10 Best Role Play Toys To Encourage Imaginative Play | Kidadl


10 Best Role Play Toys To Encourage Imaginative Play

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We all remember the days we spent as children playing dress-up, pretending to be doctors and creating fantasy worlds with our Barbies and other toys.

Whether they are a fireman, doctor or always copying mum, there is no doubt about it, children love role play. While their imagination does most of the hard work, finding the right role playing toy can help direct your child's creative energy into play that supports their development.

From fashion shows to doll houses to building and playing in Lego worlds, children have been engaging in role play forever. There are a huge number of toys that take pretend play to the next level, delivering all the imagination and creativity of regular role play with added components for cognitive and skill development.

The best toys will encourage children to let their imaginations run wild while having an educational element built in such as role playing that encourages social skill development or improves vocabulary.

The right toy will entertain your little one for hours and give them endless possibilities for creative pretend play. We're sure the perfect role play toy is on this list but if you're looking for more inspiration for great children's toys, check out our list of the best robot toys or the best travel toys. 

Our Top Choice

Leapfrog Count Along Till‍

Your child can stock up on colours, numbers and counting skills with this great play shop for children. This 20 piece kids' shop talks, sings and counts and has life like scanning sounds so your child will feel like they are really at a till. The toy till comes with numbered buttons and toy money that are used to teach early mathematical skills with the help of fun songs. The toy shop comes with eight food items that correspond with buttons on the touch screen to teach your child colours and vocabulary. Your child will have hours of fun with this toy supermarket till and you'll be satisfied knowing they are gaining cognitive and social benefits along the way.

  • Price: £16.99
  • Age: 2+
  • 3 x AAA batteries required

Best For Budding Medical Professionals

Hersity Kids Medical Playset‍

This great toy lets your child experiment with being a medical professional with all the equipment for them to feel the part playing doctor, nurse and dentist. The kids' doctors set comes with 35 medical pieces including a blood pressure cuff, reflex hammer and much more. The toy also includes a medical professional dress up outfit so your little one can look and feel the part. Parents will love that this toy packs away into a super useful carry case. Your child will get comfortable with doctors, nurses and the dentist, getting them ready for visiting the real deal while they have loads of fun.

  • Price: £19.99
  • Age: 3+

Best Classic Role Play Toy

Hasbro Gaming Classic Operation Game‍

Role playing toys don't get much better than the classic family favourite, Operation by Hasbro. This toy will give the whole family hours of fun as they use this set to remove Cavity Sam's 12 funny ailments. Your child can also play doctor alone and develop their hand-eye coordination and dexterity along the way.

  • Price: £120
  • Age: 6+
  • 2 x AA batteries required

Best For Pizza Lovers

Play-Doh Stamp 'N Top Pizza Oven‍

This great toy kitchen set runs on pure imagination and will have your child ready to open their own pizzeria. The kitchen comes with five Play-Doh colours that will meet all of your child's pretend cooking needs. You child will be able to make custom pizzas over and over again with a range of pizza tools from pepperoni moulds to a cheese grater to make the perfect pizza for everyone.

  • Price: £19.99
  • Age: 3+

Best For Introducing Chores

Little Henry Children's Toy Vacuum Cleaner

This toy vacuum cleaner comes highly rated and is a perfect toy cleaning set for the child who loves to help with cleaning up. Your child will be busy cleaning for hours and once all the hard work is done, the kids' hoover accessories can be neatly stored inside. We especially love this toy hoover for its life like vacuum cord fit with a reel in handle.

  • Price: £20
  • Age: 3+
  • 4 x C batteries required (not included)

Best For Children Who Love Cooking

KidKraft 53402 Vintage Play Kitchen‍

You'll quickly have a chef on your hands with this bestselling kids' play kitchen from KidKraft. This kids' kitchen is fitted with a toy microwave, oven, fridge and plenty of storage space for all your child's play food sets. The working knobs on the oven will help develop your child's fine motor skills and the sink will have them washing up like a pro, ready to take one chores as they get older. This sturdy roleplay toy is built from BPA-free plastic and will be perfect for years of making toy food.

  • Price: £208.48
  • Age: 3+

Best For Dress Up

Melissa & Doug Fire Chief Dress Up Costume Set

Let your child's imagination run wild as they bring their dreams of being a firefighter to life in this great dress up costume from Melissa & Doug. The costume comes with all the firefighting essentials including a bright red jacket with reflective trim, a helmet and fire extinguisher and a bullhorn that makes sounds. Plus, this kids' role play toy includes a reusable name tag for your child to personalise. They'll really be feeling the part with this great dress up kit and they'll be learning about emergency services along the way.

  • Price: £19.99
  • Age: 3+

Best For Animal Lovers

Battat Dalmatian Vet Kit‍

Animal lovers will have a ball learning to look after their favourite fluffy friends with this super cute dalmatian vet kit. The kit includes a soft dalmatian and all the essential toys any budding vet needs such as heartbeat and blood pressure tools and needles for administering medicine. The kit's chunky pieces make it perfect for tiny hands to grasp easily and the kit neatly packs away into the carry crate, perfect for keeping your house mess free.

  • Price: £31.99
  • Age: 2+

Best For Pretend Tea Parties

LeapFrog Musical Rainbow Tea Party‍

This super cute rainbow tea party brings awesome educational features to the classic children's tea set. This set includes nine pieces that will teach your child sharing, shapes and manners. The toy kettle has nine learning songs and 80 sounds and phrases that will keep your child and their friends entertained during their pretend play tea parties. When your tea lover tips the teapot, they'll see the 'tea' move. As they enjoy tea and cake, your child will be learning about counting and when playing with friends, they can practise social skills like sharing food and patience.

  • Price: £22
  • Age: 1+
  • 2 AA batteries included

Best For Budding Builders

JCB Workbench And Tool Case Playset

This JBC toy tool kit and workbench contains all the tools your budding builder needs to make all of their construction dreams come true. The kids' tool set includes a battery operated drill to have your construction enthusiast feeling like a bona fide builder during pretend play.

Kidadl Best Buys selects the top parent-recommended products across the web for families of all ages. If you liked our suggestions for best role play toys for children then why not read our suggestions for the best microscopes and mud kitchens for children.

  • Price: £20
  • Age: 3+
  • 2 x AA batteries required (not included)
Written By
Hannah Bowyer

<p>A fitness enthusiast with a passion for helping people find their best selves, Hannah is a qualified personal trainer who is currently training to be a yoga instructor. She is also knowledgeable about mindfulness and meditation. Hannah has lived and worked in many different countries across Asia and the Americas over the last four years, and loves to write about her travels. Her dynamic nature is reflected in her love for running, whether it's towards a plane or a personal best.</p>

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