7 Easy Imagination Games For Toddlers

This post may contain affiliate links. Full privacy policy and disclosure here.

How you can help your child’s imagination flourish with creative activities that can also help with fine motor skills and physical development.

According to book author Robert Eberle, imagination is essential for the creation of innovative concepts.

We all know how it goes: we buy loads of toys for our children, pleasure in their smiles as they open the first two or three, and then suffer from buyer’s remorse as we watch them having more fun with the wrapping paper and boxes than with the real items.

Young children are perfect masters of pretend play and frequently require no or very few resources, the majority of which are already in the house.

Rather than cluttering your house with more plastic toys, or resorting to screen time, try giving your children new ideas so they practice their imagination skills.

Imagination Games Toddlers Love To Play

Dramatic play is so important for children; it’s where they solidify their understanding of what shapes and colors are and help develop those skills for later years to come.


This is certainly one you remember from your childhood. Playing home is a natural tendency for young children of all genders since it entails mimicking the people in their lives. Children learn via imitation. A play kitchen is an excellent way to introduce dramatic play to your toddler.

You can use a doll or teddy bear as the ‘baby,’ some plastic plates as the ‘cooking,’ and hey, maybe you can get some real tasks done in the process! After the old clothes are washed, the laundry basket might represent an automobile heading home or to work.

The trick here is to not be concerned if you don’t have all of the expensive toy shop equipment. Plastic or cloth food toys, as well as imitation toasters and microwaves, could be found in some of your home’s playrooms.

But don’t be concerned if yours doesn’t. Wooden blocks may readily be transformed into fictitious culinary items. And the couch could be converted into a kitchen. You can use real utensils and other kitchen items too, they don’t have to be all plastic!

The more creative you are, the better!


This is a favorite imagination game at our house right now.

This one is similar to playing house. This game has the advantage of teaching your children how to count money.

They may put their new abilities to use by attempting to buy something on their own during the next McDonald’s or candy store visit!

Everything in your home is something your child may sell in his or her “shop.” Cut up some colorful paper for “money,” and use play to teach your toddler about money and how buying and selling items works.

Your child can use action figures to represent other customers with different roles which can be a great way to develop language skills.


This game may also require ingenuity, such as transforming blankets into capes and colanders into helmets or shields. You might need some baby dolls to ‘rescue,’ as well as some adversaries, such as the giant scary la-z-boy chair.

Some may tell you that rough play with these sorts of imaginative activities is unavoidable. This is due to the fact that boys require a method to release all of their aggressive energy and develop their gross motor skills.

Stage Show

Do you have a toddler that enjoys the movie Frozen or books? Show her how to stage a play based on one of her favorite stories.

Offer her a bag of household “props” such as dishrags, plastic spoons, and cups to assist her. You’ll be surprised at how they’re put to use!

And before you know it, she’ll be producing her own unique stage show with role play as her favorite character. You can use any movie for these pretend play ideas and it is so great for their creative development.


Before you reply, “Wait, kids need a doctor’s kit and a million other things to play doctor,” know that this is not true!

All they need is your robe or an old shirt, as well as a thread on which you can tie a circle—instant doctor’s coat and stethoscope (though one of those charming play stethoscopes will suffice)! Remember that simple things are all that’s needed for imaginative fun.

Line up their stuffed animals and dolls on their bed, and they’ll have a swarm of sick patients that need their assistance. You can encourage your toddler to use their sticker books to give her patients rewards for being good patients!

Make Props From Cardboard Boxes

Parents understand that children do not require expensive toys to have fun, and that an ordinary cardboard box is one of the most adored and frequently used preferred playthings for children who love unstructured play. Your toddler can use crayons to draw on paper and make pretend signs if needed.

They may use it to build anything their imaginations can conjure up, from a rocket ship to a car, or even a pirate ship sailing the high seas, and pretend to be full of adventure and excitement in their box, um, magnificent vessel or vehicle.


Another activity that most children like is making unique foods in toy kitchens. School-age children enjoy pretending to be waiters, taking orders, preparing up tasty delights in the kitchen, and then serving the clients.

