As the owner of a kid’s resale store for the past 7 years, I get asked all the time, “what are some of the best toys for younger kids?” There are hundreds of shiny new toys that flood the market every year, but most will find their way to the bottom of the toy bin, probably because they didn’t pack a lot of entertainment value to begin with.
But, based on my own personal observations and by tracking years of toy sales in my store, there’s one category I recommend again and again. Role-play toys. That’s right. Miniaturized versions of the real household items that we use, and maybe even dread using, every day. Wooden brooms and dusters, little pots and pans, mini kitchens, fake food sets. Even little boys gravitate toward these items. It doesn’t matter how many hundreds of toys I have on my store shelf, a child will sniff out a toy vacuum and push it happily around my store until his mother either relents and buys it, or pries it from his hands while he throws a fit. So why are role-play toys so popular with kids and how they can help in a child’s development?
- Role play encourages imagination. Long before fancy toys were invented, my mom used to keep a drawer full of old pots, pans, spoons and cookie sheets at ground level for me to play with. When she would get busy in the kitchen, so would I. These props opened the portal to my virtual bakery. And not to brag, but my invisible chocolate chip cookies were pretty awesome.
- Role play boosts self-esteem. When we allow kids to participate in our adult world and help with adult responsibilities, it builds confidence. Because in their little eyes, they’re making a contribution. And believe me, I am one happy mommy when I have a little helper joining me for an otherwise mundane afternoon of dusting and sweeping.
- Role play encourages communication and helps them understand adult roles. Have you ever watched a bunch of kids play house? It’s pretty entertaining and let’s face it, our kids mimic us. In most scenarios, an alpha-mommy will emerge and lay down the agenda to the rest of her “family” in the form of instructions, delegations, negotiations, even arguments. But regardless of the scenario, actual communication is taking place and social skills develop from these exchanges.
- Role play can be a welcome break from learning. Don’t get me wrong, cognitive activities are an important part of childhood development, but freestyle silliness has its perks too. And it makes for happier, more relaxed kids.
Some other fun role-play toys to consider: dress-up clothes, art easels, tea sets, construction vehicles, toy musical instruments, cash registers and pretend money, doctor’s kits and toy tools. All these are toys I buy and sell frequently in my store. Hand a child one of these and watch their little world open up. Now if I could only figure out how to get kids to enjoy vacuuming and dusting well in to their teen years? I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
Kid to Kid is located in Covington, Washington.
|Address :||16908 SE 269th Place, in the Kohl’s parking lot|
|Covington, WA, 98042|
|Phone Number :||253-236-4269|
|Store Hours :||Monday-Saturday 10 AM – 6 PM|
|Sunday: 1 PM – 5 PM|
|Buy Hours :||Monday-Saturday from|
|10 AM to 4 PM|