More Dress Up Costumes For Toddlers

To Inspire Their Creative Play

While it’s wonderful to have a whole range of ready-made dress up costumes for toddlers ready for your little one to pull on and instantly become someone else, I also recommend providing plenty of accessories, from hats to shoes to lengths of fabric to let them create their own characters.

This is what this second article on dressing up is all about, the freer side of dress up play.

dress up costumes for toddlersThe freedom to be whoever they want

To discover the top 10 benefits of dress up play for your toddler, explore my list of the 16 best sets of dress up costumes for toddlers, and find out why I selected these particular sets, click this link: Best Dress Up Clothes for Toddlers

Why Do Toddlers Play Dress Up?

Dress up play allows children to embody characters and roles they either cannot currently assume in real life, such as being a firefighter or a doctor, or they cannot ever become, like a dinosaur or a tiger.

By using props and clothing to represent others, they act out and make sense of the realities they observe and encounter in their surroundings and in storybooks.

The fact that they engage in this type of pretend play without any prompting indicates their innate inclination to try to understand people and roles by becoming them in their imagination.

Dress up play also offers your toddler a way to find solutions to internal dilemmas they may be grappling with. By repeatedly re-enacting troubling situations, the seriousness of these issues is reduced, making them more manageable for them to handle.

Furthermore, dress-up play allows your little one to express positive emotions and curiosity about the future, even if the scenarios they enact are unrealistic. For instance, they might pretend to be a parent caring for their baby, or an astronaut flying to the moon.

The Best Items To Include in the Dress Up Box

Finding creative ways to use the clothes and props you provide for them will lead to some of your toddler’s greatest moments of learning during their dress up playtimes.

So, what items should you include in your little one’s dress up box?

My list certainly isn’t complete, but these items will provide your toddler with the basics for endless hours of imaginative play recreating real-life scenarios they see going on around them, and delving into the world of fantasy they experience in books, cartoons, and films.

Recommended Dress Up Box Resources

Clothing, etc.

  • hats
  • shoes
  • gloves
  • jewelry
  • masks
  • headbands
  • capes
  • glasses
  • skirts
  • scarves
  • wings
  • belts
  • character vests
  • lengths of fabric
  • adult clothes such as jackets, waistcoats, skirts, dresses, and shoes
  • multi-ethnic clothing

We’ll have a look at great examples of some of these items in a minute.

Extra props for imaginative play

  • food items
  • cooking utensils
  • tea set
  • tool kit
  • make up kit
  • beauty salon set
  • doctor’s kit
  • pretend money

toddler in fairy costumeReady for fairytale adventures

Where To Source Dress Up Resources

While you may want to buy a few special bits and pieces for your toddler’s dressing up box, filling it doesn’t need to cost the earth.

Here are some suggestions for sourcing clothes and props:

Home – You probably have some of the suggested clothing items right there in your home. Dig out old hats, gloves, shoes, scarves, and costume jewelry. How about clothes you no longer wear? Your toddler will love dressing up to look like Mom and Dad.

Family – Ask family and friends if they have any spare items suitable for creating dress up costumes for toddlers.

Thrift stores – It’s amazing what you can pick up at thrift stores for next to nothing. From clothing items to jewelry, and other props and accessories, there will be plenty of dress up resources awaiting discovery and a new life created in your toddler’s imagination. You’ll likely come across full fancy dress costumes from time to time.

Party shops – For bright, glitzy accessories, your local party shop is the place to go.

Discount fabric outlets – With a few lengths of fabric to drape over them, or tie as a cape, your toddler can transform into a whole range of different characters. If you don’t have a discount fabric outlet near you, there are many online to browse for cheap, fun fabrics.

The 14 Top Accessories For Dress Up Costumes For Toddlers

Now for my list of special bits and pieces to add to your toddler’s dressing up box to inspire their imagination. They’re not essential but they’ll certainly be exciting for your little one.

1. Princess Jewelry

With 56 different pieces of pretend jewelry to mix and match, your toddler is never going to run out of ideas to glitz up any costume. The set comprises 3 crowns, 3 necklaces, 8 bracelets, 18 rings, 20 earrings, and 4 wands. Be mindful of a choking risk for young toddlers with the smaller items.

2. Hard Hats and Helmets

Let your toddler become a whole new character with each of these 6 role-play hats and helmets. Included are a firefighter helmet, a SWAT helmet, a miner’s hard hat with light, a cowboy hat, a police helmet, and a camouflage army helmet. A great set.

3. Straw Hat and Purse Set

For tea parties with their toys or toddler friends, or imaginary summer trips and picnics, these straw hats and matching purses are just perfect. Each has a delightful daisy decoration.

