Imaginative Play: Dress-up

Do your kids love dressing up? Mine do, and not a day goes by that they’re not in a bumblebee costume, waving around magic wands, or adorned with tiaras.  

I should say that I fall into the camp of allowing my kids to dress themselves, which does wonders for fueling their creativity, imagination, and independence. And it also means I have to be okay with the possibility of tutus on a farm or magic wands over brunch. I could draw the line, of course, but I don’t really see the harm in it as long as they’re safe and they’re not dressed as fairies at a wedding.

dressing up

Do you have a dress-up cabinet?

I’m a big fan of the dress-up closet, cabinet, or basket and recommend that you get one started if it’s not already in place in your home. We have a cabinet in the kids’ room that’s filled with 3 large bins. Everything gets dumped into the bins, which helps keep the room tidy at the end of the day.

What do you fill it with?

You can stock it with all kinds of things: Halloween costumes (look for these on sale right after the holiday), ballet costumes, your old jewelry/dresses/shirts/shoes, scrubs, aprons, headbands, etc.

My girls (22 months and 4-years) gravitate to fairy costumes, tutus, wings, insect costumes (bees + butterflies), tiaras, and wands.

My 4-year old is obsessed with outer space at the moment and flagged the astronaut costumes in the Chasing Fireflies catalog that just arrived in our mailbox (I’m not an affiliate…just a a fan who’s happy to pass the good word along).

tap shoes

I recently found these almost brand-new tap shoes at a second-hand store, and they’ve become a favorite of my toddler’s. She loves stomping around the house, testing them on different surfaces, and making a general rumpus.

dressing up imagination

If the dress-up supplies are easy for the kids to access, there’s a good chance that they’ll have them on at all parts of the day: play time, meals, trips to the farm, and gardening are just some of the times that my kids like to dress up.

And when they put their dress-up gear on, they’re transformed. They’ll fly like bees, twirl like ballerinas, and build an ER center with their doctor gear.

What are your kids’ favorite dress-clothes? And how do you organize them?

 

Rachelle Doorley Rachelle Doorley is a mom and an arts educator with a passion for helping families and teachers set up meaningful creative projects for kids. She's the author of the popular kids’ craft book and bestseller, TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors, and her articles and ideas on creativity and arts education have been featured in School Arts Magazine, Real Simple, and FamilyFun. Rachelle has an art studio. in Palo Alto, CA where she seeks out ways to make every day creative. Join the TinkerLab circle through our FREE newsletter.

Comments

  1. says

    My two-and-one-half-year-old daughter LOVES to dress up. We have a big rattan trunk in the den that is filled with hats, wands, old Halloween costumes (she is the youngest of 6) and beads. She loves these simple cape/shirt front things we ordered from a catalog that come in a box of 3, one for “boy superheroes” and one for “girl superheroes”

    • rachelle says

      It’s usually the simplest things that excite the imagination! I grew up with a big trunk for toys. There’s something so magical about this, and it always made me think of a treasure box.

  2. says

    Dress up is great. One of my fav memories of my daughter as a 3 year old was her wearing a different hat each day: construction worker, crowns, baker, angel halo, goggles, viking…. than ultimately a strawberry knit hat for a good 6 months straight…..it was her security blanket.

    • rachelle says

      This is so sweet, Melissa. I can just picture C wearing a strawberry hat for half a year.