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35 Role Play Ideas for Kids: Toddler to Teens

Discover 35 role play scenarios for kids and parents that never get old.

Entertaining a child, no matter their age, can be a challenge. As parents, it’s important to have a bank of ideas ready to go. Role-playing is a great way to entertain toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age kids, but you might be short on role play ideas for kids.

We’ve compiled a list of role play scenarios for all age groups. With 35 different ideas, including indoor and outdoor games, you’ll never be stuck in a rut again!

Keep reading for a fantastic list of role play scenarios for kids, whether they’re beginners or experienced role-players.

Benefits of Role Playing for Kids

Role-playing for kids, such as the children playing different characters, allows them to use their imagination and copy what they witness in the real world. Role-playing has many benefits, including developing language skills, making sense of topics they see in real life, and experimenting with scenarios. Other benefits include:

  • Developing social skills.
  • Learning about different scenarios and people.
  • Learning self-awareness.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Being creative.
  • Developing social skills.
  • Understanding teamwork.
  • Engaging in new activities and scenarios.
  • Learning empathy.
  • Viewing things from new perspectives.
  • Teaching children through real-life scenarios.
  • Learning how to negotiate and debate.

Role Play Ideas for Toddlers

Children may naturally engage in role play across different themes from the early toddler years. For example, toddlers love toy kitchens. If you’re looking for more ideas to have up your sleeve, check out these 11 role play ideas for toddlers aged one to three.

1. Hospital

Playing hospital is a great way to expose kids to what it’s like going to see a nurse or doctor. A doctor’s kit, such as the Melissa & Doug Get Well Kit, teaches kids all about medicine, thermometers, and stethoscopes. It’s great for playing with friends, siblings, or even parents. If you don’t have a kit, children can play hospital with household items or simply pretend.

2. Playing With a Doll

Whether your toddler pretends to be a parent, big sibling, or teacher, playing with a doll can provide hours of role-play fun. Your little one can copy actions they’ve seen you do, such as rocking the doll, feeding it, or putting it down for a nap. Through playing with a doll, they can also work on their language skills and empathy.

3. Dentist

Regular dental checkups for toddlers are important, but they can be scary. If you’re looking for role play ideas for kids to help ease anxiety, this is one to try.

Whether you choose a dental kit or just play with existing stuff around the house (such as toothbrushes, plastic glasses, and popsicle sticks), this is a great way to expose your child to good dental hygiene. If choosing a dental kit, the Melissa & Doug Super Smile one is fantastic.

4. Kitchen

Toddlers love toy kitchens. They can pretend to bake, wash dishes, cook a meal, prepare lunch, or make coffee. Little ones can even pretend to run their own restaurant. There are many amazing toy kitchens available, like the Best Choice Products model.

If you’re on a budget, simply let your child play with kitchen items such as wooden spoons, pots, and pans. You can create a toy kitchen using old wood or cardboard boxes. This fun role play idea teaches kids how to serve others, prepare food for friends and family, and be a good host.

5. Cashier

I don’t know about you, but my little one loves grocery shopping. A toy cash register is great for teaching kids about conversations, manners, and money. The Battat register is fantastic and pretty budget-friendly, including food, money, and a working register. Set up a mini grocery store in your house and watch your child’s imagination come to life.

6. Restaurant

Toddlers will love a mini-restaurant role play. Lay a tablecloth over their table, make fake menus, give them an apron, and ask them to take your order. Whether using real food or toy food, this activity is an excellent way for kids to improve their language skills and gain a sense of control.

7. Owning a Pet

If you don’t own a pet, this role play activity will be fascinating for toddlers. Simply use a stuffed animal (it doesn’t even have to be a domestic one) and treat it like a pet. Your toddler can name the animal and make a nametag. Get a leash for the animal, give it treats, take it out for walks, brush its fur, and even take it to the vet.

8. Driving a Vehicle

No need to buy a big fancy car for this one! Make a vehicle from an old cardboard box and pop a small chair inside. Add a cardboard wheel, and voila — your child is now the driver!

They can imagine driving a bus and stopping at different locations to pick up passengers. Alternatively, they might enjoy their morning commute and select music for the drive.

9. Postal Worker

Does your kid love the postal workers? Buying or making a mail carrier costume is lots of fun for toddlers. They can also have a bag filled with letters and packages.

They can go to each door in the house, delivering the mail. If your neighbors are friendly, they might even find it cute if your little one dropped off some letters at the door. If you’d like an official mail carrier costume, the Keymall costume is super adorable.

10. Cleaning

Toddlers learn by copying those around them. Watching their parents and family clean, they are often excited to get involved in different types of chores. Why not get your toddler their own cleaning kit or even give them a spray bottle and cloth to spruce up the house? Joining in on the cleaning can help with their gross and fine motor skills and teach them about helping around the house.

11. Gardener

Getting outside is the key to a happy toddler! When they take on the role of a gardener, they can dig, weed, plant, and harvest plants in the garden. You could even dedicate a flower bed in the garden or set aside a little veggie patch to teach them all about seeds and caring for plants and flowers.

