Sami was about 2 we bought her a playhouse! We kept it in the house! It was huge but she loved it! That was the year my dad died and she would go in and carry on a conversation with him and cook him dinner! It was really sweet. It was hard to give it up to move here. It was big but she played consistantly in it for years.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

(Sorry I missed the Minionlympics!)

I agree with the play food/kitchen gadget suggestion. It's been one of Z's favorite toys for over two years.

Also, around 2, we got her a little plastic tea set and she still loves to play with it. It's a great way to teach about sharing. When friends come over (adults and/or kids), she can whip it out and offer "tea" to everyone and there's enough cups to keep everyone happy.

(Of course, problems ensue when her little friends also want the tea pot!)

Rose said...

I also might add that if you make your own Play-Doh, you can add a couple packets of Kool-Aid to make it smell good!

Also, for you, you can get The Toddler's Busy Book or The Preschooler's Busy Book. It's filled with lots of cheap activities that you can do with your little girl. :)

Sara Hammond said...

Maybe making your own kitchen so it would be the right size would be better than buying one?