Saturday, December 12, 2015

10 Great Gifts For Kids to Inspire Imaginative Play

This post may contain affiliate links.

I know I'm not the only parent (or aunt!) out there who wants to do more than give a thing to their kids. I'm a firm believer than the best gifts either teach you something or encourage you to use your imagination. Here are 10 awesome gift ideas that will encourage imaginative play in boys and girls alike!


DIY Pretend Doctor Kit
For the same price that you can buy a kids' doctor kit of plastic doo-dads that don't do anything, you can put together a pretty impressive doctor kit with tools like a real ear light and stethoscope that actually work!
Make it: DIY Pretend Doctor Kit
(with lots of helpful links for where you buy supplies!)

Real Wood Sword, Shield and/or Dagger
Forget junky plastic swords and shields, these handcrafted wood play weapons will last through years of playing pirates, "knights of the round table" or "kings and queens of Narnia." Simon of MillerRhees Woodcrafts and Toys lovingly makes each item by hand with real wood and leather. He can even customize the insignia on the shield if desired. These are a much higher quality than anything available at the toy store but are surprisingly affordable. Get a dagger for your favorite pirate, a sword for your favorite viking or a sword and shield set for adventurous knights! 

A Seashell Mermaid Crown
How to make a seashell mermaid crown
Made from simple materials (some that you can even get from the dollar store!) this seashell crown is easy to make and perfect for the aspiring mermaid in your life.

Pretend Teacher Gift Set
I've known so many kids who love to play teacher. Boys and girls alike will line up their stuffed animals (or younger siblings), read them stories and administer tests. Make a pretend teacher gift set for your budding educator with supplies from Amazon or your local office supply store.
(with lots of helpful links for where you buy supplies!)

No-Sew DIY Superhero Cape
When my son was 2-4 years old, he had a cape wardrobe. While he no longer wears his cape to school, we got hours of fun play out of wearing capes and being our own super-selves. Making a personalized cape is surprisingly easy and requires no sewing skills!

Inventor / MacGuyver Kit

Kids who love tinkering and inventing will love having their own DIY kit to use without getting in trouble. Whether they just wear their gadgets around to feel cool or spend time making booby traps for pirates, this is a fun and affordable gift idea.
(with lots of helpful ideas for what to include!)

Bird Wings
Is there a child in the world that doesn't love pretending they can fly? I bought a set of monarch butterfly wings from this Etsy shop for my niece for her birthday and saw they also sell bird wings (butterfly wings are out of stock). They make the wings soft so they move with the child and perfect for hours of pretend play!

Butterfly Wings

While The Creative Carrot no long sells butterfly wings, you can get some super fun butterfly wings on Amazon. Unlike the wire and mesh decorative wings lots of kids have for Halloween, these attach to your hands so that the wings actually move with you! 

Kid Sized Apron
Starting at about 18 months old, my son loved "cooking". Not everyone can make a super awesome play kitchen but any kid can get their own apron and whip up their own concoctions with a spoon and a bowl (ingredients optional!).

Denim Play Crown
Crowns and tiaras are a perfect addition to any child's dress up box. This particular crown is made from scrap denim and is a great beginner's level sewing project!

Dragon Wings
I followed this tutorial to make my sons' Halloween costumes this year and it is brilliant! You end up with very sturdy, realistic looking dragon wings that even impressed the grown ups. Might even make a great companion gift to go with the awesome swords and daggers from MillerRhees Woodworks (above).

I hope you found an idea for you favorite imaginative kid!

(Need a gift for someone else? From teachers to dads, I've got a gift guide to help you find the perfect gift for anyone! 

About the Author: 
Carissa is a green lifestyle expert and mom to two boys. The owner and lead writer for Creative Green Living, she is also the author of two e-books including the best-selling beverage cookbook, Infused: Recipes for Herb & Fruit Infused Water, Tea and More. Her goal is to empower families to make healthier choices that are easy, taste great and are fun!

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