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Benefits of Dress-Up Play for Kids


Madison loves to play dress up which is why Halloween is one of her favorite holidays. Not only does she get to dress up as one of her favorite characters for the day or sometimes days, but I get to see her express her creative self. Thank you Great Pretenders for sending this beautiful dress for her to play dress up in.


Boys and girls alike enjoy dress-up play and make-believe games early on. Often as children get older, we end up encouraging them to play in different ways and leave the dress-up clothes behind (and this is usually the case with boys). But research shows there are plenty of reasons to foster and encourage this kind of play. Here are some of the many benefits of dress-up play for kids.



It builds vocabulary and communication
Have you ever listened in as your kids play? If so, you probably find it hard not to laugh, hearing them use phrases they likely heard an adult saying. While they’re playing make-believe, children throw in words they don’t often use, but that make total sense when bringing new characters to life. Later, you might hear your kids using these words in their real life conversations, after they’ve practiced while playing.

It shapes identity
When children “try on” new identities, it allows them to decide for themselves whether they like or dislike something. In this way, they can pick and choose which behaviors they want to incorporate into their real identities.



It improves cognitive skills
Kids have to think outside the box in the dress-up world. This isn’t their everyday life. They’re encountering new challenges and using a pretend identity to problem-solve. Because of this, they get creative as they resolve an issue in their pretend worlds on their own.

It fosters creativity and imagination 
Kids’ imaginations naturally run wild. The line where reality ends and make-believe begins doesn’t exist for them the way it does for us. Dress-up play allows children to act out and process those fantasies for a little while before returning to the confines of their usual routines.



It builds empathy
As children try on different roles, they think about what it would feel like to be in that new position, seeing things from that person’s point-of-view. Their understanding of how a person in such a role might operate makes them more sensitive individuals. You can see this when kids play doctor, for example. They might have a moment of joy, feeling in control, while pretending to give you a shot, but they’ll comfort you if you pretend to be scared or in pain.

It teaches cooperation
Playing dress-up with friends forces children to work together. They have to communicate, negotiate and take turns with each other, or the fun will end. They have to make decisions and quickly realize their choices effect the outcome of the game. We all have to learn how to work together to function in a society, so the earlier these skills are learned, the better.


Create a dress-up collection for your kids by designating a bin or trunk specifically for this purpose. Save old Halloween costumes and add other items to the collection throughout the year. Give your little ones items that force them to use their imaginations, like plastic colanders, scarves and towels. Pick up items from your local thrift shop, like aprons, tool belts, gloves and other accessories. Make sure your children have access to the container in their room or playroom, and you’ll reap the added benefit of independent play.


Great Pretenders believes in the power of imagination and has a varied selection of dress up costumes for your children. They know that pretend play is not just great fun, but is the way kids develop imagination and creative thinking skills. Visit Great Pretenders and enhance your own kids imagination with dress up costumes that will delight you all.

Annmarie John
53 Comments
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53 comments:

  1. Aw, Madison looks adorable and not going to lie, but both my girls still absolutely love to place dress up and may have to check this out more for them, too 😉

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  2. She's such a darling. We don't do much dress up here in our household unless it's Halloween, but I can truly see the benefits of dress up for everyone. Gives mom and dad a chance to relax when the kids are having fun time pretending, unless of course they want you to join in.

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  3. We are big fans of make believe play around here! I LOVE Madison's dress and I want one for the Tiniest Foodie! :-) Beautiful, beautiful, and so much fun. :-)

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  4. I love it when kids play dress up. Their creativity skyrockets when they start wearing outfits. My kids used to come up with some crazy intricate stories when they dressed up.

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  5. My sister and I both got dress-up trunks when we were young, and those costumes got used all the way until they fell apart. And, I can't lie, I still have one. Lol. You never know when a theme party might bust out. Can't wait until my kids are ready to play!

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  6. Both of my boys always loved dressing up when they were little. We had dress up closed at home and they had some at their preschool.

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  7. My daughter has been asking about Halloween since probably the start of the year lol She loves it, and loves to dress up! I like buying a bunch of costumes on the after Halloween clearance as well lol

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  8. I always play dress up with my kids and little did I know, it has lots of GREAT benefits! Thanks for sharing. Dress up play is our favorite playtime activity.

    PS. She's so cute!

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  9. We love dress up play in our house. We keep a box of different costumes.

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  10. I didn't know dress up had so many great benefits for children. I knew it could develop creativity but empathy, cognitive skills and cooperation are so important.

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  11. What a darling little princess. I bet she feels like one as well. I agree that it's important for imaginative dress up play for kids.

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  12. I Love the idea of having a dress up trunk for kids with old costumes and things like that. I would have loved this as a child. I never thought about how playing can build vocabulary. But that totally makes sense! By the way, that dress with the gloves and crown is too cute!

