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The 10 Best Pretend Play Toys

2020-07-30 by Melissa & Doug
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Summer is here! But with many camps canceled and activities limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be looking for ways for kids to have fun and use their imagination. Here are some of our favorite pretend play toys that will inspire kids to get lost in a world of imagination and wonder! Find even more of the best pretend play toys here for babies, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds, 5-year-olds, and up!

  1. Let’s Play House! Dust! Sweep! Mop!

    01_DustSweepMop

    Age: 3+
    Why It’s Great: Sized just for kids and built to last, the broom, mop, duster, dust pan, and hand brush are comfortable to use and easy to store–just hang them from the sturdy cords onto the included stand for neat, compact storage.
    Sweet Detail: Dust pan snaps onto all handles!
    Skills at Play: Fosters creativity and imagination
    Turn It Into a “Camp” Activity: Reimagine each piece as a musical instrument and get your band together to perform!

  2. Fresh Mart Grocery Store

    02_FreshMartGrocery

    Age: 3+
    Why It’s Great: The free-standing play space with smooth, curved corners and edges lets customers three and older browse the shelves and pay for purchases on one side, and allows the grocer to ring up items on the other. Realistic features include beeping “scanner,” a hand-crank conveyor belt, a card-swiping machine, a keypad/calculator, and cash drawer. Kids are sure to find everything on their shopping list at this friendly neighborhood grocery store!
    Sweet Detail: Ample shelving on both sides for display and storage; smooth, curved corners and edges
    Skills at Play: Imagination, fine motor skills, social interaction
    Turn It Into a “Camp” Activity: Come up with a name and location for your grocery store. Make a sign for it, create name tags for the employees, and more!

  3. Scoop & Serve Ice Cream Counter

    03_ScoopAndServeIceCreamCounter

    Age: 3+
    Why It’s Great: Scoop up some cool treats with this all-inclusive, 28-piece pretend play ice cream counter! The sturdy wooden tabletop counter holds eight wooden scoops of different-flavored ice cream, six assorted toppings, two cones, a plastic cup, an ice cream scooper, tongs, and a wooden spoon.
    Sweet Detail: The scooper fits into a hole on top of the scoops to lift, stack, and release.
    Skills at Play: Imaginative thinking, fine motor skills, social interaction
    Turn It Into a “Camp” Activity: Take orders on the reusable menu card, pay with play money, and serve up delicious fun!

  4. Doctor Role Play Costume Set

    04_DoctorRolePlayCostumeSet

    Age: 3 – 6 years
    Why It’s Great: The doctor will see you now! With this set, your little doctor will be fully equipped with a jacket and face mask, a stethoscope with sound effects, a reflex hammer, an ear scope, a syringe, and a name tag to personalize.
    Sweet Detail: Jacket and mask are machine washable
    Skills at Play: Imaginative thinking, social interaction
    Turn It Into a “Camp” Activity: Come up with a character name and some details about your life!

  5. Astronaut Role Play Costume Set

    05_AstronautRolePlayCostumeSet

    Age: 3 – 6 years
    Why It’s Great: Houston, we have a costume. Kids will be over the moon when they get to step into the jumpsuit, slip on the stretchy silver gloves, and top it all off with the shiny helmet! There’s even a reusable nametag that proudly IDs your little space explorer, then wipes clean so another astronaut can have a turn.
    Sweet Detail: Made of sturdy materials and built to last, the entire set is machine washable too!
    Skills at Play: Imaginative thinking
    Turn It Into a “Camp” Activity: Come up with a character name and some details about your mission to outer space!

