Birthday gift for a 2 year old girl
April 1, 2024 6:19 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a great birthday gift for our 2 year old niece

My sister in law always gives fantastic gifts, and her daughter is turning 2 this month. I would love to get her daughter something wonderful and thoughtful like the gifts she gets for our son.

Our niece is funny and active and will be getting a balance bike for her birthday. I don't have a good handle on what two year olds are into, but I know they don't want us to give her a scooter. They live in an apartment up 5 flights of stairs so nothing too big or cumbersome. She likes the zoo but they already have an annual pass.

For a clue of what is cool: for our sons recent 1st birthday they got us the Horbert kids radio programmed with kids songs from my husband and my childhood. I can't compete with the thoughtfulness (or the time spent on it) but I'd love something similarly low / no tech, little bit crunchy. And the Horbert is expensive (and they had to pay duty to get it to us),so I'm thinking $200 plus.

They live in a city in Switzerland, in case there's anything specific.

Thank you!
posted by Chausette to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
What about something from Grapat? My wish list would include the Wild series (technically 3+), the perpetual calendar, and mandala sets (but check for choking hazard of various pieces). Bonus, they ship from the EU and the calendar is available in multiple languages.
posted by cocoagirl at 6:38 AM on April 1

I just got my 1 year old a Pikler triangle and ramp which is also getting heavy use from the 5 year old. See a set here from a Ukrainian company. This one does fold up for storage, so it can be brought up on rainy days when the toddler is literally trying to climb the walls, and then go away in a corner.
posted by damayanti at 7:56 AM on April 1

Magna tiles is always my go to gift for anyone under 10.

And to make it thoughtful, maybe set up a Pinterest board with a million different ways to use them

Here's an example

ON Insta
posted by Ftsqg at 8:09 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]

A bell for her bike!

Kid safe cutting knives (2 year olds love to help)

A spinning chair

A gigantic yoga ball
posted by CMcG at 9:17 AM on April 1

My (now 4.5 year old) daughter got magna tiles for her second birthday and they still come out all the time.

Wooden trains and tracks (brio-style) are also a good option at this age that will see long term play.
posted by SoftRain at 9:55 AM on April 1

A busy-board
posted by Phssthpok at 10:53 AM on April 1

I don't know about the viability of getting them in Switzerland, but my 2 year old niece loved play silks (specifically Sarah's silks). There are all sorts of accessories for them as well (clips, displays, etc).
posted by miscbuff at 11:02 AM on April 1

Biggest hits for that age lately have been this Set of Flowers, magnatiles, Wooden Animalz, and subscriptions to KiwiCo (these are great for parents who need to pull something out)
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:27 AM on April 1

I always send books, but also a nice sketchbook and age-appropriate art materials are great. My kid goes through paper like it's going out of style, and has since before she was 2. You can go high-end on the paper and materials if you want (imo a bit wasted on a toddler but I feel like this question is sort of about reciprocating to the parents as well?)

For books, look at the NYRB republications of some really lovely kids' books. I liked the Leonora Carrington book and also Donkey Donkey by Roger Duvoisin. Oh! And we got my kid Daulaire's book of greek myths around this age, which they also have.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 11:29 AM on April 1

Yoto player
posted by peanut butter milkshake at 12:37 PM on April 1

Two is the age of modeling behaviors seen and indulging in imagination. When I was two, my parents got a wooden playhouse for me for the back yard. It had a door, a round window, and a square window, and was big enough for me, a tiny chair and lots of toys. I still miss it dearly. When my friend's little boy got an indoor teepee/tent, I was quite envious.

Recently, I've seen a variety of indoor princess/fairy tents at various price points, and I have to admit that if I could fit in them comfortably, I'd get one for a reading/meditation/nap nook. It might be too stereotypically gender normative depending on their preferences, but playhouses yield so much space for the imagination.

This one isn't as fancy as some I've seen, but this one has a dreamy quality that's just lovely. These are small enough to fit in a playroom or bedroom, but large enough to use as a toy area after she's too big to play inside. This similar one from Home Depot appears to me much larger, than the prior one, but without the carpet and the lights.

For something less princessy, there are little house-shaped play tents like this Tiny Land one from Amazon. Now that I see it, I want to buy it for myself. For realsies! (Here are some other Tiny Land options.)

I don't know how accessible these would be for shipping, but I imagine the ones from Amazon could be ordered from the Swiss Amazon.

Crunchy is out of my sense, but for a more gender-neutral set of options, these Podsplay luxury play tents ship worldwide and are really cool and artsy/science-y/planet-y.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 1:23 PM on April 1

Crunchy, two years old, liking animals, and apartment living makes me think this family might enjoy raising a few butterflies. Doing this is a happy childhood memory for me. I was much older, but I can totally see a toddler getting very excited about her own butterflies.

It's a simple process. You buy a kit like this. They then ship a pop-up cage, caterpillars, butterfly nectar, and some fun accessories such as stickers. At home, the kid gets to wait and observe until the first caterpillar turns into a chrysalis, then the others follow suit. After a little while (a week? Not sure), butterflies emerge! You can decorate their cage with twigs, feed them fruit and flower nectar, and they'll even land on your hand sometimes (don't make a habit of that, they need to retain some healthy distrust because you want to release them after a few weeks). When they're old enough, you find a field/park or gardens and let them go. This is good for the world, because the butterfly population is so important. Raising them to adulthood gives them a better chance of procreation. The butterfly adventure is then over, but the cage will fold up and can be used again with just the cost of new caterpillars.

The website I linked to is in Switzerland, and I've used the company before. They ship quickly and they're responsive to emails.

The one thing you need to look out for is that the kits are all different. There's two sizes, and another difference is whether or not the caterpillars are included. The word "Gutschein" (voucher) means that they are not, and that instead, you get a coupon code for free caterpillars at your preferred time. You just enter a code online, and the caterpillars are shipped. Depending on whether you're aware of any travel plans, you might want that option. Taking care of the butterflies is really easy, but you do have to give them fresh nectar every day.

As you'd like to spend more money than the kit costs, you could look around the website for more butterfly stuff. I just saw a stuffed caterpillar that can transform into a chrysalis and then a butterfly!

Also, many toddlers loooove having a book (ideally fairly sturdy) with pictures of their family, friends, special stuffies, pets, their house or playground or daycare...that might be a really meaningful additional gift.
posted by toucan at 6:47 AM on April 4

« Older Job Advice, Part 59   |   Pest proof filler for crawlspaces? Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments