Why Kids Should Play Dress Up & How To Build A Stash

Kids love to play dress up… it’s so much fun! Here are the basic reasons why and how to build up a great stash of dress up clothes.


Full confession: my daughter dresses up in old formal gowns that I dressed up in as a child that my grandmother got at good will.

Oh yes, baby, dress up is serious business in our family.

We have 2 massive tubs of dress up clothes and collect them anytime we can. When other kids come over to play, inevitably, they all end up dressed up and walking around in whatever imaginative game comes up.

Dress up clothes get kids off screens

Kids love the costumes. The nostalgia factor cannot be understated. There is nothing cuter than seeing your precious babies run around playing make believe in a variety of outfits.

little girl in dress up outfit

Dress up inspires creativity and teaches important life skills.

Dress up encourages creativity in the purest form. It’s child’s play… and it’s so good or kids!

This is because children’s imaginations are limitless. When children engage in dress up play, they are given total freedom to imagine as they wish.

It’s so much fun.

101+ 15 Minute Projects

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Kids dress up because it allows them to dream, hope, and use their imagination.

It’s simple fun! Why? Dreaming is fun. Hoping is fun. It’s childlike play that any child can participate in.

It’s great for kids of all ages. It doesn’t take special skills or abilities…. just an imagination. And, it’s great to build up those imaginations.

I actually think kids are more innocent, playful, and childlike (which is the goal!) when they are OFF screens and out in the big wide world exploring.

So let them imagine. Let them explore and be creative in their dress up play.

Maybe you have super hero costumes, but they want to put wigs on them and pretend to be cave men. Let them…

Maybe they have princess costumes, but them decide that today their princesses will also have shields and swords. Let them…

The possibilities are endless.

When kids play dress up, they practice important life skills…

  • critical thinking
  • his imagination
  • communication
  • cooperation
  • give and take
  • teamwork

Critical thinking skills are skills that children develop through observing and forming judgements.

So here’s the dress up costumes we have… what can we make with them? What playing ideas can we create with them?

Communication, cooperation, and sharing are often necessary for critical thinking skills to thrive. Guess what? Each these things are practiced here.

So this is why kids love dress up!

They may not be able to put into words why, but learning these critical thinking skills are just a few reasons why kids love dress up.

Teamwork, cooperation, sharing, and motor skills are also important life skills practiced here.

How to build the dress up stash

Try these things to get a great stash of dress up clothing, accessories, storage, and more. The best part is this can be super cheap or even free for you. And the kids will play with them for years.

Invest in some career themed dress up items

These make such great moments for learning and growing. This can be any type of job. Actually, your kids may end up making their own uniforms as well and creating jobs to go with those, but here are some fun places to start.

Here are some great sets:

  • Firefighter
  • Police Officer
  • Doctor
  • Construction Worker
  • Chef
  • Gardner
  • Surgeon and Nurse Set
  • Astronaut Set
  • Community Helpers Vest Set
  • National Geographic Explorer Set

50+ Connection Questions

Pull out these fun questions to share some laughs with your precious ones. Use them out at meal times, car rides, or any time the day is getting chaotic and you need a reset to connect.

Accessories and “weapons”

Don’t underestimate the fun that can be created with a few dress up accessories. This is what makes it a game, a war, an adventure.

  • Princess Accessories
  • Binoculars
  • Wands
  • Cooking Tools
  • Pirate Gear
  • Construction Accessories
  • Police Gear
  • Army Accessories
  • Knights Armor

Shop after Halloween sales

Shop the “after Halloween” sales at your local supermarkets. I mean, not the scary items of course. But there are some great deals to be found in super heroes, characters, and more.

The prices will be slashed to 50% off or so sometimes. Get a size up or two so the kids can grow into them. My boys wear them until they are superheroes in highwaters, but hey. It’s still fun.

Hats, masks, belts and gloves

Kids love hats. In fact, the right hat can make the outfit work. You can grab these from goodwill, anything that seems colorful and exaggerated will do the trick.

  • 6 Hats & Helmets
  • Assorted Party Hats
  • Royal King & Queen Crowns
  • Ski gloves
  • Thick winter gloves
  • Boxing gloves

So, the sky’s the limit. The key is to get something exaggerated, big, and fun to wear.

50+ Life Skills Checklists (By Age!)

Kids (toddlers through elementary school) will learn everything from life management, social, survival, and hygiene skills PLUS MORE!

Thrift shop

This doesn’t have to be just after Halloween items. You may find some awesome vintage dresses, old-timey “work clothes”, or other novelty clothing items.

Do some research on how to properly clean them before introducing them into the rotation.

  • purses
  • fancy dresses
  • jackets
  • fake fur
  • high heel shoes
  • work boots

Dress up themed party (with a gift theme!)

Have a dress up themed birthday party. There will undoubtedly be gifts of costumes and costume materials.

  • Tell people on the invite to wear a costume
  • You can specify you want the gifts to be costume or dress up related
  • Ask on social for anyone whose kids are grown out of their stash or for any former costumes, etc. People often have a LOT of this type of stuff lying around.

Organize your stash

Plan a certain Trunk, closet, or shelf to keep the dress items organized. This functional Dress-Up Island is a great idea for a child’s play room.

Choose one area in your home, maybe the play room area or somewhere out of sight. Like not in the living room. Get a couple of big containers which makes for easy clean up. Macro advertising, not micro advertising.

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