With the holidays rapidly approaching, you’ve likely already been getting hints (or pages-long lists) from your toddler about what gifts they want. While their wish lists may include some items you can’t provide – it’s hard to find space for a pony in your backyard! – it may also include pretend play toys.
Whether your child wants to mimic you cooking up a storm in the kitchen or have a place to care for their own doll, pretend play toys provide tangible benefits to your child. Here’s our list of the best pretend play toys of 2017, and how your child will learn and grow when playing with them.
1. Play Kitchens and Grills
Kids spend much of their time learning about the world and how they fit into it. Pretend play is an excellent time for kids to model the behavior of role models in their lives to learn, grow, and explore. Play kitchens are the perfect way for your little one to model your behaviors, imagine, and expand their love for food and cooking.
2. Love and Care Playsets
Not just simple play, pretend play with other children fosters the development of communication, sharing skills, and other social tools. Kids also learn how to take turns, moderate, and get along with others. Love and care playsets that require children to work with their friends to care for a doll or stuffed animal will help your child develop necessary social and collaborative skills. These skills will set them up for success in the future, from their education to their career.
Pretend play, at its core, revolves around imagination. Your kids are placing themselves in worlds of their own creation, where plastic fruit becomes a gourmet meal or a doll serves as a real baby. Sometimes, kids can benefit from a blank slate to play out their created stories. Climbers can transform into anything with a little imagination – a castle guarded by a dragon, a treehouse nestled in a jungle, or a tall mountain to scale. Climbers allow your kids playtime to stretch as far as their imagination can.
4. Play Workshops
Besides the positive effect that pretend play can have on your child’s creativity, social, and emotional development, it can also help with physical growth. Some pretend play toys, like play workshops and utility benches, are great for developing your child’s fine motor skills. While imagining and playing on the workbenches, kids can also improve their dexterity by building a range of wooden structures.
Not only will your child love playing with their new pretend play toy, you can rest easy knowing that they’re also developing essential physical and social skills that will serve them well far into the future. If you’re ready to start shopping for some of the best pretend play toys of 2017, check out Step2’s line of toys for every child.