We have a 2-year-old. He does not play with toys for more than the first 30mins. What toys to start with at that age? So what solutions are there? How many unique toy sets are needed usually? What are proven toys that allow him problem solving?
The number of unique toys your child needs is determined by the amount of time you are willing to spend picking up these toys and their associated parts. The above post mentions pots, pans... "household items". This is truth. I have a drawer full of kid safe "sacrificial" cooking stuff In the kitchen in a bottom cupboard for this reason.
Empty , washed out orange juice or milk cartons can be blocks, garages, projectiles, towers, musical instruments...the possibilities are endless!
My almost two year old loves bingo markers right now. It combines his interest in colors, making a mess, and "slamming" stuff.
Two year olds also like to pretend, dress up, and "help".
Quantity is not so important if you can duplicate the "newness" of a toy over and over. I have a locked toy cupboard where I stash stuff that is on it's way out of favor. I replace those "same old" items on their toy shelves that they have access to with stuff that has been "out of sight, out of mind" from the cupboard. It's like Christmas every few weeks! (In fact, I confiscate quite a few of the new toys right away at holidays/birthdays because there are always too many new things all at once-I stagger them into the rotation.)
I know it's time to donate a toy if it doesn't even move off the shelf after it disappeared for a while. It means my kids are done with it.
The "secret toy cupboard" method also keeps the kid-clutter to a minimum. And, kids are easily overwhelmed by too many choices anyway.
Here's a great toy site: http://m.melissaanddoug.com
You can shop by age.