1. Famous Oto’s cardboard playhouses are eco-conscious and totally cute to boot. Large enough for multiple children to play in, kids will have fun “hitting the road” serving up food truck eats around town (aka your house). $69, age two and up.
2. Haba’s play puppets let kids’ imaginations run free. Kids can make up their own stories using different characters (such as a prince, dragon, unicorn, and frog) and put on shows; the possibilities are endless. $15 glove puppets, $6 finger puppets; age 18 months and up.
3. PlayMonster’s Wonder Crew buddies (Will, Marco, James, and Eric) come dressed in superhero gear, and include a matching kid-size cape and mask. Kids can take on different roles with their buddies, too, (such as a builder or explorer) with different adventure packs (sold separately). $35 buddies, $20 adventure packs; ages three to five.
4. Melissa & Doug’s scoop and serve ice cream counter lets kids scoop out tasty treats from their very own ice cream shop. The wooden set includes all the ice cream fixings kids will need, plus a reusable menu card and play money. $50, age three and up.
5. Kids can step into the “lab” with Melissa & Doug’s scientist role play set, complete with a lab coat, goggles, beaker, test tube, and six real-life experiments they can try at home. $30, ages five to eight.
6. Camping doesn’t have to be confined to the great outdoors. Bring the campsite home with Crate&kids’s jetaire camper playhouse. Kids can “camp” anywhere their imaginations take them, and even “roast” marshmallows with the plush campfire set (sold separately). Playhouse $199, campfire set $69; age three and up.