Last week, we celebrated the second birthday of my honorary niece, Georgie.

We went to her family’s house for bagels and coffee, and many kids ran around underfoot. The toddlers obsessed over Toby — “Mommy, he’s a TEENAGER!” — and Anton convinced me to let him try a cup of milky coffee. Meanwhile, Georgie wandered ghostlike through the chaos with a vaguely worried expression.

That night, when we were all getting ready for bed, I said to Anton, “I don’t think Georgie knew it was her birthday today.”

To which Anton replied: “I don’t think Georgie knew it was *a* birthday today.”

Haha, little kids are the cutest/best. Before going to the party, I had asked CoJ readers for gift ideas for two-year-olds. (It’s funny how quickly you forget!) The #1 recommendation?

The Melissa and Doug ice cream set is a winner,” wrote Mariah. “And it lasts forever.” Added Anon: “I second the Melissa and Doug ice cream set! My daughter got it two years ago, and both our children still serve us ice creams. every. single. day.” Then Julie said: “We gave our two-year-old the Melissa and Doug ice cream set, and when her cousins, ages 5 to 14, were over, they ALL played with it!”

Other good ideas?

“Okay, I agree that the Melissa and Doug ice cream set is awesome. But I came here to mention that the best two-year old toy EVER is the Dyson play vacuum that actually works. I don’t know why, but you don’t question something that perfect, you know?” — Jennifer

“Best gift I’ve ever given was to a two-year-old: We put a helium balloon with a long string into a giant box. When she opened the box and the balloon floated out, she went wild! She grabbed the string and ran all over the house and then spent much of the afternoon trying to pull the balloon back down into the box to reenact the opening with everyone at the party.” — Shannon

“Classic books from our own childhoods or our older children’s childhoods,” says Mariah. Adds Agnès: “A book is and will always be the best gift! And you can read it to Georgie!!” Claire writes: “Gifts for a two-year-old: Books, always books.”

And, finally, “it’s funny because my go-to two-year-old gift is the Melissa and Doug school bus you recommended ages ago, when Toby was little!” — Katie


Style icon in action.

Joanna Goddard Georgie

Me trying to get that outfit down!

What would you add? What gifts have worked well for the kids in your life? I got Georgie the ice cream set!

P.S. Slamdunk birthday presents for kids of all ages, and a foolproof gift for $1.

(Photo of Georgie by Christine Han.)

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission or have a sponsored relationship with the brand, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.