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      Go beyond the outfits with dress up toys that bring imagination to life

      When it comes to playing pretend, you know that the right princess dress or cowboy boots can turn your little babe into a haughty royal queen or a fearless western hero. While dress up clothes accomplish half of the transformation, a good set of accompanying dress up toys will help give your little ones physical ties to these new imaginative characters. These items are perfect preschool toys that allow your children to learn about language and social situations in a comfortable and creative setting. Whether your kids need capes to accompany magic trick sets or rag dolls to practice dressing up, there is a perfect dress up toy out there for every child.

      A royal tea party may involve some pretty frilly dresses, but it will truly be royal only when your girls have the perfect regal tea set for pouring tea and sharing scones. Of course, a crown and scepter are required for the queen, while her loyal subjects approach with gifts of (plastic) food in small baskets. Toy vegetables, bread and other items are perfect for kitchen play, but double over in the perfect medieval stage. Likewise, fairies obviously need wings, but they also need containers of fairy dust, magic wands and plenty of woodland trinkets to make a whimsical scene come to life.

      Boys will love dress up toys that make the perfect pairing with all of their outfits. Cowboys need a good strong lasso and toy horse to re-enact cattle wrangling scenes in your living room. Knights in shining armor must bear shields and swords on their quests to slay evil dragons and trolls. Even your budding magician will need a magic hat and a few other tricks to accompany that shiny new cape. Young soldiers will love mess kits and outdoor survival tools to help them get through the toughest nights in the trenches.

      Boys and girls alike need plenty of dress up toys for career play. For example, a doctor is only a person in a lab coat until she has a medical kit at her side. A stethoscope, thermometer, bandages and syringe will help to make the play as realistic as possible. Firefighters need a truck and a big hose to get all that water ready for putting out fires. And your little scientist needs plenty of beakers and things that go ding in order to create a realistic pretend lab. A few supplies from the grocery department, like food coloring, baking soda and vinegar, will help some simple science projects spring to life.

      A few accessories are essential to making a dress-up outfit look real, but the play won't get serious until some good dress-up toys enter the mix. These toys give your children a tangible connection to imaginary worlds and help turn minutes of imaginative play into hours. To start your collection of dress up toys, or to add to an existing collection, turn to Kmart. You will find a fantastic selection of toys for imaginary play that will keep the kids busy all day long.

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