So, I have recently read that child led play is becoming a thing of the past. This makes me sad. Kids are getting involved in more sports at earlier ages, replacing the much needed and beneficial child led play with adult led play which is much more about the rules and much less about the imagination and the ability to create and work together without adult rules. In my opinion, it is important to encourage child led play as much as possible in all ages, including the older ages, as high as 6th and 7th graders, not just in pre-schoolers and elementary ages.
I love the web site hearthsong.com. It has a lot of toys and activities that encourage creativity and imagination. One of my favorites are play silks. These can be bought on a toy web site or a web site that sells dyed silk scarves. These scarves open up so many opportunities for role playing and creative play.
Another fun addition to the toy closet are a good set of stilts, especially fun for the older kids. These help with developement of balance and motor skills. And they are great fun for kids when they have more than one set. They can have obstacle courses or races.
Stacking toys are also tons of fun. Another that my kids have is this Star Stack Ups set. They have had so much fun seeing how high they can stack them and then knocking them down with the ball included.