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Watching children engage in pretend play really shows you how they think things through. They create imaginative stories to act out, assign tasks and take direction. Toys that encourage pretend play not only super charge a preschooler’s imagination, they help kids learn more about the real world around them. Play kitchens with realistic looking accessories has ‘em cooking up a storm, with sinks and stoves that look just like the real thing. Play food and play utensils enhance the pretend play, too. Dress-up items, like a princess dress with tiara or dragon costume, are perfect for putting on a show. But for real-world role play, kids can be pretend firefighters, doctors, nurses and more. Melissa & Doug puppets and those from The Puppet Company can spur on a child’s storytelling abilities. Just add a puppet theater and let the show begin! Wowee’s Baby Shark, Folkmanis and National Geographic by Lelly make hand puppets that can be used in a puppet theater or right on a kitchen table. Sometimes pretend play is not about the real world and is just, well, pretend. And that’s awesome, because for every situation they imagine, they’ll navigate through it using their cognitive skills. For instance, play tents and crawl-through tunnels provide shelter from the dinos that are chasing them! Animal figures and play sets let kids explore the wild world through imaginative play. From Jurassic World dinosaur figures to My Little Pony collectibles, you can find toys that fit your child’s interest and place pretend play at the top of their ways to have fun.