• Top 10 Best Pretend Play Toys in 2021 (Learning Resources, Melissa & Doug, and More) 1
  • Top 10 Best Pretend Play Toys in 2021 (Learning Resources, Melissa & Doug, and More) 2
  • Top 10 Best Pretend Play Toys in 2021 (Learning Resources, Melissa & Doug, and More) 3
  • Top 10 Best Pretend Play Toys in 2021 (Learning Resources, Melissa & Doug, and More) 4
  • Top 10 Best Pretend Play Toys in 2021 (Learning Resources, Melissa & Doug, and More) 5

Top 10 Best Pretend Play Toys in 2021 (Learning Resources, Melissa & Doug, and More)

Pretend play is one of the best ways for kids to stretch their imaginations and creativity, and while kids can play with basically anything, good design can help your child grow. That’s why we’ve decided to figure out what makes a great pretend play toy.

While researching, we found that the best toys are durable, age-appropriate, and sometimes even useful (to mom and dad). Toys that can be used in multiple ways are great, and ones that can grow with a child are even better. Keeping these factors in mind, we’ve put together a list of our favorite pretend play toys, including Battat's Farmers Market Basket.

Experts featured in this article

Dr. S. Amna Husain
  • Last updated: 02-26-2021
Table of Contents

Top 10 Best Pretend Play Toys

While kids do have preferences, most can find a way to have fun with almost anything. Just be sure that the pieces are age-appropriate to prevent choking or injuries.
1

BattatFarmers Market Basket

$11.95

Best for3+
MaterialsBPA- and phthalate-free plastic
Size10 x 8 x 3.5 inches
FunctionalNo
2

TresbroWooden Dentist Tool Toys

$19.99

Best for3+
MaterialsWood with non-toxic water-based paint; metal stethoscope
Size
FunctionalWorking stethoscope
3

Melissa & DougTake-Along Tool Kit

$10.99

Best for3+
MaterialsWood
Size9.9 x 5.5 x 4.8 inches
FunctionalNo
4

Maple LandmarkMites Wooden Cars

$33.79

Best for2+
MaterialsWood with non-toxic paint
Size3 inches each
FunctionalNo
5

Learning ResourcesPretend & Play Calculator Cash Register

$51.13

Best for5+
MaterialsPlastic
Size13 x 9.5 x 8 inches
FunctionalYes
6

Learning ResourcesPrimary Science Lab Set

$24.14

Best for3+
MaterialsPlastic
Size
FunctionalYes
7

Grimm's Spiel und Holz DesignSet of 12 Rainbow Friends Peg Dolls

$89.99

Best for1+
MaterialsWood with non-toxic paint
Size6.1 x 4.1 x 2.8 inches together; 1.25 inches in diameter each
FunctionalNo
8

Teamson KidsLittle Chef Florence Classic Kids Play Kitchen

$69.99

Best for3+
MaterialsWood with lead-free paint
Size38 x 21.5 x 12 inches
FunctionalNo
9

PrextexPlush Farm House

$24.99

Best for1+
MaterialsPlush fabric
SizeBarn: 11 inches; Horses: 5 inches long
FunctionalNo
10

Melissa & DougLet’s Play House! Dust! Sweep! Mop! Pretend Play Set

$20.24

Best for3+
MaterialsWood handles
Size28 inches tall
FunctionalYes

Compare the Best Pretend Play Toys

Image
1
Battat Farmers Market Basket 1

Battat

2
Tresbro Wooden Dentist Tool Toys 1

Tresbro

3
Melissa & Doug Take-Along Tool Kit 1

Melissa & Doug

4
Maple Landmark Mites Wooden Cars 1

Maple Landmark

5
Learning Resources Pretend & Play Calculator Cash Register 1

Learning Resources

6
Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Set 1

Learning Resources

7
Grimm's Spiel und Holz Design Set of 12 Rainbow Friends Peg Dolls 1

Grimm's Spiel und Holz Design

8
Teamson Kids Little Chef Florence Classic Kids Play Kitchen 1

Teamson Kids

9
Prextex Plush Farm House 1

Prextex

10
Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House! Dust! Sweep! Mop! Pretend Play Set 1

