Design a site like this with
Get started

Pretend Play: IKEA Life-Like Play Toys and Imaginary Toys

While we’re on the topic of quality toys (recommended by Montessori philosophy), take a look at these toy kitchen sets from IKEA…

IKEA pots and pans
IKEA baking set
IKEA kitchen utensils
IKEA mugs
IKEA glasses

They are so lovely even I want a set for myself! They are quite dear but they are effectively the real thing made in child-sizes so your child can really use these toys in your kitchen. But if you rather they stay out of the kitchen, there is also a rather life-like stove available:

IKEA stove

The kitchen sets are all available at the IKEA store in Ikano Power Center (at least they were the last time I was there) but the glowing stove set is not. I read about the latter on IKEAfans. The light grows brighter and darker as you turn the heat up and down, respectively – how cool is that?

While these toys are beautiful and great for helping children learn life skills, I do feel that there is value in imaginary play where children use substitutes to represent specific objects. Being able to substitute items encourages creativity. For example, Aristotle loves pretending to cook. When he was younger, he would take his coloured sorting buttons and pretend they were food. The red buttons were bits of meat, the green buttons were vegetables, the yellow buttons were potatoes, and the blue buttons were water. He would mix them all up in one of those cylindrical CD containers (which was his stock pot) using the stick that the CDs are threaded onto as his soup ladle.

These days we have gone one up. Aristotle now cooks in the shower using a stool as his “stove”, the water ladles as his stock pots, a toy shovel as his soup ladle, a toy rake as his frying spatula, and miscellaneous empty containers that he has “recycled” as his “spices”. He practices pouring water from one container to another as he goes about his cooking.

While I believe that technological advances in modern life has led to our children becoming more precocious, I have to agree with Philip E. Ross that the lack of these resources in the past has meant that the older generations were more creative. And as much as I am pro-technology, I still think it is important to encourage imaginative play so that we can help our children foster their creative minds.

So even though I would love to buy the entire IKEA kitchen set for the boys, I don’t really feel they are missing out on much without it.

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

4 thoughts on “Pretend Play: IKEA Life-Like Play Toys and Imaginary Toys

  1. That´s true! have you ever read “Momo” by German author Michael Ende? Many toys these days remind of when the “grey man” visited Momo to make her save time as well and they offer her that wonderful, very-close-to-reality-doll with all-you-can-think-of accesories. They told her nothing was ever missing for that toy doll but Momo answered: yes, there is one thing, you cannot love her…


  2. Just to say that this coming saturday I am free of work, so me and my family will go to IKEA (Austria, Klangefurt). We have never been there so we are really looking forward to visit this great store.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: