Visit your neighborhood garage sales and gather an array of wardrobe items befitting a queen, princess, mermaid, superhero, pirate, cowboy, or anything else your child likes. Keep your eyes open for cloth remnants, costume jewelry, hats, purses, scarves (pin them to shoulders; don’t tie them around little necks), and shoes.
Pretending develops social skills (cooperation, turn-taking, and sharing), language and vocabulary development, imagination, and emotional expression. When toddlers engage in dramatic play, they are practicing what is entailed in being a person in the world. They try on roles and practice what to say and do in various life situations.
Kids will also appreciate things to put in a purse, such as an old comb or wallet. Applying a bit of color from half-used tubes of lipstick, eyeliner, and powder is a great accent for any outfit. (Make sure you supervise this part.) Turn your child into a superhero by pinning a pillow case cape to your child’s shirt, bestowing a pizza pan shield, fashioning a tinfoil hat and wrist bands, providing a pair of gloves, and adding a plastic spatula to fend off the bad guys.
Other things around the house will make dressing up more fun and engrossing—plastic dishes for a tea party, pictures of food or plastic food, furniture, a sheet over a card table for a house or hideout. Your little thespian can have a tea party for you or his favorite stuffed animals.