As parents to children who are leaving toddlerhood, we love to see that the toys that we purchase invite open-ended and creative playtime. Not only do they give our children richer experiences, but imaginative toys for 6 year olds are crucial to their ongoing development.
As kids begin to grow older, they are often surrounded by activities that stifle their creativity. As things like school and screens and one-direction toys vie for their attention, we think it is so important to offer fun toys that lend to “let’s pretend” activities. These can truly spark their interest and activate their imagination.
So what kinds of toys might you want to invest to foster imaginative play for your 6-year-old? 1. Play Dress Up with A Bin of Costumes and Accessories One of my kids’ favorite go-to “toys” is our costume bin. This tote is full of various clothing pieces that can be used to create an infinite array of outfits. It also holds swaths of fabric that can be used as sashes, robes, or capes, old silly wigs, boots, belts, hats, and more. When the kids reach into the bin, they can transform themselves into anything they want to be!
Will they pretend to be a swash bucklin’ pirate?
What about a pioneer girl or a cowboy?
Maybe they feel like being a princess or a veterinarian?
The sky's the limit, as long as they have plenty of options to choose from and so what if the outfit needs a little imagination to fully come to life?
2. Act out Stories with a Dollhouse with Dolls, Animals, and Accessories Nothing quite excites the imagination of a child as much as a dollhouse with dolls does, and even more so with fun accessories and especially little animals. Here, kids can role-play all the scenarios that run through their minds. Every adventure they want to experience can come to life through their little friends. Dolls that resemble little children especially promote creative and open-ended play that is age-appropriate and inspiring.
Your kids will appreciate having a collection of dolls that resemble them, whether in looks or age. This allows them to live out whatever they can think of in a tangible way and helps them to create elaborate and fun story lines. 3. Be a Chef with a Pretend Kitchen and Grocery Store A huge hit with almost any 6-year-old is a mini-kitchen! Whether you buy one or make your own out of wood or big boxes, this will be a sure hit. Stock it with either mini-utensils and tiny dishes, or just give them old pieces from your kitchen...they won’t care either way! Add pretend wooden food for an authentic experience, or make food out of fabric or laminated construction paper.
To further enhance the pretend food play, expand the experience by making a grocery store or farmer’s market to “shop” for the food and even a restaurant for serving. Add in a pretend cash register and add play money to the mix to make it even more exciting. Watch as your child role-plays the cashier, the customer, and the chef!
4. Play House with Home and Garden Mini-Tool Sets Though these may look like toys with one function at first glance, they definitely are not. True, a tool is probably going to just do whatever job it is meant to do, but your child’s imagination is the limit to how they implement play with it.
Kids love to mimic what adults do and can spin whole stories as they clean, build, or garden with the tool sets that they are given.
Though some children’s tools are not very usable, I encourage you to look for sets that actually function. It can be really frustrating for a tool to not have the capacity to do its job. Hammers that actually can hammer in a nail, mops that they can really get wet, shovels that actually can dig...you get the idea.
5. Create Your Own World with a Playhouse or Fort Structure
Maybe it will become a place to “play house,” or a dark cave or hidden room. Whether temporary or permanent, a fort gives kids a place to escape with their childhood fantasies.
Perhaps it just provides them a place to hang out with their friends or play with other toys as their imaginations and stories come to life. However they choose to use it, it is an important part of a child’s life.
6. Create Your Own Adventure with Stuffed Animals
Not all stuffed animals have the same open-ended play value, but by and large, kids are masters at bringing most of them to life. For my kids, I have noticed that more realistic ones, or those that represent pets or farm animals, and ones that come in sets or mommy/baby pairs tend to deliver the most imaginative play dividends.
Sometimes though it simply doesn’t matter what kinds of stuffies they are, they can transform into the students of a schoolroom, a group of buddies on an adventure, or just individually as a bestie to tell their secrets and stories to.
Stuffed animals are perfectly suited for imaginative play and every kid should have their own little collection.
I hope these suggestions give you some big ideas!
This is just a small list of imaginative toys for 6 year olds, but the possibilities are endless! Anything that gets your kid’s creative juices flowing is fair game. Whether you buy these toys or make them yourself….or let your child make their own, you will be getting your child off to the right start and setting them up for success!