When I was a kid, did I have an imaginary friend?  You know, I can't actually remember.  I think I must have bossed my sister around instead to be honest.  The strangest thing is, though, both my eldest children had imaginary friends and they were both called Jamie.
Jamie number 1 lived in the washing machine.  He would only eat from a red plastic plate and needed speaking to with a certain intonation.  It was Jamie who broke the handle of the washing machine trying to get out apparently.  
Jamie number 2 (no relation) lived behind the settee.  He was the only one who could understand my son's very unusual speech problem and they spent hours singing and dancing to certain songs on the music video channel.  It was Jamie who picked all the wallpaper off from behind the settee because he was bored at night when no-one was playing with him.
But imaginary play, in whatever form, is a way that our children communicate, both with their friends or on their own.  They copy what they see happening around them - it's familiarity.  This all helps social skills to develop and also to expand emotions, feelings, hand-eye coordination and expanding into counting, reading and colours.
So what toys can When I Was A Kid offer for imaginary play?  
Click any of the images to be taken to the page on the website for more details.
The John Crane Tildo High Tea set isn't just a number counting and shape sorting toy.  Imagine all the tea parties that could be enjoyed using the great cake shapes after you've finished matching and counting.  
I adore this Wooden Train set from the John Crane toys selection.  This advanced set is great for imaginative play and incorporates bright colours.  The set is also compatible with other popular wooden train sets.
I have also just spotted the My First Wooden Cooker.  It comes with eight different accessories including a wooden egg!  There are adjustable knobs on the front and an oven glove included too.  And best of all?  It folds away for easy storage.
Do any of your children have imaginary friends?  What do they play?  Do you encourage or discourage it?  Have the imaginary friends left you in difficult or embarrassing situations?  Tell us in the comments about your child's imaginary play.

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With one finger on the pulse and the other on the keyboard, she is not afraid to say it as she sees it. She is a true procrastinator, drinks wine, is occasionally published and is a Nana in her spare time.