Role Play Ideas for Preschoolers

Adorable preschool children playing superheroes in the park

Looking for some fun ideas for preschoolers (kids aged four to five)? These activities are excellent for school, home, or outdoor play. Even if your kid has never experimented with role playing before, these are great and simple ideas for beginners.

12. Playing House

Playing house is the classic role play game. Kids of all ages will love it, but it’s especially good for preschoolers. Whether playing with friends or siblings, kids can take on different roles, such as a parent, brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or even a pet! You don’t need specific props for this — just use items you already have around the house.

13. Sports Player

If your kid is into sports, role-playing their favorite sport or player is so cool. Since kids love to copy what they see, this idea has endless opportunities. Plus, you don’t need many, if any, props. For example, even if your child imitates a tennis player, you can always DIY the props to save money.

14. Flower Market

Playing flower markets is one of the simplest role play ideas for kids. Next time you see a bunch of flowers on sale, or you head out to the park, grab a variety of flowers and take them home. Divide the flowers into separate cups of water and help your child set up their own flower market. They can create beautiful bouquets to decorate the house and even give them as gifts to visitors and family members.

15. Firefighter

Preschool kids find all kinds of professions fascinating, but firefighting always seems to be a big hit! Whether you’re investing in a firefighter kit, such as the one from Melissa & Doug, or your child is wholly dependent on their imagination, this is a great role-playing game. They can learn all about firefighting, respond to emergencies, and pretend to come to the rescue.

16. Librarian

This is a great game if you’ve got many books in your house. Either take some books out of the shelf and teach your child how to put them back. Or pretend to be going to the library and asking for assistance from your preschooler. You can even make library cards, a scanner, and have a storytime. This is especially fun if you have a few kids or you’re hosting a playdate.

17. Tea Party

A tea party is fun for parents but also works great for solo play since kids can host a party for their teddy bears. Set up a small table and some child-friendly teapots and cups, and let them enjoy a pleasant tea party. You can also invest in a tea party set, like the Atoylink set if this is something your toddler will want to do often.

18. Builder

Role-playing a builder takes on various fun forms. Your child can be a painter, bricklayer, architect, or construction worker. You don’t have to invest in much. Use everyday objects — like paintbrushes, paper, pens, and wooden spoons — as tools.

19. Vet

If your child has a lot of stuffed animals, role-playing as a vet is a great way to keep them busy and teach them empathy and responsibility towards animals. Encourage them to check on their animals, take their temperature, feel their paws, and give them treats. There are many awesome vet kits available, such as the Melissa & Doug Examine and Treat set.

20. Hair Salon

Since my son was a baby, he’s always been fascinated by hair! While he’s only two, I look forward to eventually role-playing a hair salon with him. This is super easy to do since you only have to give your child a hairbrush, comb, and some clips. You can even supervise them with styling tools (just don’t plug them in!) or invest in a styling head, such as Disney’s Elsa.

21. Animal Safari Guide

Another animal-related idea is a safari guide! Dress your child in a safari-type costume and place the animals around the house. When they’re ready, they can take you or their siblings on a guide through the safari, teaching them all about the zebras, lions, and monkeys.

22. Knights and Maidens

After watching the classic Disney movies as a kid, I loved playing games like this with my siblings. One of us would be a maiden, and the other would be a knight. We also added a king and a guard when all four of us played. The knight would make their own sword, and the maiden would wear a flowing dress. The knight then has to find their way past the king and guard to reach the maiden and rescue her!

23. Pirate Ships

Pirates is a great role-playing idea if you’ve got leftover Halloween costumes or your preschooler fancies creating their own eyepatch. It demands a lot of imagination, but it can keep your child busy for hours. Create your own version of a pirate ship, a plank to walk, and battle it out on the deep, vast sea!

24. Animals

This one is simple. Your child can choose their favorite animal and spend some time pretending to be them. Most kids will go for a cat or a dog. They will find it hilarious to crawl around on the floor, eat and drink out of a bowl, and go for a cozy nap in the corner of the sofa.

Role Play Ideas for Kids

Now it’s time to share some role play scenarios for kids aged six and up. Below are 12 examples that demand a little more imagination, creativity, and dialogue, but they are still awesome for beginners.

25. Cops and Robbers

A favorite as a kid, this is a great one for outdoor play. Depending on the number of kids, some can be cops, and some can be robbers. Once the robbers leave the home, it’s up to the cops to catch them and find out what they’ve stolen. Kids can even take it further and turn it into a detective game as they question and interrogate the robbers.

26. Ballet

Whether or not your child attends ballet classes, they might enjoy role-playing a ballerina. You may need a tutu for this one, though! The MdnMd lace tutus are available in a variety of soft colors. Kids can practice all their spins and twirls in front of a mirror to gorgeous classical music.

