Your toddler’s developing imagination is one of the best parts of childhood. Pretend play helps your children grow intellectually and physically, as well as work out their emotions and learn problem-solving. Toddlers also learn empathy and cooperative play when they start playing pretend with their peers. Imaginative play toys for toddlers are a necessity in your household, and we have plenty to recommend!

KidKraft Ultimate Corner Play Kitchen- Play kitchens are a classic, imaginative toy for toddlers that never go out of style. Children have grown up with play kitchens for generations and the next generations will as well. Understanding how to cook nutritious foods at home is a great building block to healthy lifestyle choices as they get older. The KidKraft Ultimate Corner Play Kitchen is a space-saving kitchen that resembles the real thing. The play kitchen is very detailed, made of composite wood rather than plastic, and offers lots of storage, knobs, and doors that all work and additional accessories included. There are many play kitchens you can choose from, but the KidKraft is our favorite.

Spin N Sort Spout Pro- This imaginative bath toy for toddlers is all about experimentation and exploration of basic science principles like cause and effect. The Spin N Sort Spout Pro comes with three stackable cups, an automated spout, and spinning gears that all suction cup to the side of the bathtub or shower wall. Your toddler will love playing with this STEM supporting bath toy that also develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Bath toys are great for imaginative play, and there is no shortage of bath toys to play pretend.

Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House Pretend Play Set- Melissa & Doug is one of our favorite brands for imaginative toys for toddlers. Children love to emulate their parents, and this pretend housekeeping set makes a broom, mop, dustpan, and feather duster all toddler-size so they can help out with the household chores too. Your child will learn independence, confidence and open-ended, hands-on play. We love that Melissa & Doug offers a 100% happiness guarantee so that if your child isn’t inspired, the company will do what they can do make it right. Check out some of our favorite ways for getting your toddler to help with household chores.

Deluxe Dress Up Trunk- Kids love to dress up in costumes, and this dress up station by Born Toys comes with explorer, safari, scientist/doctor, and gardener costumes that are all washable! The dress-up box also includes tons of great accessories like gardening tools, name tags, lab coat, goggles, whistles, and others. As your child collects other dress-up pieces, you can add to the trunk or get a bigger one! The trunk is recommended for ages three and up, and a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee is provided by this imaginative toy company.

Fisher-Price Little People Caring for Animals Farm Playset- Fisher-Price offers many different imaginative toys and pretend playsets like Little People. The Caring for Animals Farm Playset includes a barn, farmer, pig, chicken, horse, and cow with calf. There are also buttons on the barn that play fun songs, animal sounds, and fun farmer phrases. The hayloft opens, and lights also turn on, and the stall doors open. Fisher-Price does a great job of making kid-sized versions of real-world experiences. Your toddler can start developing an appreciation and empathy for animals as soon as their toddler years with animal care playsets like this.

Kid Explorer Kit- Anything that gets our kids outside, away from the phones, tablets, and television is a great toy to have, but I especially love imaginative toys like the Kid Explorer Kit that help make the great outdoors not so scary for little ones. This kit encourages scientific exploration outside and comes with binoculars, magnifying glass, flashlight, whistle, compass, and a drawstring backpack for carrying home all the treasure you find on your adventure. You and your toddler can have a blast while searching for cool bugs, looking for birds, collection leaves, and exploring your backyard, park, or nature trail.

Play Dinosaur Book Set- Every child is fascinated by dinosaurs, and if you’re looking for your toddler’s first set of plastic dinosaur figures, Li’l Gen Dinosaur Book Set is a perfect choice. Included in the reusable play box are twelve life-like, seven-inch dinosaurs, and an interactive sound book that tells the story of a dragonfly venturing through the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods. Each dinosaur figurine is discussed in the book, and you can use them to play, pretend, and act out scenes from the book. We love that this company only makes plastic figurines that are Phthalate and toxin-free.

If your child is a big fan of dinosaurs, we also recommend the TEMI Dinosaur Activity Mat that comes with nine additional dinos and a large play mat that represents a place like Jurassic Park.

Berenguer Boutique 15″ Soft Body Baby Doll- Playing with dolls is proven to be good for boys and girls alike because it helps develop empathy and nurturing capabilities. The 15-inch Berenguer Boutique Baby doll is realistic and detailed with eyes that open and shut. The body is super soft and great for hugs and cuddles. We love gift sets like this that also include outfits, shoes, bottles, pacifiers, and other baby accessories with the doll-like the Berenguer Boutique doll has. Don’t worry about all the pink either, this baby doll comes in a blue, blue elephant, and pink elephant theme in addition to the classic all-pink baby doll design. JC Toy has been a doll manufacturer for decades and has all their products safety tested and approved for children over two years old.

There are so many different imaginative toys for toddlers on the market that the options for your family are nearly endless. We always recommend checking the safety ratings on toys for toddlers and always try to avoid toys with choking hazards. If your little one is just shy of the toddler phase you can also try these great developmental games and activities for your one-year-old.