The 12 Best Pretend Play Sets To Fuel Your Child’s Imagination
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If you’re looking to spark your little one’s imagination and creativity, the best pretend play sets can help to do just that. To choose the best option for your child, think about their interests and use that as a guide to determine the theme and types of toys that would be most fun for them. You should also pay attention to the manufacturer’s age recommendations for the play set to figure out whether the toy is both appropriate and safe for your little one. And lastly, consider the size and number of pieces in the play set. Larger play sets or picks with many pieces will take up more space in your home, so just be sure you have enough toy storage for it all, and opt for smaller sets or ones that can be broken down if needed.
There are tons of pretend play sets on Amazon with different themes to choose from, which is great because it means you’ll surely find something that gets your kiddo’s imagination going. Little sous chefs may find play sets that incorporate food — like play kitchens, tea sets, grocery stores, and pizza-making sets — to be entertaining, while kids who love adventures may take particular interest in toys that bring the outdoors in (on into the backyard), such as pretend camping sets, boats, or garden-themed picks. If you find that your child likes to mimic the things you do around the house, they may enjoy a grooming play set, a cleaning set, or even a tool bench. Certain picks can be useful for preparing your child for experiences they may encounter in the real world — like a medical kit, for example. And classics like wooden dollhouses are always a favorite.
To help you narrow down all of the play set options, I scoured Amazon and found that these 12 picks are wildly popular on the site with thousands of reviews that confirm they’re a blast for kids!
1. A Writer-Approved Medical Kit Play Set
My daughter owns this medical kit from Fisher-Price, and she has played with it nearly every single day for months now, giving “checkups” to all of her favorite stuffed animals. And it’s clear that she’s not the only one that loves this pick: Amazon reviewers give it a solid 4.7-star rating overall, after more than 10,000 reviews on the site, with tons of people commenting that this set was particularly useful for prepping children for a real doctor’s office visit. This pick comes with seven pieces, including a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, thermometer, otoscope, syringe, bandage, and fabric bag to corral all of the components. Some of the pieces have moving parts — for example, if you press the button on the thermometer, it moves from “sick” to “well,” a feature my daughter finds particularly entertaining since it feels very realistic.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “My granddaughter has been using other toys to pretend she's a doctor. [...] We were all her patients and she spent hours all day going from one person to the next, with Grandpop as her nurse, checking our temperatures, taking our blood pressure, giving us shots, looking in our ears, putting on our bandage and listening to our hearts. She absolutely loved it! And the quality is definitely 5 stars. Well worth the price and would totally recommend.”
- Recommended ages: 3 to 6
2. A Fan-Favorite Cleaning Play Set
With an incredible 4.8-star rating overall on Amazon, after 36,000-plus reviews, this pick from Melissa & Doug takes the cake as a fan favorite pretend play set. The adorable set comes with five child-sized tools — including a broom, mop, duster, brush, and dustpan — that your little one can use to assist with the cleaning routine around the home. All of the pieces in the set are super sturdy since they’re made mainly from wood and plastic. And when cleanup is complete, the tools can be hung up on the convenient stand.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “Right away we were surprised with the sturdiness of this set. The items are high quality and look like they’ll last quite a while. Our daughter loves pretending to clean alongside us, and despite using this set almost daily, the items have held up nicely. Highly recommend this product.”
- Recommended ages: 3 to 6
3. A Highly Rated Wooden Play Kitchen
Little sous chefs will have a blast pretending to whip up delectable dishes with this play kitchen from KidKraft, which features an oven, microwave, refrigerator, freezer, sink, and washer to fuel their imagination. It even has burners with realistic lights and sounds, shelves and hanging pegs to stash accessories, and a cordless phone. Made from a combination of wood and plastic, the kitchen is designed to fit in a corner, and it is larger in size (42.5 by 32.5 by 36.75 inches, to be exact). Just note that assembly is required with this pick, and according to Amazon reviewers, it does take an hour or so.
Choose from either espresso or white color options. Oh, and if you want to scoop up some accessories for your child to use with this pick, check out this super fun wooden set with different food groups.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “I gave this kitchen to my Grandson for Christmas!! He is 4 years old and loves to pretend he's cooking meals!! We may be encouraging a future chef!!! My son put it together in about an hour. It's very sturdy and and it will give my grandson hours of creative play!!!”
