Kids who regularly use their imaginations to pretend play develop better social skills and vocabulary than kids that do not. I love finding toys that encourage pretend play — usually toys that are open-ended and battery free. How about you? For the 2015 holiday season, here’s what’s new and interesting for pretend play gifts.
Update: 2016 Pretend Play Gifts
Pretend Play Gifts
Lock and Roll Rescue Truck Garage from Melissa & Doug ages 3+
Play and pretend with 3 wooden rescue vehicles, garage with locking color-matching doors, and keys — kids love turning the keys, opening and closing the doors, and playing with the easy to roll trucks. Big fun!
Beanie Bo Plush Penguin ages 3+
Cuddly and sweet.
Little Tykes Count N Play Cash Register ages 3+
One of the best pretend play toys with a bonus learning component. Color, size and number match with a put-and-take and coin-drop. Meant for hours of playing store!
Round the Construction Zone Work Site Rug and Vehicle Set ages 1+
Colorful activity rug with construction zone theme and 3 wooden construction trucks included. Kids LOVE this rug.
Slice and Bake Cookie Dough Set ages 3+
Pretend to bake, decorate, and serve cookies while practicing fine motor skills, learning number concepts, and more.
Play-Doh Drill and Fill ages 3+
Pretend play with the dental tools, play head and Play-Doh modeling compound. Silly and tactile pretend play.
Sweet Petites Chunky Wooden Mix and Match Dolls ages 1+
Mix, match, and stack to make doll combinations with chunky wood pieces that stand up on their own and are easy for little fingers to grasp and manipulate. Plus, they’re so cute.
LEGO Juniors Fire Suitcase ages 4+ (also see: LEGO Juniors Supermarket)
Build and play with a fire helicopter, fire motorbike, and a base station. Includes a water hose, map, barrier, fire and lights.
Hape Shopping Cart ages 3+
Durable child safe paint finish and solid wood construction. Role play with your child as you “shop” through the house. Use the basket to carry toys, plates, or wooden fruit.
Corolle Les Cheries Cecile a la Tour Eiffel ages 4+
A 13-inch doll styled in denim pants, a pretty pink polka dot top, navy blazer and pink hat with moving eyes and long rooted hair that can be worn down or styled up. She even smells like vanilla.
Magnetic Build-It Mythical Beasts ages 6+
Comes with 4 illustrated background scenes and 3 sheets of magnetic parts so you can build fantastical creatures like a Pegasus, the Loch Ness Monster, or dream up your own mixed-up beast. This is a great portable toy to bring on a trip.
Lottie Pandora’s Doll ages 3+
7.5 inches tall, Lottie has moveable arms, bendable knees and can stand on her own two feet (a useful skills for all girls big and small). She’s a positive, healthy role model; she doesn’t wear makeup, jewelry, heels or suggestive clothing, she’s the girl next door; cute, fun and adventurous.
Imaginext T-Rex ages 3+
Imaginext Ultra T-Rex that can take steps, make sounds, move his tail, and fire projectiles. Kids think these are the best toys ever.
Shopkins Scoops Ice Cream Truck ages 4+
A cool ice cream truck and 2 exclusive creamy and cold Shopkins. These are very popular in my house. How about yours?
Star Wars The Force Awakens 3-Pack Desert Mission ages 4+
Play Star Wars with BB-8, Jakku Scavenger, and Unkar’s Thug figures from the new movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Are you ready?
LEGO Friends Heartlake Hotel ages 8+
Build and play hotel vacation! Put your luggage in the trolley and check in at reception to get your room key; push the lever to take the elevator up to the second and third floor. So cool!
LEGO Minecraft Snow Hideout ages 8+
You’re on an icy mining expedition. Build a snow hideout with Steve minifigure, a Creeper with explode function, and a Snow Golem with snowball-shooting function, and lots more.
Anna and Elsa’s Musical Bicycle Set ages 3+
Play with Anna and Elsa dolls can move at the same time with 2 pedals, 2 seats, and 2 sets of handlebars. Wow!
Maryellen American Girl of the Nifty Fifties ages 8+
Imaginative Maryellen Larkin™ has hazel eyes that open and close, and her long strawberry-blond hair is worn in a high ponytail with sideswept bangs. She comes in an authentic 1950s outfit and is a spunky, interesting character.
Playmation Marvels Avengers Starter Set ages 6+
Iron Man-inspired Repulsor Gear with motion-sensing technology puts players in the Avengers action. Get moving and interactive with your technology!
Avengers 6″ Action Figures ages 4+
Thor, Marvel’s Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Bruce Banner for all your Avengers pretend play scenarios.
LEGO Star Wars Poe’s -Wing Fighter ages 8+
Build Poe’s X-Wing Fighter with spring-loaded shooters, stud shooters, retractable landing gear, opening wings, loader, access ladder and more. (From the new movie!)
LEGO Pirates ages 7+
I loved playing pirates when I was little — is it making a come back? This cool LEGO set features 2 masts with huge sails, rigging and crow’s nests, pirate flag, ship’s wheel, lanterns, working winch with anchor, a golden cutlass, a cutlass, 2 pistols and a musket.
Littlest Pet Shop Jet ages 4+
Great for hours of Pet Shop playing — this 165 piece set includes 4 exclusive pets. Don’t forget to connect to the free app for more adventures.
Playmobil NHL Hockey Arena ages 5+
Don’t you love this hockey play set? Each of the four NHL players feature a movable arm and hockey stick. Pull back the lever to swing the stick and fire the puck down the rink towards the opposing goal. Set includes four NHL players (two per team), three hockey pucks, game play rules booklet, player number decals, logo decals for all 30 NHL teams, score-keeping slide rule, and other accessories.
SCIENCE / MATH / TECH / ENGINEERING GIFT GUIDE:
STEAM / STEM Gifts for Kids
PRETEND PLAY GIFT GUIDE:
Pretend Play Gift Ideas for Kids
DIY / CRAFTS GIFT GUIDE:
Arts and Crafts Gifts for Kids
WRITING GIFT GUIDE:
Gifts for Young Writers
GAMES FOR KIDS:
Cool Educational Games for Kids 2015
Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!