Play ball!
December 3, 2022 9:08 PM   Subscribe

A 2-year-old has asked for a ball to play with and I'd like to get them a couple as a gift this season. What types of ball would a 2 year old most appreciate?

I'm open to buying one ball for indoor play and another for outdoor play. I'm guessing that the balls should be small enough that the little one can throw them and kick them, but not so small that they would get lost under the couch or in the grass. Ideally the indoor ball should be soft enough that it wouldn't be at risk of breaking stuff inside. The outdoor ball should be able to stand up to getting wet or being left outside for a while.

I'm also open for other recommendations for other gifts that a 2 year old could count as "a ball," but I'd like to avoid anything that makes annoying sounds, has flashing lights, or is messy/disposable.
posted by arcolz to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total)
Honestly the cheapest lightest supermarket balls are the best - big enough to catch, light enough not to knock them down.

My kid also liked a biggish nubby textured ball around this age, the bumps made it easier to catch.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 9:29 PM on December 3, 2022 [8 favorites]

The Gertie Ball (available many, many places, I just picked one to link) is extremely popular for a reason. It is a truly lovable ball, huggable as well as play-with-able. Here's the description from the link:
What makes a Gertie ball so wonderful? It’s the soft squishy, huggable feel! Our Gertie balls have unique, slightly-sticky surface that makes them extra easy to throw and catch-even for the youngest kids. Simply inflate the balls to the desired size and skill level. Whether they are full and bouncy or light and gentle, for both indoor and outdoor play. And, it’s the only ball that travels small!! Deflate flat for easy packing, then reinflate quickly with the included straw.
It's never as light as those super lightweight supermarket balls, though -- maybe one of each!
posted by redfoxtail at 4:58 AM on December 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

Depending on the 2 year old I might also go for one of the plush balls (link to completely random example). Specifically I'd go with this if this two year old is of the "throw it as hard as you can at things or people inside the house to see what happens" type instead of the "let's play a nice game of catch" type.

I seem to remember our two year old having one of those many years ago and it being well received by the entire family, as we ended it up also using it for a parents game after she went to bed where we tried to throw it as hard as we could to get the nose of some light up lion toy to go off and make sounds.
posted by true at 6:08 AM on December 4, 2022

At that age (and for a long long time afterwards) one of my son's favorite balls one that was about 4 inches diameter that lit up when it bounced, and then kept flashing for a while afterwards. I'm only finding links to buy them in bulk, so I'm guessing they're easy to find inexpensively if you have a local toy store you can get to.
posted by Mchelly at 9:34 AM on December 4, 2022

Out of left field suggestion - a kid who likes fancy things might like a temari, in addition to whatever more practical ball you find them. They're gorgeous, inexpensive, and durable.
posted by spiderbeforesunset at 11:09 AM on December 4, 2022

For the outside ball, I’d strongly recommend a standard size 3 soccer ball. They can be found for ~$15 in a variety of cool colors and patterns, they’re much more durable outside in the rain than the light supermarket ball. My 2 year old loves his.
posted by Night_owl at 11:41 AM on December 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

When my kiddo was a toddler his favorite ball was something like this one. It's rubbery, bouncey, and all the separate straps made picking up, throwing and catching easier for his little hands. I don't see the exact one we had, so I cant speak to the quality of this exact one, but it's the same general concept.
posted by CleverClover at 11:44 AM on December 4, 2022

I'll second the recommendation for Gertie Ball and Supermarket ball, and also throw in for the classic baseball-sized pink rubber bouncy ball.
posted by TheCoug at 7:00 PM on December 4, 2022

Koosh balls are easy to grab and soft, so safe for gentle throwing.
The classic supermarket plastic balls are really fun in all sizes. Toddlers like them even when they're too bog to hold.
posted by theora55 at 5:37 AM on December 5, 2022

This type of graspable ball is advertised for infants but honestly they're so easy and fun to use (and also pretty much impossible to get much force behind when you're little, which means they're good indoors) I would highly recommend them.

The generic version of the classic red kickball is another fave, and they are designed for rough use outdoors. I say generic cos it's unlikely you want to spend 30 bucks on the "official" ball, but you want to get the right type of rubber: you might remember it well, and the knockoffs are very unsatisfying. For younger kids, they work really well if they're underinflated so that there's more grip potential.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 5:45 AM on December 5, 2022

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