Top Toys for Pretend Play

FamillyFun's picks for dress-up, tea parties, make-believe, and more

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Out-of-the-Box Costumes

Mark Mantegna

Out-of-the-Box Costumes

Wearables do double-duty as easy Halloween costumes and over-the-top dress-up gear. After coloring and assembling the cardboard pieces, add the fabric straps and wear. An airplane, a bulldozer, and a princess carriage are available. Ages 5 to 8, Kid Constructions, $24.99 to $29.99

Ages 5 to 8

Originally published in the October 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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Servin' Surprises Kitchen & Table

Richard Carpenter

Servin' Surprises Kitchen & Table

Little Chopped champions will find everything they need in this compact kitchen: 26 pieces of play food and dinnerware, a griddle, a burner, an oven, and sound effects (boiling water, sizzling grill). The best parent-friendly feature: the cooking area turns into a smooth-topped play table, with room to store most of the accoutrements neatly inside.

Fisher-Price, $79.99 Ages 3 to 6

Originally published in the November 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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Super Heroine Role Play Set

Richard Carpenter

Super Heroine Role Play Set

A 4-year-old we know donned this silky shirt, cape, and mask and proceeded to rescue everything in sight: dolls, stuffed animals, younger siblings, even her mom. Phone booth not required.

Melissa & Doug, $29.99 Ages 3 to 6

Originally published in the November 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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Henry Haba-Strong's Armor

Richard Carpenter

Henry Haba-Strong's Armor

A knight is only as good as his armor, and our brave testers judged this padded fabric breastplate far superior to knavish plastic costumes. It's handsomely detailed and comfortable even during battles with dragons. The top add-on accessory was the mace, a plush spiked ball and chain. "My son slept with his," reports one sire. Additional pieces, including helmet, shield, sword, and lance, sold separately.

Haba, $33 Ages 3 to 6

Originally published in the November 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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Imaginext Eagle Talon Castle

Richard Carpenter

Imaginext Eagle Talon Castle

This fortress features every medieval must-have: clanking gates, catapults that really shoot, and a secret treasure stash. At the turn of a switch, shutters slam shut, a disk-spitting eagle cranks into position, and a Scottish voice cries out, "Protect the castle!"

Fisher-Price, $59.99 Ages 3 to 8

Originally published in the November 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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An Oh-So-Sweet Tea Set

An Oh-So-Sweet Tea Set

The cups and saucers, matching spoons, and fabric tea bags and cookies in the Lucky Mushroom Teatime set elicited oohs and aahs from our testers and staff. Yet this set boasts more than good looks. The melamine pieces are shatterproof, ensuring they'll last longer than a plate of crumpets.

Haba, $20 Ages 3 to 7

Originally published in the March 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.