4. Dress Up Gloves

These glamorous dress up gloves will add a touch of class to any of your toddler’s costume creations. They’ll love their smooth satiny feel and the choice of 6 different colors.

5. Dress Up Shoes

While your toddler will be quite happy clopping about in Mom and Dad’s old, oversized shoes, they’ll also be eager to don this fashionable footwear in 4 styles – Elegant Princess, Prima Ballerina, Magical Fairy, and Rocker.

6. Dress Up Vests

Character vests are a great addition to any dress up box. Your toddler only has to slip one on and they step straight into the role of whichever they’ve chosen. This set comprises a construction worker, a farmer, a fireman, an astronaut, a doctor, a chef, an adventurer, a police officer, a sailor, and a postman.

7. Wing Sets

This set of pretty butterfly-shaped wings gives your toddler 5 color options for their fairy costume. They are sturdy enough to last well but light enough for them to wear for hours of exciting fairytale adventures.

8.  Animal Masks

Your little one needs nothing more than a simple mask to enter the land of make believe and this set of 24 animal masks gives them plenty of options to explore the movements and sounds of the animal kingdom. Animals in the set included – giraffe, hippo, hedgehog, lion, tiger, zebra, boar, monkey, elephant, fox, brown bear, owl, and pig.

9. Animal  Headbands

Another option for animal-themed pretend play is a set of animal ear headbands. This 12 piece set includes the ears of a bunny, a cat, an elephant, a giraffe, a leopard, a tiger, a zebra, and a frog.

10. Superhero Capes and Masks

Capes and mask sets make excellent dress up costumes for toddlers. They are simple, easy to put on, and fun to wear. Being a superhero will boost your toddler’s confidence and make them feel they are capable of achieving anything. This set comprises 4 double-sided capes and 8 superhero masks.

11. Princess Capes

For days when they don’t feel like saving the world but just want to feel pretty, these sparkly princess capes are just what your little one needs. They can complete their look by mixing and matching other dress up accessories such as play jewelry, and pretty shoes.

12. Dress Up Skirts

A simple skirt can form the basis of all manner of different dress up costumes for toddlers. This set of multi-layered tutu skirts in 6 different colors offers plenty of creative options. They just have to choose a color, pull the skirt on and see where their imagination takes them from there.

13. Feather Boas

Wearing a feather boa dresses up any outfit. With 6 colors to choose from, your little one can have fun color-matching them to whatever else they are wearing. What will they get up to while looking so glamorous? Attend a posh tea party perhaps, or play the role of a famous pop star.

14. Dress Up No-Lenses Glasses

These fun glasses frames will completely transform your toddler’s appearance and allow them easily take on a new persona. Wearing silly glasses will unleash their sense of humor and enable them to create a whole host of hilarious characters.

Tips For Parents

Ways to Encourage and Enhance Dress Up Play

Having explored a wide range of clothing and accessories for creating the best dress up costumes for toddlers, I want to offer you a few tips for making dress up play a special experience for your little one.

  • If you provide even one or two dress up items for your toddler, you’ll probably find they dive straight in and enter the world of imaginary play without prompting.

  • Allow them to experiment with dressing up play freely without trying to direct their creativity. If they are shy or reluctant at first, remind them of their favorite storybook or cartoon characters, and encourage them to recreate them in their play, reenact their adventures, and imagine new ones for them to enjoy.

  • Your little one may feel overwhelmed by a box full of clothes and accessories. Consider giving them just a small selection to choose from to start with and watch them begin to experiment as their imagination ignites.

  • While there will be costumes and accessories that become clear favorites, encourage your toddler to explore new characters and pretend play scenarios by changing the items in their dress up box now and then.

  • Active parental involvement is also important and joining in their play at times will enrich your little one’s play experience. They will love you entering into their imaginary worlds with them. On these occasions, you can gently guide them or make suggestions to help them delve deeper into their character, develop their costume, or explore different scenarios in their play.

Final Words

By choosing the very best selection of dress up clothes for toddlers for your little one’s creative play, you set their imagination free for them to be whoever they want, do anything they like, and go anywhere their imagination takes them. You give them permission to dream, hope, and create. That’s a priceless gift.

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toddler dress up costume ideas


About Jacky Spear

Jacky Spear passionately promotes learning toys for child development. With 30+ years of teaching experience, she understands the power of play in engaging and nurturing children, including those with special needs. Drawing from personal experience in both the school and home environment, Jacky helps parents to select the best learning toys to unlock their children's potential and create a lifelong love for learning. Learn more about Jacky >>

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