Kids learn so much from imagination play! I have a house full of boys who love to dress up in their costumes and pretend play. I personally want to encourage this desire to explore and pretend play so I have slowly but surely added to their costume box. Here are my top dress up & pretend play ideas & tips coming from a mom who has been collecting these types of toys for my kids for over 8 years.
Costumes can be pricey but when you are shopping for a costume one thing I would tell you to look for is quality. You may be paying $24 for a doctor costume but if it’s good quality it’s worth it! Between our 3 children our costumes that have been quality have lasted over 6 years. So at the end $24 didn’t end up being that much for all the use they’ve gotten out of it. Since my youngest is 3 those costumes will still get used at least 4 more years. Well, right now at Melissa & Doug you can get Free Shipping with your $40 purchase just use this code FREESHIPFORTY.
The costumes featured above you can find here: Doctor costume, Police costume, Chef costume & Decorate Cupcake Set we own this one Knight costume it’s even survived the dog attacking the sword and shield.
The more generic the costumes the better for encouraging imaginative play. Though we own less generic ones like Buzz Light Year and Darth Vader our kids always end up pulling out the costumes like police man, doctor, cowboy… And sometimes their police man has a cape on and cowboy boots. It’s all part of the fun for them!
Also, for pretend play don’t be afraid to get gender different toys. For example, I bought my boys when they were really young dishes and recently I got them a doll house. As a counselor, I’m personally fascinated when I watch them play. It’s so interesting to hear their pretend adult voices, the scenarios they come up with and how they play with the toys.
You don’t have to have full costumes for the different roles just by accessories. For example, a princess costume can easily become a fairy costume if you add wings. The doctor costume can become a scientist with a few different props. My kids add a different type to their police man costume to turn it into a detective. Your doctor supplies and a stuffed animal can quickly become a vet office.
Also, you can make some of those accessories and props for pretend play. You can ask your fast food restaurant if they can give you a clean box of French fries and burger box. Save those mini cereal boxes and add it to your pretend play.
Play dough is wonderful for pretend play. My kids use it to play restaurant and make food from it.
Here’s a pizzeria from Lemon Tree Creations. She used felt to make the pretend food but you can also use play dough.
This collapsible, no nails or hammer tent you can find the details here.
This DIY Traveling Puppet Show Theatre was a huge hit.
All opinions, tips, ideas are my own and Melissa & Doug was so kind to donate a costume to our collection!