  6. Cutting Fruit Set – Wooden Play Food

    06_WoodenCuttingFruitSet

    Age: 3+
    Why It’s Great: This wooden play food set features a wooden knife and seven pieces of sliceable fruit that can be cut into a total of seventeen pieces! Held together with self-stick tabs, the food makes a fun and satisfying “CRUNCH” sound when sliced. With so many pieces, it’s also a great way to introduce counting and the concepts of part, whole, and fractions!
    Sweet Detail: Pieces store in attractive wooden crate
    Skills at Play: Imaginative thinking, early math skills (fractions)
    Turn It Into a “Camp” Activity: Have kids mix different pieces of fruit together to create fun new fruits and name them. For example: a strawberry and a kiwi might make a “kiberry.”

  7. Food Groups – Wooden Play Food

    07_WoodenPlayFoodFoodGroups

    Age: 3+
    Why It’s Great: Planning a well-balanced meal is child’s play with this wooden play food set. Items from the five food groups–including watermelon, milk, cheese, fish, eggs, and much more–are crafted of solid wood and come with four wooden baskets for sorting and storage.
    Sweet Detail: Stores neatly in four wooden crates
    Skills at Play: Imaginative thinking, nutrition awareness
    Turn It Into a “Camp” Activity: BALANCING ACT Talk to kids about how a balanced meal should include one item from each food group. Ask them to assemble a balanced meal in each basket, then ask them to decide which would be their favorite meal to eat.

  8. Fire Chief Role Play Costume Set

    08_FireChiefRolePlaySet

    Age: 3 – 6 years
    Why It’s Great: Here is everything an aspiring firefighter needs in an emergency: a bright red, machine-washable jacket trimmed with reflective material, a fire chief helmet, a “fire extinguisher,” a bullhorn, a shiny badge, and a name tag to personalize.
    Sweet Detail: Bullhorn makes sound effects!
    Skills at Play: Imaginative thinking, social interaction skills
    Turn It Into a “Camp” Activity: Look around the house for other items that go with your costume!

  9. Slice & Bake Cookie Set – Wooden Play Food

    09_SliceAndBakeCookieSet

    Age: 3+
    Why It’s Great: Slice and “bake” a dozen wooden cookies for a sweet playtime treat! This colorful wooden set includes 12 wooden, sliceable cookies and 12 toppings, wooden knife, spatula, cookie sheet and a kitchen mitt for safe, deliciously imaginative play!
    Sweet Detail: Cookies store in a durable dough tube
    Skills at Play: Fine motor skills, imaginative thinking
    Turn It Into a “Camp” Activity: MEMORY GAME: Have kids prepare four or more cookies with different cookie toppings. Ask them to study the cookies, then to close their eyes. Remove and conceal one of the four cookies. Ask kids to describe the cookie you “ate”!

  10. Star Diner Restaurant

    10_StarDinerRestaurant

    Age: 3+
    Why It’s Great: It’s twice the fun at the Star Diner! This sturdy, double-sided wooden play space lets kids cook and serve from the kitchen side, and order and enjoy a meal on the booth side. The kitchen, with an extra-large oven, realistic burners and dials, a two-shelf refrigerator, and plenty of counter space has fun details like a drink dispenser and milkshake maker with mixing rod that can be pushed up and down.
    Sweet Detail: At the two-seat booth, customers three and older can spin the jukebox dial to choose their favorite type of music, then drop the included coin in the slot – and the coin lands in a collection tray on the other side!
    Skills at Play: Imaginative thinking, fine motor skills, social skills
    Turn It Into a “Camp” Activity: Imagine you are on a cooking show! Add your own culinary flair as you tell the audience how to prepare a meal in the kitchen, then sit in the booth to enjoy the pretend feast and describe how it tastes.

Shop our best pretend play toys by age:
Best pretend play toys for 2-year-olds >
Best pretend play toys for 3-year-olds >
Best pretend play toys for 5-year-olds and up >

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Melissa & Doug

Our team of play experts occasionally enjoys sharing news about our company, new product launches, and some of the #CountlessWaysToPlay with our toys, crafts, and games. At Melissa & Doug, we’re on a mission to inspire the innovators of tomorrow through kid-powered play!

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