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Pretend Play

Pretend play or role play is a type of play where little ones experiment in different roles. What makes it fun is that it requires imagination and creativity and is separate from other daily activities because the actions are not performed as a necessity.

Play can be so many things and it usually develops anytime from 11 months old, but is really noticeable around the time children turn 4 years old.

There are many toys that we think you will love here. Doctors kits and dolls prams are perfect examples. They enable our little ones to use their imaginations in play that something or someone is real and they assign roles to the toys or their friends. The thinking skill of pretend play means that children understand the meaning of what is happening, which is a key stage in development.

So, whether you encourage pretend play by creating a shop with a till, a carpenters workshop or a wheelbarrow you’re sure to see the benefits. Through engagement little ones actively experiment with social and emotional roles. The social aspect teaches taking turns, sharing and problem solving.

As comes with territory, you provide the toys and enjoy watching the results!

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Children’s Wooden Role-Play Toys

Looking for the best role-play toys for children? Here at Wood Bee Nice, we know the importance of pretend play for developing social and thinking skills. 

That’s why we’ve selected sustainable wooden play toys from top-rated brands like Le Toy Van, Hape, Tender Leaf, Djeco and more! In addition, our pretend play toys are available in various sizes, shapes and colours to inspire children of all ages!

What is Pretend Play?

Pretend play, AKA role-play and imaginative play, allows children to create their own world of fun without the need for structured activities or games.

Some examples of pretend play are:

  • Wooden toy kitchens and cookers for toddlers and children to imitate grown-ups while exploring different foods and utensils while feeding friends, dolls and teddy bears.
  • Work Benches let little hands get to work using the wooden play tools and chalkboards. They can imitate grown-ups and feel a sense of accomplishment. It’s also perfect for role-playing with other children to strengthen social skills.
  • Shopping trolleys are the essence of pretend play. Little ones can help grown-ups pretend shop and decide what food they want to eat, creating a healthy sense of independence in toddlers and small children.
  • Doctor Sets give children the opportunity to gain confidence through pretend play thanks to learning new words while imitating important members of the community.

What are the Benefits of Role-Play for Children

Imaginative play is how young children come to learn about the world and themselves. Early learning is filled with fantasy and creativity. It is the perfect opportunity for little ones to master essential skills like imagination, social and emotional regulation.

Here are a few more advantages of pretend-play in childhood development:

  • Develops imagination and helps children to think for themselves
  • Deepens empathy skills by learning to walk in other’s shoes
  • Ability to practice social skills and prepare for life’s emotional rollercoaster
  • Boost self-esteem by creating a happy inner and outer world
  • Self-awareness and noticing others’ feelings around them during role-play
  • Improve communication skills while expanding vocabulary
  • Decreases anxiety as they make sense of the world around them
  • Mastering emotional regulation during pretend play when things don’t go as planned
  • Sharpens memory when imaginative play requires problem-solving skills
  • Refines motor skills when using role-play toys
  • Enhances physical development

How can Parents Encourage Pretend Play?

In one day, children can be an barrister in a spaceship, a magnificent knight or even practice clean their room!

Children love to imitate the grown-ups around them. So, playing face to face with little ones enables them to copy facial expressions and gestures, which adds to their future social skills. 

It’s essential to follow your children’s lead when role-playing. This allows them to feel in control which helps self-esteem and confidence to blossom.

Little ones thrive on repetition – especially during fun role-play games! So, provide them with wooden pretend play sets and always keep it simple. 

Choosing the right toys will enhance their role play experience. Wood Bee Nice have a lovely collection of sustainable and educational wooden toys for pretend play. So, discover our full range of pretend play kitchens, wooden toy shops, and role-play Montessori accessories right here


What are the best role play toys for children’s pretend play?

There is an endless choice of role-play toys. Some favourites are career-based role-play toys such as a wooden toy workbench or a children’s doctor set. Or, children can get lost in imaginative worlds with wooden market stalls, wooden cookers and wooden puppet theatre boxes.  

At what age do children stop pretending play?

Children tend to grow out of role-playing games at around 12. This is because they’re more integrated into reality and want to focus on school, sports and friendships. 

What is the difference between pretend play and role play?

Role-play and pretend play mean the same thing. It can also be described as imaginative play or symbolic play.