>>>> Download my guide to creative storytelling activities here
Do your children love dressing up?
Along with building dens, dressing up is one of our all time favourite ways to play. I wonder just why children find dressing up so much fun? I think perhaps it makes their play come to life even more if they’re kitted out in the right costume to really get into character. Mine like to match their clothes with their play sometimes – so they’ll wear a hardhat when they’re playing with the trucks – but often they like to accessorise and customise their outfits to see them through the whole day, whatever they’re playing.
If you haven’t got a dressing up box I’d definitely recommend putting one together. It doesn’t have to be an extensive wardrobe or cost a lot of money, and getting together some items can really spark your children’s play and encourage them be creative and imaginative. Here are some Dressing Up Ideas:
- Ditch the Disney? Don’t feel you have to go all out for shop bought fancy dress costumes. These can be very expensive and I find the fabric, and especially any net, can be itchy and not hard wearing. They’ re also difficult to wash. Although both my two enjoy dressing up in a princess dress sometimes, I think these themed costumes can be a little limiting as all the deciding and customising has been done for you.
- Gather props from your own wardrobe, grandparents and charity shops – much cheaper and I always find children enjoy getting their hands on ‘real’ grown-up stuff.
- Go for simple, open ended options. Pieces of fabric and scarves provide lots of colour and texture and let your children decide what kind of costume they want to put together. These items are versatile so give lots more play options too: a piece of material can be a cape, a skirt, wings, a hat.
- Think about including items from different cultures and styles of dress: headscarves, tunics, saris, and different patterned materials.
- Hats are a great option as they’re so easy to for children to put on and take off by themselves, so even toddlers can join in and design their own outfit. We have woolly hats, flap caps, hardhats, sun hats, crowns and a chef’s hat.
- You might like to add in some things the children can use to fasten the fabric together – kilt pins and safety pins work well as do ribbons and scarves, and my two have been known to use hair bobbles and clips too.
- How about trying something a bit different and designing a costume made from newspaper?
- Bear in mind your own approach to this kind of play. Dressing up is one area of play where I often see adults treating girls and boys differently. Do you offer children different costumes depending on whether they’re a boy or girl? Maybe you can have all the resources available and let the children decide who they’re going to be?