The Best Pretend Play Toys of 2023 So Far - Beyond the Blackboard
The best pretend play toys of 2023 so far, according to an education expert.
They'll play, play, and play some more.
With parenting, there's always something new. We come to be parents in so many different ways, we don't like our children 100% of the time (though we always love them), and we may not feel truly well-rested ever again. Parenting is also amazing. And chock full of moments we want to remember forever. A lot of those moments revolve around our child's imagination. Awesome pretend play toys encourage the development of this early creativity. Your child cutting up a make-believe birthday cake or raising their knight's shield to defend you from a dragon ... these are the days you will remember.
Excellent pretend play toys allow for open-ended play. Play food, dress-up items, and more, encourage your child to create their own narrative.
The toys in this blog post will help your young child immerse themselves in play!
Our Top Choice: A 3-in-1 Burger Car Playset
Set up a make-believe restaurant with this adorable burger car playset that's almost as satisfying as a real hamburger. It comes with everything your child needs to run a savory food truck, including hot dogs and even steaks. The pretend food stows inside for instant storage so you can keep that clutter-free home resolution. And the best part? Expect longevity from this toy. As your child gets older, they'll find new ways to play with this toy car. Our burger car playset is a standout favorite.
A Soft Doll: And a Personal Favorite
This soft doll is the perfect introduction to caring for another being. With stylish detail from head to toe, your child can hug and tote Aurore to their heart's content. The super soft doll is even machine washable, a must when it comes to toddlers, we think. Our families often note the high quality and durability of Janod soft dolls.
The Mermaid Ombre Cape Your Aesthetic Side Will Absolutely Love
This simple ombre cape is everything your child needs for splashing through an imaginary sea, and gives them what you really want: a beautiful item you both love. The cape is designed with comfort in mind and features a gorgeous range of color and detail that's perfect for playing almost anywhere. Plus, it's from a mother/daughter brand, which we're kind of partial to.
A Knight Shield to Ward Off Mythical Beasts
Every child needs a do-it-all shield - a pretend one, that is. Kids can defend their kingdom with this bold red and gold pretend play shield. The flexible, sturdy textured foam and hand-painted design make it the perfect tool for creating moments of glory.
A Tea Set So They Can Party with Their Plush
Would you like a spot o' tea? The two available color choices are both so much fun, and will make all little ones feel included. Pull this toy out to simulate social situations, stimulate speech, and encourage creative expression. Bonus: a tea set is probably a bit nostalgic for you.
A Reversible Unicorn/Dragon Cape for Ultimate Fantasy Dress-Up
With one item, you can give your kiddo everything they need to act out Fantasy's two most famed creatures. This reversible cape features a dragon on one side, complete with protective scales from the hood all the way down the back. On the other side is a soft and fuzzy unicorn with a faux fur mane and tail. Plus, it's machine washable.
Garden Vegetables That Really "Cut"
It's said that the kitchen is the heart of every home, so it's no wonder that play food makes our list of must-have pretend play toys. Even if your child doesn't have a play kitchen, this play vegetable set will get plenty of play as they mimic you prepping food. The vegetable selection is downright adorable (seriously, there's an eggplant), and the vegetables feature self-stick tabs for "real" chopping. Plus, this set's packaging doubles as a cute tray, so you don't have to worry about storage.
A Teaching Talking Cash Register to Bring Money Math to Life!
This "Teaching Talking" cash register is dynamic enough to last for at least a few years of play. Little mathematicians, shop keepers, and business owners can choose from a basic play mode or 4 featured games that increase in difficulty as your child advances. Each cash register includes play money, coupons, and even a pretend credit card - so they can learn to bargain shop and budget just like their parents.
A Set of Helping Hands for Fine Motor Fun!
Everything you need for pretend snack time is right here in this Helping Hands Snack Friends set, including a squeeze pouch. With a jar with a lid, a push pop, and more, your kiddo can build multiple fine motor grips and motions without making a mess. Seriously, this set even features faces on the Snack Friends. The cutest.
Our owner, Jacqueline Killian, cofounder of the Renaissance School, and former Douglas County Board of Education board member.