Imaginary play is a cornerstone of child development. Children are constantly working through emotional growth and things they’ve observed and learned throughout the day. One of the best ways they work through this is play. Therefore, it is crucial that we provide them with a few open-ended toys that allow them to engage in this daily task of reflection. Here are seven open-ended toys for imaginary play.

Seven Open-Ended Toys for Imaginary Play

What Makes it an Open-Ended Toy?

01. It can be played with across all ages. In other words, the toy “grows” with the child.

02. The same toy can be played with multiple ways.

03. Children can play with it independently.

Seven Open-Ended Toys for Imaginary Play


01. Wooden blocks

Wooden blocks are a wonderful open-ended toy. A child can use them to make stairs, roads, castles, towers, and even fences or whole towns from just blocks! We once made a crib for my daughter’s doll out of the blocks. They’re truly versatile¬† and extremely durable. One set should last a whole family for years!


02. Magnatiles/Legos

Magnatiles can be used to build houses, towers, roads, STEM structures, walls, objects. The possibilities are endless with this toy. Plus, like wooden blocks, they’re extremely durable! Legos are another wonderful toy that can be used to construct all kinds of structures and objects for endless imaginary play!


03. Play Silks

Play silks can be costumes, capes, forts, headbands, skirts, and even blankets. The possibilities are wide with these fun objects. They also provide a wonderful sensory experience to children.

04. Peg Dolls

Peg dolls are a great alternative to action figures or Barbies because they’re durable. Some come painted with characters on them. We love these from The Silvan Reverie shop. But others are more Waldorf-inspired with no faces to allow the child’s imagination to do the work! Both kinds of these dolls live in our home. They’re great for doll houses!


05. Realistic Toy Animals

These are the cutest objects to have around for imaginary play. Bonus! They can be used in water play in either the tub or in sensory bins! I have some of the small Safari Ltd. Toobs, and some big animals as well.


06. Wooden Train Set

We’ve had the same $9 IKEA train set since my first daughter was a baby. She is now five, and both my five-year-old, and two-year-old play with it! They love to use our wooden blocks to make a little town and have the train track run through it!


07. Grimm’s Wooden Stacker

There are so many fun ideas for how to use this toy! Children are especially creative when it comes to making their own creations with these stackers!


See a Tour of Our Play Area!

A few other things i didn’t mention, but are usually pretty common in playrooms are a play kitchen, fabric baby dolls, wooden play dishes, and other things of that nature. If you’re interested in seeing a full tour of our playroom, I’m sharing one in our Thriving at Home membership for families right now! To join and see the video (and all of the other weekly + monthly content) click HERE!

I hope this list of open-ended toys for imaginary play was helpful to you! We have every one of these toys in our playroom and they’ve been played with for years! Thank you so much for reading!

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