Prep: None / Activity Time: 5-6 Minutes

Toddlers imitate what they see and hear you do. As they grow, they become more involved in imaginative play and use what they learn from watching you. Let your child explore her imagination by providing items for pretend play. Pretend play, whether on her own, with an imaginary friend or with others, has been found to boost oral language skills. At this stage, many toddlers are in the midst of a language “spurt,” and they acquire about one or two new words each day. By the end of this stage, the average child can say about 200 words. So, you may be surprised at the things she says during pretend play!


  • dolls and stuffed animals
  • safe household items like spoons, paper or plastic dishware, etc.
  • blankets and pillows

Step 1:  Help your toddler take care of a doll or stuffed animal. Provide real or toy items to use to diaper the doll, “feed” her a bottle or to wipe her face and hands. You and your toddler can read a book and sing a lullaby to the doll or stuffed animal as you place it in bed with a blanket.  

Step 2:   When you are cooking, provide your toddler a bowl and spoon and let her pretend to mix something in a bowl. You can pretend to bake a cake or stir soup together.  

Step 3:When preparing for naptime or bedtime, let your toddler prepare a doll, pet, or family member for bed. Lay down blankets and pillows and go through the rituals of the goodnight routine. At this stage, toddlers pretend about things they know about, so pretending to have naptime, give a bath, feed a doll or do something they watch you do are among their favorite topics for make believe!