Imagination Station: 10 Picks That Promote Pretend Play

From fun food sets and building blocks to unique playhouses and play kitchens, here's our top toys that promote pretend play and inspire your child's imagination.


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Mega Bloks Classic Building Bag

We appreciate how Mega Bloks focuses on designing fun and developmental toys for kids of all ages. With this classic Mega Bloks set, your child can start building their imagination skills—literally. The 60-piece set includes a variety of brightly-colored blocks in multiple sizes for creative stacking. Your child can form different animals, shapes, and really anything their little heart desires. ($23;

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Little Tikes Big Waffle Block Set

Whether your child wants to make towers, hideouts, or a playhouse, they can with the lightweight design of this Big Waffle Block Set by Little Tikes. The 18 vibrant pieces fit together securely and provide your child with unlimited configuration options. If they can imagine it, they can build it! Bonus: This set can be used outside or inside too! ($80;</p>

shop this life-size block set here

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Snack Shack Playhouse

If you've got a growing foodie who enjoys watching cooking shows more than cartoons, then the exclusive Snack Shack Playhouse from Land of Nod is an excellent choice for pretend play. With two sets of signs, your little restaurateur can choose whether they want to open a trendy cafe or hip barbecue joint. The set also comes with menus, ads, and a booth awning so your child has everything they need to manage their pretend restaurant. ($199;

spark your child's imagination with this playhouse

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KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen

Bring your child's cooking dreams to life with this play kitchen. From the fridge to the microwave, this play kitchen has everything your little one needs to cook up some fun. We love how this kitchen set comes with a four-burner stovetop perfect for creating dishes—especially with this stainless steel play pot set. Get this piece for your child's playroom and watch as they enjoy hours of pretend play fun. ($230;

order this play kitchen today

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Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Magical Oven Set

You may remember playing with Play-Doh as a child, and now you can share that joy with your own child. The Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Magical Oven Set allows your youngster to experience the fun of baking while saving you from messy dishes. It comes with five pretend food attachments including pie and cake molds. Your child simply needs to load up an attachment with their creation, place it in the oven, and watch. The oven even dings when the "food" is done! ($25;

stop & shop this play-doh set

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Superhero Capes and Masks, Five-Piece Set

It doesn't matter if your child is a DC or Marvel fan, this superhero dress up set gives them plenty of options to choose from. They can play on their own as their favorite superhero or share with their friends to imagine an entire crime fighting squad. Each of the capes are double-sided satin with an easy to use velcro closure and the masks are made of felt in each superhero's signature style. ($29.50;

buy this set for your little superhero

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Jetaire Camper Playhouse

Inspire road trip fun year round with the Jetaire Camper Playhouse from Land of Nod. The embroidered and patchwork detailings add a realistic element to the tent. Whether your child wants to go camping, make s'mores, or pretend they're traveling, this camper tent gets the job done. Bonus: Its large size makes it easy for friends and siblings to pretend together. ($199;

don't miss out on this cute playhouse

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Little Tikes Construct 'n Learn Smart Workbench

Recently, toys are starting to incorporate technology and apps to take play time to the next level. The Construct 'n Learn Smart Workbench by Little Tikes follows this trend while also inspiring pretend play scenarios. Your child will learn how to create three vehicles by using interactive tools, blueprints, and accessories. The free app works with them in real time to bring their mechanic work to life, and includes four games so even if your youngster would rather create their own vehicle, they can with the free play option. ($137;

shop this play workbench today

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Melissa & Doug Farm & Zoo Friends Hand Puppets Set

Melissa & Doug are known for creating high quality toys, and their Farm & Zoo Friends hand puppet set is no exception. The set comes with eight different zoo and farm animals that easily slide on your hands. In addition to promoting pretend play, these puppets are also great for developing motor and communication skills, hand-eye coordination, and self-confidence. Pick up one of the adorable puppets and get ready for some parent-child bonding you both can cherish. ($40;

pick up this animal puppet set now

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To the Moon Playhouse Canopy & Cushion Set

The To the Moon Playhouse is a must-have for any aspiring astronaut. With its intricate decorative details like a fuel tank, windows, and even the American Flag, your child can imagine hours of space adventures. The playhouse can be hung almost anywhere in the home, and comes with three attachable fins you can add after the simple installation. ($258;

buy this hanging playhouse for your little astronaut

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