Shopping For Littles? These Are The BEST Toys For Imaginative Play!

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With our houses and kids’ rooms already bursting at the seams with toys, it might feel overwhelming to even THINK of adding more STUFF to your already toy-packed household.

However, not all toys have to feel junky or over-stimulating! Toys are actually amazing tools to help foster creativity, imagination, and engaging play for our children!

Here are a few toy ideas that stand out among the rest to add to your shopping list for any birthday or holiday gift. These toys have proven time and time again to be worth it for imaginative play!

Magnatiles 

Christmas Shopping For Littles? These Are The BEST Toys For Imaginative Play!

I heard somewhere, “When it comes to Magnatiles, more is more.” Magnatiles are magnetic shapes that connect together magnetically in order to build structures, houses, towers, tunnels, bridges, traps, or whatever else those little minds come up with! Magnatiles are amazing for imaginative play with children and offer opportunities for children to be creative, explore their engineering side, take risks, test limits, and quite simply- PLAY! Adults often enjoy Magnatiles too, making them an excellent option for shared family playtime! Also, since “more is more,” they make great Christmas presents to add to a child’s growing Magnatile collection.

Small Toy Figures

Christmas Shopping For Littles? These Are The BEST Toys For Imaginative Play!

There is something about a toddler being able to hold a small toy in the palm of their hand that really allows them to focus and immerse themselves in imaginative play. With virtually no other set-up beyond small toy figures, my child will play for hours making the figures walk, talk, go to school, go shopping, fly, tend to a baby, sail in a boat, rescue a cat, climb up structures, avoid lava, get in trouble with their parents, and other real-life and make-believe scenarios! The figures could allow children to “practice” how a real-life situation could go, or rather create a fantasy scenario! Choose characters that your child already loves, such as Paw Patrol figures, small princesses, Peppa Pig figures, superheroes, etc.!

Play food and kitchen items 

Christmas Shopping For Littles? These Are The BEST Toys For Imaginative Play!

Just a few play food and kitchen items can open up a world of imaginative play for your child! Children can play restaurant, coffee shop, home chef, and more! You do not even necessarily need a play kitchen for your child to have engaging playtime with food and kitchen items!

Our play food, teacups, plates, utensils, blender, and platters get plenty of use from my children casually playing on the living room floor, outside in the sandbox, or in the bathtub. Incorporating sand and water with play food and kitchen items adds a sensory play element (remember making mud pies and leaf soup in your backyard as a kid?!) 

One of the greatest joys in parenting is watching our children use their imagination to play and enjoy life. Learning which toys allow them to do that has been so helpful in cultivating a culture of play in our household! These toys would be a wonderful staple to any child’s toy collection!

Allison Gregory-Graff
Allison is a mom to two precious girls, Leigh and Rhylan, and a wife to Ian. They live together in Lafayette, Louisiana. Allison graduated from UL in Elementary Education, and has been working in the education system since 2013. Her daughters are constantly teaching her that motherhood is the greatest and most challenging gift that she will spend a lifetime trying to figure out. You can frequently find Allison arranging play dates (and mom dates) for herself and her girls, drinking coffee, reading, trying to squeeze in time for a creative outlet, and enjoying her husband’s cooking!

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