- Recommended ages: 3+
4. A Camping Set To Bring The Outdoors In
Simulate an authentic camping adventure all from the comfort of your own home with this camping play set. The 25-piece play set comes with a variety of camping necessities, including a campfire that lights up, crackles, and features cricket sounds... talk about realistic! The package also includes a s’mores set, light-up camping lantern, and play food that can be “cut” with the plastic knife on the cutting board. When not in use, all of the pieces in the set can be stored in the included backpack. Just be sure to have five AA batteries on hand to power the campfire and lantern!
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “The little campfire , sticks , marshmallows and graham crackers for s’mores is unique and lends itself to imaginative play. We loved this so much that another was gifted for a neighbor ! The cut apart fruits offer another opportunity to build small motor skills while having fun. [...] Be sure to have batteries on hand , so play can begin immediately!”
- Recommended ages: 3+
5. A Plastic Tea Set For Just $15
This plastic tea set will provide hours of entertainment for your little one — and what’s even better is that it costs just $15! The colorful 18-piece set includes a variety of tea time essentials, including a tea pot and matching lid, five tea cups, five saucers, five stirring spoons, and a couple of containers for sugar or cream. Many Amazon reviewers commented that they sometimes use this BPA-free set to serve real food and drinks, too, for a little added fun.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “My son loves pretending to cook and cut, and. I looked for a long time to find him a sturdy, fun tea set that actually works. This one was great with all the vibrant colors! We have 'tea' on most days now.”
- Recommended ages: 3+
6. A Pretend Grocery Store
Melissa & Doug is known for making high-quality toys that spark creativity, and this pick from the brand is no different. Made from sturdy wood, the grocery store play set features shelving to display food and a functioning checkout lane to “purchase” the items. Your little one will love the hand-cranked conveyor belt, card swipe machine, beeping scanner, and cash drawer. I don’t have this set at home, but my daughter has played with it at a local play place, and let’s just say she was totally infatuated with it, passing up slides, swings, and more to play with this almost the entire time we were there!
This pick is available in sets with accessories, including food items or a shopping cart should you need them. Assembly and two AA batteries are required before your little one can start playing. This pick measures 35 inches long, 27.5 inches wide, and 42 inches tall when fully assembled.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “My husband and I are SO pleased this product. We ordered this for our 6 and 3 year old sons, and they have been obsessed with it ever since I put it together. They woke up yesterday morning and walked straight out of their bedroom and into the playroom to play with this grocery store, and they were in there for 3 hours! The instructions were simple to follow, and it was easy to put together. I also bought the companion set and an extra can set to go along with it. A great buy!”
- Recommended ages: 3 to 7
7. A Large Pirate Ship Play Set That Folds For Storage
If you’re hoping for a larger play set but don’t have quite enough space to keep it set up, this fold-away pirate ship is the perfect solution. The play set measures 58.1 by 24.67 by 61.3 inches in size (length by width by height) when fully assembled, but folds flat for storage; it even has a carrying handle to make it easier to put away. When it’s not being stored, the play set boasts a bunch of fun features that will allow your little one to utilize their gross motor skills, including a climbing ladder, slide, and secret play space with two doors and a mesh window. Your child will enjoy the swiveling telescope and removable canopy, too.
This pretend play set has a 50-pound weight capacity. If your child isn’t a fan of the pirate theme, a pink castle version of the set is also available.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This indoor folding playground is perfect for toddlers. Whether using it outside in the grass or inside on a very hot or rainy gloomy day, this will come in handy so much.[...] Instructions were very easy to follow and we had it set up in about 20 minutes. My 2 year old is a little tall for her age but she can still play very comfortably on it. [..] There is an area under the slide that she can hide under. It is a small area but even my 6 year old was able to go under and play with her inside. [...] Aside from how fun it is for my youngest daughter, it’s very very easy to put away.”
- Recommended ages: 2 to 5
8. A Wooden Dollhouse With Furniture
Kids that play with dolls or miniature figurines will find this wooden dollhouse from KidKraft wildly entertaining. The bright and colorful pick is large enough for multiple people to engage with at once — it’s 25 by 13 by 28 inches in size (length by width by height), to be exact. It features three different levels (with stairs between each floor), five rooms, and even a fun balcony space. The windows open and close to add to the realistic nature of this house. Also included are 17 furniture pieces to decorate with, like a couch, piano, bedroom set, and dining table.
