Creating a Dramatic Play Wardrobe on a Budget
Knowing where to look for kids dress up clothes means hours of entertainment without breaking the budget. Use these resources to get started.
A collection of dress up clothes brings out the imagination in any child. Kids enjoy the excitement of transforming into princesses, knights, superheros, animals and other characters with themed clothing and props. Forget spending money on the expensive dress up clothes in the toy stores. A few simple strategies will keep the kids playing in style without breaking the bank.
Typical Kids Dress Up Clothes
The range of possibilities for kids dress up clothes is wide and varied. Nearly any article of clothing works well to encourage kids to engage in imaginative play. The child’s interests aid in selecting items to add to the collection. Common ideas for dramatic play include:
- Character costumes
- Animal costumes and masks
- Adult clothes
- Play props such as wands and swords
- Accessories such as shoes, purses, belts and jewelry
Places to Find Affordable Dress Up Outfits
- Clearance Halloween Costumes: Most stores mark down their Halloween costumes as soon as the holiday passes. These cheap costumes offer a wide variety of character options for kids’ dramatic play activities. Checking the discount costume section the day after Halloween results in the best selection of characters and sizes.
- Check Closets: Cleaning out the closets at home may reveal a wealth of outfits for the kids. Young children enjoy wearing adult clothing, making this free option a good one for beefing up the dress up closet. A quick hem makes adult clothing safe for kids, preventing trips and falls for short legs.
- Secondhand Items: Used clothing and costumes offer another source of dress up clothes for kids. There are several places to find secondhand clothing that works well for dramatic play activities for kids. Ideas include garage sales, secondhand kids’ stores, Freecycle, Craigslist and eBay. Freecycle allows members to request specific items, making it easier to find specific types and sizes of dress up clothes. Many online secondhand stores allow users to search by clothing style, size and other criteria. A clothing swap with other parents allows all participants to come home with new items ideal for dramatic play. Another option is to ask family and friends for donations of clothing they no longer wear. A quick run through the washing machine gets the clothes ready for imaginative play for the kids.
- Embellished Kids Clothes: Embellishments give new life to stained or torn clothes from a child’s wardrobe. Adding sequins, patches, fabric paint designs or stitching to articles of clothing covers up any imperfections and makes them appealing to the kids once again.
Using the Dress Up Clothes
Now that a collection of outfits is established, it’s time to unleash the imagination of the children. Letting kids guide the dramatic play, using the clothes as inspiration, results in an entertaining and educational experience. Rotating through a large collection of clothes every two to three weeks adds variety to play and keeps the kids interested.
There is no right or wrong way to engage in dress up and dramatic play activities with kids. Encourage kids to think creatively and use the clothes and props as a springboard to a world full of imagination. With the inexpensive collection of dress up clothes, the kids will enjoy hours of creative play.