How To Play Dress Up With Clothes And Feather Boas

A preschool or elementary age child’s imagination is a wondrous thing, and playing dress up is an important and creative way to feed it and to foster development. With just a few odds and ends, kids can transform themselves into whatever their dreams can conjure up. Unlike playing computer dress up games, physically playing with objects they touch and put on themselves lets children experiment, and to create and assume roles of their choice without any rules or structure.
Fill a rainy day with glee by inviting some of your child’s friends over, and provide them with a box of old clothing and props. Turn off the electronic entertainment, and turn on creativity and imagination. Suggest a tea party, an old West shoot-out, a fashion show or a pirate ship voyage. You’ll be amazed at how much fun the kids will have, and how much fun you’ll have watching them and interacting with their pretend characters.
Create a wardrobe box for your kids and place it where it’s easily accessible. They’ll love dressing up in your old clothes, shoes, hats and belts. Don’t throw anything away–your child’s imagination can bring new life to those beat-up sunglasses, and that old elastic waist skirt can become a bridal veil or an elaborate gown. Give them vintage clothes that might be tucked away in the attic or basement. Hats, scarves, hair combs, purses, fancy headbands, aprons, sports jerseys, and even an old sheet or towel can inspire their imaginations. Don’t worry that clothes won’t fit the kids, just let them wear stuff in whatever ways they deem appropriate.
Haunt dollar stores and thrift shops for dress-up items that you might not already have. Look for cheap “glamour” objects such as fancy sequined or jeweled tops, tiaras, costume jewelry, long gloves, sunglasses, tutus and feather boas. Kids love anything sparkly, shiny and unusual. Used Halloween costumes are great finds, also.
If this type of play is new to your kids, help them with suggestions. Little girls like princesses, fairies, mommies, ballerinas and movie stars. Boys like pirates, cowboys, daddies and superheroes.
Give your little guy an old sports jersey, and point out an old towel that he can use as a superhero’s cape. Cut eye holes in a necktie to create a mask, then give him a pair of knee socks to pull on for superhero boots.
Glamorize your little girl with a fancy beaded or sequined top, cocktail dress or other sparkly clothes. Accessorize your movie star with feather boas, sunglasses, a fancy hat, costume jewelry, a purse and long gloves. An old pair of socks can become the gloves, if need be. A piece of faux fur makes for a sophisticated stole.
Send the daddy to the office in an old sport coat and long pants. Equip him with a necktie, a hat, an old wristwatch and cuff links. A large purse, tote or beach bag makes a dandy briefcase. An old cell phone is a great accessory, and your little boy will be able to engage in important conversations and transactions with it.
You little princess will need a fancy long shirt or party dress for a gown. Tiaras and headbands make lovely crowns, and she’ll love dressing the outfit up with all the old costume jewelry that you can provide. Some princesses like to wear capes, and an old apron is perfect. A plastic ruler can become a scepter for Her Highness.

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