You don’t need play food for your child’s imagination to work here. Household items, a giant cardboard box, construction paper can really help your child get a good sense of their world with this type of play.

The nicest part about kitchen play with older children is that they can frequently assist with real cooking and baking by completing chores such as measuring and mixing ingredients for a cake or cutting lettuce leaves or washing cherry tomatoes for a salad.

See: 6 Surprising Reasons Toddlers Don’t Want To Play With Their Toys

Benefits Of Imaginative Play

Imaginative play encourages creativity by offering a secure environment for children to act out scenarios of their choosing, including ones they would not be able to encounter in real life.

For example, a 5-year-old who cannot go out to dine without her parents might organize a fake tea party at home with a friend through creative play. It also allows toddlers to learn about other people’s views, such as what Daddy may think while they play house.

It encourages physical growth while having fun. Hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills are improved through activities such as putting a doll’s arms through her jacket sleeves and learning to move and control her hands in different ways. Galloping about on toy horses promotes gross motor development and coordination / balance.

It allows children to practice and enhance their communication skills and social skills simply by being around and talking to other children.

It promotes the growth of problem-solving and self-regulation abilities. Playing imaginatively with peers might result in circumstances where not everyone gets what they desire. For example, if more than one kid wishes to be King of the Castle, the childwho does not receive his wish must learn how to handle negative feelings in order for play to continue.

It provides parents with a pleasant method to educate their children about positive behavior. Parents might set up scenarios for their children to play in order to generate “incidental learning” chances.

For example, when washing their doll, the parent may ask the kid questions (such as “what happens next?”), offer remarks (such as “the water is pleasant and warm”), and address difficulties (such as “Oh my, Dolly ran out of soap!”). These give the kid important functional skills as well as the capacity to navigate difficult situations with assistance.

Tips To Encourage Imaginative Play

Parents should actively promote their children’s creative play because it is such a positive contribution to a children’s overall development.

  • Provide a plethora of props and play partners (both similar-aged peers as well as adults).
  • Allow for plenty of playtimes – give your child as much time as possible to explore where the play leads them.
  • Dress-up events are also a fantastic method to encourage imaginative play while also keeping children amused!
  • Include them in your regular activities and incorporate accidental learning into these circumstances. For example, when you’re cooking supper, allow your child to join you in the kitchen with their play toys.
  • Allow your children to play alone, with friends, or with you. When children play alone, they can make up their own games and let their imaginations run wild. They practise social and emotional skills while using their imaginations while they play with you or with their pals. Both are significant and valuable.
  • Allow them to take the lead. When pretending to play with children, try not to lead them. You can provide prompts if they ask for your assistance or thoughts. However, as a general rule, let your child decide what and how you’ll play.
  • Encourage them when they don’t follow directions and encourage them to utilise toys in new and creative ways. Sure, it’s entertaining to construct the vehicle or structure according to the instructions that come with the Lego or Playmobile set. However, it is fantastic when children opt to mix and match components from other sets to create their own designs and settings. Let your child know how much you appreciate their projects and thoughts.

When Should You Start Imaginative Play

There is no fixed age at which creative play should be introduced into a children’s environment. To begin, introduce simple, safe objects for the child, such as a soft toy. Create circumstances in which the object can be engaged in play, such as having your child kiss their doll on the cheek. Making toys pretend to communicate to one other, for example, might assist your child begin this process.

Disadvantages Of Imaginative Play

There are none! However, if a child frequently behaves in a way that causes injury to herself or others during play, or if a kid shows a strong preference for solitary imaginative play over social play, it could be worthwhile to seek the counsel of a competent child development expert.

Free Resource For You

I’ve created a free pdf just for you! If you are struggling with finding a routine, a rhythm or a schedule for your toddler then this PDF will help you find one that will work for your family.

This free pdf will help you

  • See sample routines for kids
  • Teach your child to follow a set routine
  • Help beat bedtime battles
  • All you have to do is download and print

Click here to sign up for your free routine cards.


You may also like...