27. Bank

Playing bank is a great way to teach your children math skills and familiarize them with transactions. All you need is some toy money (you can even take it out of games like Monopoly or Life). Then, arrange some meetings at the bank to buy a house or cash a cheque and watch the silliness that kids come up with.

28. Camp Leaders

On a beautiful summer day, children can have fun by pretending they are off to summer camp. One or two kids can act as the camp leaders while the others attend the camp. They can organize exciting games, have a picnic lunch, and even make a bonfire for nighttime.

29. Astronaut and Mission Control

Does your little one want to go on a mission? Playing astronaut can be very exciting. You can make your own astronaut costume or check out the famous Melissa & Doug set, complete with gloves and a helmet. Take the whole game a step further by turning down the lights and setting up a space projector so your kid really feels they’ve landed among the stars.

30. Role Playing Parents’ Jobs

By this age, your kid is probably quite curious about what you do all day for work. Why not encourage them to role play what you do at work, whether you work as an electrician, business owner, makeup artist, or nurse? This is fantastic for 10-year-olds and up, as they may be learning about careers at school, too.

31. Pilot

Create an airplane at home using a cardboard box or lining up chairs in two rows to create a cockpit. Your child can wear headphones and pretend to speak to air traffic control. Let them fly all around the world, carrying a full plane of passengers (dolls or teddies!) and managing turbulence.

32. Castles

This activity is a combination of role-playing and building, which makes it even more enjoyable for kids. To begin with, they would need to construct their castle, which can be done by using items such as sofas, armchairs, blankets, toy blocks, and other bedding.

After that, they can create their costumes and crowns before immersing themselves in their magical kingdom. To make it even more interesting, you can create stories with scripts for everyone to follow.

33. Musician

Your child may have already started learning an instrument, but even if they haven’t, role-playing a musician is super fun. They can use real instruments, toy instruments, or simply pretend. A karaoke machine is also fun — they can pretend to be buskers or perform on an arena tour! This idea is fun for 11-year-olds and 12-year-olds who might be growing out of their role-playing era but still want to play pretend.

34. Camping

Taking kids camping is an interesting experience (to say the least) and probably not something parents want to do every weekend. Instead, get your child to role play a camping experience. You can set the tent up in the backyard, watch movies on a projector, and cook dinner at the fire. Or invest in a fun camping kit and leave your kids to role play the experience in the comfort of your own home.

35. Weather Reporter

All you need for this is a pretend (or real) microphone, an easel or projector, and a homemade weather report. Your child can update the audience, letting them know the weather forecast and what to expect for the weeks ahead. This is also a great one for students who are learning about weather, meteorological concepts, and how to write a report.


How Can I Make Role Playing More Fun for Kids?

Not every parent enjoys role-playing. But if your little one does, you’re probably wondering how you can make the games more fun for them. Below are 10 tips:

  • Get involved: Get involved with your kid’s role-playing games, especially when they’re younger. Kids will love it when parents join in. You may even want to reverse the roles. They can be the adult, and you can be the child, patient, or less important character.
  • Use costumes and props: You don’t have to fork out a ton of cash for a good role-playing experience. Simply using old clothes and making props from cardboard is enough to excite your child. You may also want to look at second-hand places like Vinted or Facebook Marketplace to find some old toys and costumes.
  • Create a storyline: Help your kids get deeper into character by fashioning a storyline. For example, if you’re role-playing an athlete, give them a backstory, such as recovering from an injury or wanting to impress their friend in the audience.
  • Be silly: Don’t be too serious or worry about accuracy when role-playing with kids. It’s all about being fun and silly!
  • Let kids lead the way: If your kid is an experienced role-player and has a system, let them lead the way with the game. Even if they’re acting out the same story for the 20th time, that’s okay! It’s how they learn.
  • Involve friends and siblings: If you’re tired of role-playing with your child (it’s not everyone’s cup of tea), try to involve your kid’s siblings or friends to give yourself a well-deserved break. Role-playing with new people can encourage your child’s communication and team-building skills.
  • Try new environments: Try role-playing in new places, such as the backyard, kitchen, car, or even the store.
  • Play a board game: Get into character and play a board game as you roleplay. Playing a familiar board game as a knight or a maiden can be really fun!
  • Create new scenarios: If your child is getting bored of a particular character, come up with new scenarios, situations, or problems they need to encounter. Or experiment with the length of the game. Sometimes, keeping it short and sweet can help.
  • Role play positives and negatives: For all these role play ideas for kids, ensure your child experiences a range of positive and negative scenarios. Without some negative scenarios, they might not learn how to negotiate, problem-solve, or manage their emotions.

What Age Is Appropriate for Role Plays?

Toddlers become interested in role-playing around 18 months, but it becomes more familiar and easier to them around three or four. It’s normal for kids to want to role play into later childhood or early teens.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a Scottish freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. She is a mum to a young boy, and believes that it truly takes a village. When she’s not parenting, writing about parenting, or working, she can be found reading, working on her novel, taking photos, playing board games or wandering through the countryside with her family.