Turning 2 | Learning Gifts for My Favorite Toddler

Welcome to the September edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Exploring and Learning. This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. This month our participants are writing about this exploring and learning! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.  

Next week my sweet little girl turns two years old! Where has the time gone? I have absolutely no clue?!?!?

Over the last while I’ve been trying to determine what Jemma might need or want for her birthday. In our family, birthdays are the big soiree. Christmas and other holidays are very low-key as we opt to celebrate the “reason for the season” rather than focusing on gifts. So, in preparation for Jemma’s birthday I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect gifts that will help her learn and grow over the coming year. Here’s what I’ve found:

Balance Bike

I found one of Prince Lionheart’s balance bikes on Rue Lala last month and scooped it up with some of my savings. Normally this is more than what I’d spend on a single item, but one of Jemma’s little friends, a 3 year old, has one and loves it! With the rainy weather on its’ way, I decided this balance bike would be a great indoor option for some physical activity that teaches balance, steering, and coordination.

Magnet Board

I saw this DIY on Pinterest (where else?) and knew immediately that it would be perfect for Jemma! Our fridge is stainless steel, and therefore, does not magnet :( so we’ve been in need of another option. I’ve heard you can pick up these car oil pans for super cheap at Wal-Mart, so now I’m just on the hunt for a fun set of magnets. Any ideas?

Baby Signing Times
The “baby” movie is a big hit in our home. Jemma signs baby whenever she wants to watch it so it is obviously a great tool to teach signing. I bought volume 1 a long time ago and Jemma is addicted to it. Unfortunately this means I’m super sick of volume 1’s playlist. So, maybe this is more of a gift for me? I haven’t ordered it yet … trying to decide on which volume to get next. If you have a favorite between 2, 3, and 4, let me know!
I’m curious, what toys and learning activities did your 2 year old appreciate most? 
Shoot, what did your 3 and 4 year olds like … I can always start shopping or crafting ahead of time :)


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  1. says

    I always wanted to buy a balancing bike for DD, but we never did… At age two… Now I must think. I think she most loved playing in nature and playing with paint, just free painting, hands on. She also got a train set back then, and she's still loving it (and see what happens when you put it in a room of men!), we just got the inexpensive Ikea one and built on it over the years.

  2. Hannah says

    We bought Eli a balance bike for his third birthday. It was absolutely a sanity saver for me this rainy winter/spring. From February on he about road the wheels off that thing in our house :) it really is amazing how well he can balance! We have a fairly sloped driveway and he loves to start at the top, cruise all the way down with his feet up and then turn and take off down the sidewalk, all without putting his feet down! Definitely recommend the balance bike :)

  3. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Yay! I'm glad to hear it was a good buy!

  4. ThatMamaGretchen says

    I haven't tried paint with her yet … just crayons and markers. I'll have to pick an afternoon to explore that. And I love those trains! I'm holding off until we get moved and have a little more space … maybe that would be a good Christmas gift for both kiddos in the coming years!

  5. says

    I made a mistake with teaching my firstborn sign language as a baby. . .he didn't actually talk until he was 3 because of it, so for my second son I only taught him small signs like eat and drink and milk and that was it. He started talking at 16 months. It was a huge difference between them, but yeah. . .I was all for sign language teaching until I had that issue. I was born partially deaf (but Jesus healed my ears and speech in a dream with him in it at about 5 years of age and I was completely free from any issues). I didn't even teach my firstborn THAT many signs, but it was far too many. Anyway, just be cautious of how much you teach your child of it. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading through a few of your posts!! May the Lord bless you.

  6. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Interesting! I haven't seen a decrease in Jemma's verbal skills due to her signing. As of now they more compliment each other. I'll definitely be careful in going overboard when we start signing more with Max.