This pick can be utilized with dolls that are up to 5 inches tall, like this set of seven wooden ones. You’ll have to put the dollhouse together before the first use, but reviewers marvel over how easy it is to put together, and it shouldn’t take more than an hour.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “Great product and great price! My daughter spends quite a bit of time pretend playing with this house. All her toys are involved in the house play not just dolls! Great way to expand her imagination!!”
- Recommended ages: 3+
9. A 75-Piece Tool Bench
If you have a little builder on your hands, this tool bench play set from Black+Decker will be right up their alley! The set comes with 75 realistic-looking pieces, including tools — like a screwdriver, hammer, wrench, and saw — and accessories like screws, nails, nuts, a flashlight, and more. Many of the pieces feature realistic lights, sounds, and actions to add to the fun. And the storage trays and hooks on the workbench are handy for keeping everything organized. Another cool thing about this pick? It comes with the pieces for a caddy that your little one can actually build — it’s a great hands-on experience!
Two AAA batteries are required for this pick.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “We put this in my sons new bedroom and he absolutely LOVES this!! He plays with it all the time and I didn't even realize that the drill and saw were battery operated which made it even cooler. He plays with this every day and pretends to take apart and put together his new big boy bed. If your kiddo likes tools and likes to build stuff, just get it - this is a win for sure!”
- Recommended ages: 3 to 15
10. A Play-Doh Pizza-Making Set
Roll, spin, shred, and more… making pretend pizzas with this set from Play-Doh will never be a bore! The 14-piece set comes with everything needed to craft pizza creations, including a pan, pizza oven, cheese “shredder,” and of course, five cans of non-toxic Play-Doh. Shape the dough into traditional toppings like pepperoni or veggies, or create more unique ones like pineapple... your little one’s imagination can run wild!
While the set is very interactive, it doesn’t require batteries.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “My kids are all about playdoh!! And all about pretending to make and serve food, so this was a big hit with all my kids. They are girls ages 8, 6 and 4 and to watch them create and use their imaginations to create a pizzeria and serve my husband and me is just lots of fun!!”
- Recommended ages: 3+
11. A Garden Play Set For Babies 6 Months & Up
If you’re looking for a pretend play set for your baby, this one from Little Tikes is suitable for ages 6 months and up! Plus, many parents on Amazon remarked that their child played with this for years since it is so engaging — they give this pick a solid 4.6-star rating overall, after 8,000-plus reviews. The garden-themed playhouse features a variety of elements to spark your little one’s imagination, including a functional mailbox, movable telescope, and windows and doors that open and close. The play panel (which is actually removable) has different stimulating sensory components, like spinning mirrors, music, and a bead tumbler. Your sweet baby will love to crawl through the door and sit on the little slide, too! The entire set converts from a closed play center that’s more compact in size to an open, two-sided play center when desired.
Assembly is required before the first use, as are two AAA batteries.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This is certainly a must have for all homes with kids. We have now owned this for 4 years and enjoyed our offspring learn to stand, identify colors, hours of imaginative pretend and play and now teach the sibling. [It’s] very easy to assemble, taking us less than 15 mins to put together the whole unit.”
- Recommended ages: 6 months to 3
12. A Wooden Grooming Play Set
If your kiddo loves to watch you get ready in the morning, scoop up this make-believe grooming set from Melissa & Doug for them to use alongside you! The 18-piece set comes with a range of beauty tools and accessories, including a hair dryer, hair spray, straightener, comb, brush, flip-top lotion, makeup, and more. The wooden tabletop vanity measures 15.5 by 12 by 6 inches in size (length by width by height) and has a child-safe working mirror, as well as a drawer to store all of the components.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “Bought this for my 4 year-old daughter as a birthday present. She loves to play ‘make up’ and she loved this gift! She likes [to] look in the mirror, pretend she's putting on make-up, and putting things in the little drawer. Very cute gift and a great value! Melissa & Doug makes high-quality products!”
- Recommended ages: 3 to 6