Melissa & Doug

Name

Farmers Market Basket

Wooden Dentist Tool Toys

Take-Along Tool Kit

Mites Wooden Cars

Pretend & Play Calculator Cash Register

Primary Science Lab Set

Set of 12 Rainbow Friends Peg Dolls

Little Chef Florence Classic Kids Play Kitchen

Plush Farm House

Let’s Play House! Dust! Sweep! Mop! Pretend Play Set

Features

Cut Fruits and Veggies With a Full Sensory Toy

High-Quality Medical Set for Wannabe Dentists

Best for Kids Who Like to Build

Classic and Safe-for-Play Wooden Toy Cars

Learn How to Count and Use Cash

Have Fun Experimenting With a Science Kit

Simple Dolls for Imaginative Play

Learn Your Way Around the Kitchen

A Well-Made Horse Plush Toy Set

Sweep and Clean to Play

Price$11.95$19.99$10.99$33.79$51.13$24.14$89.99$69.99$24.99$20.24
Best for3+3+3+2+5+3+1+3+1+3+
MaterialsBPA- and phthalate-free plasticWood with non-toxic water-based paint; metal stethoscopeWoodWood with non-toxic paintPlasticPlasticWood with non-toxic paintWood with lead-free paintPlush fabricWood handles
Size10 x 8 x 3.5 inches9.9 x 5.5 x 4.8 inches3 inches each13 x 9.5 x 8 inches6.1 x 4.1 x 2.8 inches together; 1.25 inches in diameter each38 x 21.5 x 12 inchesBarn: 11 inches; Horses: 5 inches long28 inches tall
FunctionalNoWorking stethoscopeNoNoYesYesNoNoNoYes
Link

How to Choose a Pretend Play Toy – Buying Guide

Finding the right toy is about striking a balance between preferences and some of the factors featured below.

Find a Toy That’s Age-Appropriate or One Your Child Can Grow With

Find a Toy That’s Age-Appropriate or One Your Child Can Grow With
Though some kids may not be picky about what they play with, it’s important to find a toy that’s appropriate for your child’s developmental stage.
The littlest ones probably won’t care much about what a toy is so long as it’s engaging and stimulating. To that effect, look for toys that are colorful and made from different materials to activate their senses
Find a Toy That’s Age-Appropriate or One Your Child Can Grow With
Slightly older kids will benefit from toys that work their fine motor skills–toys with more moving parts or component pieces that come apart.

For early elementary-age kids, look for toys that encourage them to act out real-life situations with more detailed parts. Some examples of this type of toys include doctor sets with various tools, kitchen sets with utensils, and store sets with toy money.

Ensure That Parts are Non-Toxic and Aren’t a Choking Hazard

Ensure That Parts are Non-Toxic and Aren’t a Choking Hazard
For parents of young children especially, it’s important to ensure that all of a toy’s parts (including glues and paints) are non-toxic and won’t accidentally come off. For plastic toys, look for labeling that says plastics are BPA-free. For wooden toys, check whether the description specifically says the paint is non-toxic.
And remember that even if it looks like there are no small parts, you should always pay attention to your little ones to make sure they’re not putting anything they shouldn’t be into their mouths.

Look for a Toy That Fits in Your Space

Look for a Toy That Fits in Your Space
Some pretend play toys like miniature kitchens or playhouses can take up quite a bit of space. And while they may be fun for kids, it probably won’t be as fun for you if it takes up half of your living room. So, be sure to check measurements before buying, especially if you’re on the hunt for something larger.
It could also be important to look at measurements if you’re looking for toys that can match with other toys in your child’s collection–for example, if you’re looking for a kitchen and utensil set that will fit the fake food you already own.

For Industrious Little Ones, Look for Functional Toys to Help Mom and Dad

For Industrious Little Ones, Look for Functional Toys to Help Mom and Dad
Some pretend play toys are a little less pretend than others and actually function as miniature versions of real adult products. Many of these are cleaning- or cooking-related items and can be used by little ones to help parents around the house. 

These are great for encouraging responsibility and beginning to implement chores while also allowing kids to feel grown-up.

Why Pretend Play is Important for Children

Why Pretend Play is Important for Children
While math and reading are undoubtedly beneficial for children to learn, it’s perhaps equally important for kids to play pretend as it helps them develop important life skills. For instance, pretend play can help kids learn to navigate social and emotional situations as they take on characters and see the world through different eyes.
If they’re playing with other kids, it also gives them a chance to practice patience, cooperation, and communication and language skills
Why Pretend Play is Important for Children
Often, kids pretend to take part in situations that they may not ever have been in, and acting out a role allows them to use words and phrases that they may have heard somewhere and wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to try.

And of course, pretend play is a fantastic way for kids to stretch their imagination and critical thinking skills as they create scenarios and rewrite the rules of the world to fit their imagined world.

Keep Your Kids Busy With Plenty of Toys

Keep Your Kids Busy With Plenty of Toys

Kids are always looking for new ways to play. When you're in need of new toys to keep your little ones busy, keep our articles in mind! We've prepared plenty of buying guides to help you pick the best toys for your children.

Summary

Pretend play is an invaluable part of being a kid, and having the right toys can make it that much more believable for them. Just be sure that the one you choose is high-quality and built to last.

Author: Jacqueline Oshiro


Kid-Safe Bath Toys Recommended by an Expert

When toys get wet, oftentimes they begin to accumulate mold and bacteria. When your toddlers are always biting or playing with them, it's always best to find a toy that's made to keep clean. Here's one recommended by pediatrician Dr. S. Amna Husain.

Expert's
pick

MunchkinCleanSqueeze Mold-Free Bath Squirts

4 pack

$8.99

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