Pretend Play For Toddlers {Simple Ideas For 18months+}

Pretend play for toddlers is something which comes naturally when they roughly reach the age of 2 years old and their imagination and creativity really starts to come alive.

Pretend play or otherwise known as imagination play is lots of fun for toddlers but just as much for us parents as we can see our kiddies developing in leaps and bounds.

It is delightful to see our toddlers’ personalities during the play time and fills us up with deep pride.

Although pretend play for toddlers tends to come alive at around 2 years of age, you may very well see your young toddler starting in simple forms from around 18 months old.

Not only do we have many fun-filled types of pretend play for toddlers ideas but some toys/ accessories which could perfectly accompany many hours of excitement.

Pretend Play For Toddlers Benefits

  • Our children can express and listen to thoughts and ideas which will also allow them to balance their own ideas with others. 
  • They are building their imaginative play allows to build their development skills
  • Pretend play improves language skills

Check out Scholastic’s article explaining more benefits and The Importance of Pretend Play.

pretend play for toddlers

Pretend Play For Toddlers Ideas

1. Doctors/Nurses:

Here are a few of my favourite medical kit options our toddlers will love:

SweetGarden Wooden Medical Kit

Melissa & Doug Doctor Costume Set

Fisher-Price Medical Kit

Playing doctors and nurses is a wonderful way to encourage our little ones to show emotions and can teach them how to express when something is hurting or if they don’t feel well.

Even just a simple stethoscope will have our toddlers feeling like the newest doctor in town and they will be doing regular check ups on both family members and soft toys.

Let’s see if your toddler has any sympathy for the sick patients. My daughter at the moment finds it hilarious and finds great joy in telling us that we are sick.

This is a great game for mummy to have a lie down for a short while as the reliable doctor takes care of us. 

2. Babies

Baby Annabell Doll

Baby Born

It doesn’t have to be a gender specific activity and boys enjoy playing with baby dolls just as much as girls.

It is utterly fascinating seeing how toddlers seemingly automatically know how and what to do with a baby doll. But if you haven’t already guessed, they are copying us mummy’s!

Kids will take over the role as mummy whilst playing with their very own babies.

Playing with the babies doesn’t have to be sophisticated but creative ideas are key. An old shoe box or a similar cardboard box along with a blanket can be used to create the perfect bed for the baby doll.

Watch in awe as our not-so-little toddlers rock and comfort the dolls to sleep, change their nappy (diaper), sing nursery rhymes and get them dressed. 

3. Kitchen

IKEA Duktig

Hape Gourmet Kitchen

Teamson Kids Wooden Kitchen

Whether it be a kiddies kitchen or our real kitchen, our toddlers love helping mummy and doing exactly what they see us doing daily; cooking, cutting, stirring, washing the pots.

I bought a wooden toy kitchen for my little girl when she was around 20months old. I anticipated that perhaps this was a little early for her to completely appreciate her new toy but I was very wrong.

This has to be one of the top purchases for toddlers around the age of 2 which will be used for years to come.

In my opinion, a wooden kitchen is definitely worth the extra money and will last the test of time (and the bashing of our full of life toddlers.

Check out our Best Play Food For Kids over on our article which are perfect to add to our pretend kitchens. 

4. Shopping

Miniature Metal Shopping Basket

Learning Resources Stack Of Baskets

Milliard Store Shopping Cart

It seems so simple yet is such a fun game for our toddlers to move around the house. It also doubles up as a great language development activity.

All that is needed is a shopping basket or even one of mummy’s bags that she doesn’t use.

Send your sons’ and daughters’ for a shopping trip around the house by asking for a particular item from one of the rooms, for example “ Please could you go to the kitchen and get me an apple.”

Of course make sure that all items are within toddler reach to prevent any danger.

Our very own mini grown-up’s will be grinning from ear to ear as they walk around like us adults with a bag and do some daily tasks. 

5. Driving The Car

My little one would stay in the car for hours if she could.

Pretend play for toddlers in the car is super fun and there will be all kinds of brumming, beeping, wooshing sounds coming from inside when our little drivers are in charge of the wheel. By this I obviously mean whilst the car is at a standstill and the keys are in mummy’s safe hands.

Surprisingly pretend play in a car is actually amazing for improving fine motor skills and is like having our very own busy board. T

here are windows to open and shut, seatbelt to click open and close, steering wheel to turn and buttons to press.

It’s no wonder that our toddlers never want to leave the car!

6. Cleaning The House

Melissa & Dough Dust, Sweep Mop Set

As mentioned in our Toys For 15 Month Old article this mini cleaning set for our kiddies is just wonderful.

Young toddlers love to copy and repeat what the people close to them are doing and wanting to clean is no exception.

As well as being a big help to us mummy’s, this kids cleaning set will also be a big hit when it comes to pretend play for toddlers.

Our little ones will love nothing more than being the perfect housewife/househusband.

It will be beneficial to have a read of our Encourage Young Toddlers To Copy And Repeat {Copying Activities} article too.

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