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The Best Pretend Play Gifts for Kids

Take the hard work out of gift-giving this Christmas with our Gift Guide for Pretend Play! You’ll find plenty of inspiration and ideas whatever your budget. Looking for more ideas? Check out our Toy and Gift Guides page for more inspiration.

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Choosing Toys for Kids

In a world where there are so many options it can be difficult to know which toys to invest in! Here are 5 principles that I try to stick to when choosing toys for my own children.

What toys should I Choose for my Kids?

  • Toys that are open-ended– these are toys that can be used in a variety of ways and leave room for imagination;
  • Toys that grow with your child– This is about avoiding the latest ‘toy fad’ but choosing toys they’ll come back to again and again;
  • Toys that are varied– Give your kids a broad range of toys so that they build a variety of skills and interests;
  • Toys that have purpose– Think about the purpose behind a toy. How will it benefit my child to own it?
  • Toys that last– Choose good quality toys that will stand the test of time.

A word on the Gift Guides…

These guides are meant to inspire, rather than be a list of everything your child must have! Many of these toys and books we own ourselves, or are made by brands we trust and love, but there’s a few new toys that I’ve come across that I’m excited to share with you too.

The Best Gifts for Pretend Play

People & Animal Figures

Owning a set of peg people is a brilliant way of encouraging open-ended play. One day they might be spaceman and the next day they might be a family. Grimms make a gorgeous rainbow set but if your budget doesn’t run to it you can always buy a plain set very cheaply and paint them yourselves.

Our plastic animals get used all the time in various play scenarios. I’ve tried many brands over the years but undoubtedly Schleich are the best quality and the most realistic looking. This makes them fairly expensive compared to other brands but I’ve grown our collection over time. It’s also worth keeping an eye out in charity shops for them.

Schleich Animals

Schleich Rainbow Unicorn
Schleich Andalusian Horse
Schleich Tiger
Schleich Baby Animals
Schleich Farm World Animals
Schleich Shark Set
Schleich Blue Whale
Schleich Seal
Schleich Rainbow Unicorn
Schleich Andalusian Horse
Schleich Tiger
Schleich Baby Animals
Schleich Farm World Animals
Schleich Shark Set
Schleich Blue Whale
Schleich Seal

Schleich Dinosaurs

Schleich Brachiosaurus
Schleich Velociraptor
Schleich Triceratops
Schleich Dinosaurs
Schleich Brachiosaurus
Schleich Velociraptor
Schleich Triceratops
Schleich Dinosaurs
Schleich Brachiosaurus
Schleich Velociraptor
Schleich Triceratops
Schleich Dinosaurs

Small World Play Set-ups

Here’s a selection of themed small world toys. You certainly don’t need all of them but there’s some really fab ones out there that I thought were worth sharing.

Personally we’ve invested in a garage and doll’s house. We also own this beautiful wooden tree house, which is a great alternative to a traditional doll’s house, especially when bought with the wooden furniture and some Budkins fairies.

Wooden Tree House

Fairy & Elf Tree HouseFairy & Elf Tree House FurnitureFelt Elves

Le Toy Van Budkins Fairies

Budkins Garden Fairies
Budkins Truth Fairies
Budkins Summer Fairy
Budkins Bee Fairy Barney
Budkins Violet the Fairy
Budkins Unicorn
Budkins Garden Fairies
Budkins Truth Fairies
Budkins Summer Fairy
Budkins Bee Fairy Barney
Budkins Violet the Fairy
Budkins Unicorn
Budkins Garden Fairies
Budkins Truth Fairies
Budkins Summer Fairy
Budkins Bee Fairy Barney
Budkins Violet the Fairy
Budkins Unicorn

Things that Go

Road Tape makes a brilliant stocking filler for kids. If your budget can stretch further the Waytoplay flexible toy roads are a great addition to your small world collection. They can be used outside and on all sorts of different surfaces. I’ve even known people to take them to the beach!

Play Dough Kits

If you are looking for a unique gift that encourages small world play, look no further than Organised Chaos With Kids’ play dough kits.

Play dough is the ultimate gift for open-ended play and with these kits children can create small worlds over and over again. We have the garden themed play dough kit and it is still a favourite with my kids, many months down the line.

Sensory Play Dough by OCwK
Dinosaur Play Dough Kit by OCwK
Ocean Play Dough Kit by OCwK
Fairies Play Dough Kit OCwK
Sensory Play Dough by OCwK
Dinosaur Play Dough Kit by OCwK
Ocean Play Dough Kit by OCwK
Fairies Play Dough Kit OCwK
Sensory Play Dough by OCwK
Dinosaur Play Dough Kit by OCwK
Ocean Play Dough Kit by OCwK
Fairies Play Dough Kit OCwK

Pretend Play Furniture

A play kitchen will always be my number one recommendation for pretend play. If you have a little more space though a play shop can also be a great addition. We have this one from Tidlo, which also doubles up as a puppet theatre. The kids use it not only for shop role play but also turn it into other things like a vet clinic.

Pretend Play Accessories

Plan Toys Pretend Play Kits

Plan Toys Makeup Set
Plan Toys Pet Care Set
Plan Toys Dentist Set
Plan Toys Vet Set
Plan Toys Doctors Set
Plan Toys Makeup Set
Plan Toys Pet Care Set
Plan Toys Dentist Set
Plan Toys Vet Set
Plan Toys Doctors Set
Plan Toys Makeup Set
Plan Toys Pet Care Set
Plan Toys Dentist Set
Plan Toys Vet Set
Plan Toys Doctors Set

Play Food Sets

Baby Role Play

Baby role play is always a firm favourite and should be encouraged for both boys and girls. You don’t need all the whizzy accessories but a baby and maybe a stroller will give them hours of fun.

Dressing Up

Pirate Dress Up
Firefighter Dress Up
ELC Doctor Dress Up
Police Dress Up
Fairy Dress Up
Pirate Dress Up
Firefighter Dress Up
ELC Doctor Dress Up
Police Dress Up
Fairy Dress Up
Pirate Dress Up
Firefighter Dress Up
ELC Doctor Dress Up
Police Dress Up
Fairy Dress Up

Thank you for reading! If you have found these gift guides useful please share them with your friends and family on social media. Thank you!

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