In case you’re new here, at the time of publishing this post, I have a 2 year old toddler called Tyler. He turned 2 a couple of months ago now and he is becoming increasingly more interested in role playing toys and activities.
Role playing for young children has many benefits including communication, cognitive and physical development. We all have an imagination, so we already know that we don’t need much in order to create a fantasy scenario, but over the last six months or so we have noticed Tyler’s role playing games really become a regular occurrence so have also learnt which his favourite toys are to use in this way.
Whilst researching for this blog post, I came across this quote which I love, “There is no activity for which young children are better prepared than fantasy play. Nothing is more dependable and risk-free, and the dangers are only pretend,” ‘The Importance of Imaginary Play’, 2004, Vivian Gussin Paley.
Today I’m sharing Tyler’s favourite role playing toys to maybe give you some inspiration on what to look out for for your little one and to ask what your toddlers go to role playing toys are?
I’ve seen mud kitchens online for a while and when it came to choosing a gift for Tyler’s second birthday, I knew that’s what I wanted to get him. He already loved his traditional play kitchen that we have inside and he loves playing outdoors so I knew it would be a hit. I found a lady who lives fairly local to us that makes mud kitchens out of disused pallets so the sustainable being inside me was thrilled!
We’ve spent countless hours in the garden the last few months as Tyler has loved making “tea” for our neighbours and mixing all the twigs, leaves and stones together in the basin of his mud kitchen. This is 100% the best “toy” that we’ve ever purchased for Tyler.
For Christmas my brother very kindly gave Tyler some gift vouchers for Smyths toy shop, which we used to purchase a wooden coffee machine set. Tyler is obsessed with our nespresso coffee machine but obviously, it’s dangerous for him to play with as it gets very hot, so when he spotted a play coffee machine at his Grandma’s house last year, he was besotted! So it was a no-brainer that when we were able to we would get one for him to have at home.
I’ve been looking into dramatic play at the moment and at some point soon I’d like to set Tyler’s coffee machine up with his kitchen to role play a coffee shop with him.
Pizza and Cutter
Our lovely friend Lyndsay from FizzyPeaches and her family sent this for Tyler’s second birthday and it’s another wooden toy hit! The gorgeous Melissa & Doug toy set(available here * afflink) comes complete with a pizza, pizza board, storage box, cutter, spatula and lots of velcro toppings. What I particularly like about this toy is that it also works on fine motor skills with the small velcro toppings that you can stick around the pizza. The “cutting” aspect of it is great too, especially as Tyler is super into all things cooking at the moment (but I can’t give him real knives etc to cut real food just yet!)
Play “fixing” things on his little work bench(It was a gift from Tyler’s Grandma and Da from The Great Little Trading Co but I can’t find it online anymore) is another of Tyler’s favourite activities at the moment. The wooden tool bench that we have also came with a small tool box and we recently had work men in repairing our boiler, who of course had lots of big tool boxes, to which Tyler showed them his own tool box! It was very sweet. Again, I find that this toy is great for improving fine motor skills are there are lots of little nuts and bolts that fit together, so they really put his little hands to the test!
From watching Tyler play with these toys, engaging in role play with him and from what I’ve read, these real life scenario role playing activities have helped to develop his verbal communication skills and his confidence. These skills will of course carry through to real life situations as he grows. Does your toddler enjoy role playing toys, games and activities? Which are their favourite? I’d love to know!