The Power of Pretend Play

What is Pretend Play and How Does it Help with Communication Development?

Pretend play, also called imaginative, creative, make-believe, or role play, is a type of symbolic play that begins anywhere between the 11 month and 18 month mark and continues well into early adolescence. When engaging in pretend play, kids use their imagination to assign roles to toys, objects, people, and more, creating a scenario where there is more going on inside their mind than in their physical environment.

Playing house and dress-up are two examples of pretend play. Engaging in pretend play helps children develop their cognitive and communication skills, as well as the idea of cause-and-effect by imagining situations and stories that are logical and sequential. Pretend play helps children practice using toys and objects in creative and imaginative ways, and helps them develop the language skills used to describe their ideas.

Tools & Resources for Introducing Pretend Play at Home or in the Classroom

Pretend play is most frequently seen among children in early childhood, with most of their skills being built between ages 2 and 5. It’s important as parents, caregivers, and teachers to provide many different high-quality toys and tools for pretend play, and to encourage children to explore different ways they can utilize them for storytelling and pretend play. Child’s Play carries tons of great toys, dolls, play food, costumes, and more that will foster a love for imaginative and creative play in children of any age.

Doll Calin Unicorn

Bébé Calin Unicorn is a 12- inch baby doll - the perfect size for little mommies and daddies to rock and cradle in their arms. Its soft body is posable like a real baby, and its sleepy eyes close when it's put down for a nap or at bedtime. The doll's head, arms and legs are made of soft-to-the-touch vinyl that is delicately scented with vanilla, a Corolle signature. Bébé Calin Unicorn is dressed in a purple onesie featuring unicorn embroidery and a hood with a gold horn and two little ears.

Ages 1.5+

Calculator Cash Register

This award-winning calculator cash register is the perfect addition to any pretend store! Encourage beginning math and calculator skills while providing lots of opportunities for imaginative play. They'll also learn currency denomination and have fun handling life-size money. Large buttons on the keypad are easy for little hands to press and the cash drawer makes a 'cha-ching' sound when it opens.

Ages 3+

Barbie Teacher Doll

Barbie teacher doll helps her students make the grade with 10 teaching accessories! Explore geography with the spinning globe. Study biology with the microscope. Mix it up in chemistry with two flasks and two beakers. Then record, study and grade it all with the clipboard, book and laptop that opens and closes. Barbie doll heads the class wearing an outfit that can be accessorized with her glasses or goggles. Explore all the Barbie career dolls and toys to open the door to endless possibilities.

Ages 3+

Paw Patrol Pup Pack

Suit up for exciting PAW Patrol missions! This exciting kid-sized Pup Pack backpack has lots of pockets for exploration and rescue supplies, including binoculars, rescue whistle, and pretend play pup treats in a pouch. Slide one of the four double-sided mission cards into the PupPad and use the red lens on the 3-in-1 tool to find items hidden on the fold-out mission map and activity guide!

Ages 3+

Birthday Cake Play Set

Every day is a celebration with this festive wooden birthday cake play set! The durable wooden set includes six ready-to-cut slices of cake, seven removable candles, three delectable toppings, and a bright red cake plate and server.

Ages 3+

Little Helper Broom Set

Let your little one help with the chores and feel all grown up with the Junior Helper Broom Set from Schylling Toys, the world leader in traditional toys and classic fun. Complete with a 30 inch long broom, dust pan and brush sized just right for kids. The soft, thick bristles can handle any mess. The separate brush fits snuggly into the dust pan for easy storage and the broom and dust pan can be hung up on pegs. Learn great habits as you help around the house.

Ages 3+

Magnetic Playset - Construction Site Children will exercise their imaginations for hours with this magnetic construction site playset that encourages storytelling, promote problem-solving skills, and build skills in sequencing. The 18" x 14" play board folds in half and is sealed with a clear, resilient coating to make cleanup easier. The vinyl, waterproof magnetic playing pieces provide extra hold.

Ages 3+
Hot Wheels Stunt & Splash Car Wash

The Hot Wheels Stunt Splash Car Wash playset combines practical elements of a real-life car wash with the action-packed world of Hot Wheels. A crank elevator carries cars through an intricate set-up that leads to a rain-pipe where kids release water onto the cars. Kids control whether it's hot or cold water, which changes the color of any Hot Wheels Color Shifter. 

Ages 4+

Scoop & Serve Ice Cream Counter

Scoop up some cool treats with this 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. Take orders on the reusable menu card, pay with play money, and serve up delicious fun!

Ages 3+

Playmobil School Bus

This school bus comes with front and rear lights that bring the set to life. It also has ample seating for the four included figures, plus any other Playmobil travelers!

Ages 4+

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