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  13. Dress up play / dramatic play is so important for children's development and you've nailed the benefits of this type of play. Children work through some pretty intense stuff in dramatic play too - that's why child therapist's often do play therapy with children.

    Thank you so much for sharing!
    xoxo

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  14. My youngest has always loved playing dress up, from using her big sisters clothes, to all the fairy and princess costumes from Halloween's past. She keeps all of her costumes, because they see a lot of action throughout the year.

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  15. Dress-up is the best! I love that fun princess dress. We liked having plenty of costumes for the kids to play with!

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  16. My daughter loved dressing up when she was little. It was one of her favorite ways to play pretend.

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  17. This is great! I LOVED playing make-believe and dress-up as a child. My sister and I would play all types of scenarios like school as teacher and student and restaurant as patron and waitress. We had a blast and it kept us busy for hours!

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  18. As a teacher, I totally agree with all of these. It's important to encourage imaginative play, especially through dress up! They develop so many skills aside from their imagination and creativity.

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  19. So so sweet! My girls love to play dress up! So much fun!

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  20. I didn't realize that playing dress up could have so many positive effects on a child's development. Very interesting!

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  21. I am all about dress up for my boys. We have a closet full of dress up clothes and they love it. We have a lot of fun finding them for them too!

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  22. Playing dress up is so much fun! i remember as a kid I used to love dressing up as princesses and fairies and letting my imagination run wild! There benefits are spot on!

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  23. Dress up play is so important for kids! Mine used to LOVE to play dress up when they were little.

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  24. I miss those days of dress up play. My girls always saved their Halloween costumes and played year round. It was a fun activity when they had their friends over too. So much better than sitting around watching movies or playing gaming systems!

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  25. Creative play is very good in the overall development of children. I remember by boys were ninjas for the longest time and my daughter said she was going to grow up to be like Mulan. (hence the gazillion robes she asks me to buy for her).

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  26. Oh, goodness, what a beautiful little princess! I agree, dress up and any kind of imaginative play is so important to a child's development! My 10 year old doesn't have "real" dress up items, he uses what we have at home to create his own, like an FBI agent or a fisherman! haha

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  27. I loved playing dress up as a kid and it has definitely made me more comfortable about myself. I think it's important that we encourage kids to play dress up! There's just so many benefits that they shouldn't miss!

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  28. When my daughter was younger she had a lot of imaginary play items. I noticed it was something that sparked her creative side in other areas too. I love Madison's dress for dress up, she does look like a princess or queen in that dress with the gloves on. Pretend play really does enhance vocabulary and help build identity, I do agree.

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  29. We always had a bunch of stuff around when our girls were young, they loved to dress up. Never quite knew what they would come up with, sometimes a firefighter hat would match up with a dress. Loved those times.

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  30. I deeply miss Scarlet's princess days but she still dresses up! Like unicorns or firefighters or scientists. And sometimes Des and Scarlet are quiet for too long and I peek downstairs and they have raided the dress up box! Yes, we have one. I had one as a kid too. With five kids, it was more like a dress up shed.

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  31. I totally believe in the power of make believe. When my daughter was small, we had a trunk of make believe outfits that were so wonderful for her. Lots of hats and clothes from all walks of life!

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  32. What a gorgeous dress! My little girls love dressing up too!

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  33. This has to be the prettiest princess princess dress I have ever seen! My two girls love to play dress up!

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  34. This is a beautiful dress! My daughter loves to dress up and has a rail of lovely dresses to choose from. Her favourite day at school is World Book Day when they get to dress up as their favourite book character!

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  35. When I used to be a kid, I used to play not only dress-up but also had a proper doll house and all and it always helped me with story telling.

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  36. I love playing dress up. I also love letting my kids just dress themselves and wear whatever out and about. Sometimes they are dragons, sometimes they are princesses.

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  37. This is awesome! My daughter loves to dress up. She would go to school in these outfits if she could.

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  38. I believe in the power of dress up and imagination as well. My son used to get so creative when he would dress up. Your little one looks awesome!! She makes for perfect royalty. :)

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  39. Your daughter is the cutest thing! I loved playing dress up as a child, I still do really. It's so important to let kids use their imagination and get creative with their self expression

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  40. Oh my goodness. This girl is just too cute! I especially love her hair. :D

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  41. I loved this stage! My girls all loved to play dress up. I always wished I could sew, but the Great Pretenders did an amazing job on this gown.

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  42. Halloween is high on my list of favorite holidays, too! I love the creativity that goes into picking a costume. Your daughter looks just gorgeous in her gown.

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  43. I do agree that it is important to let children dress up. It definitely adds another dimension of creativity when they are pretending.

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  44. I can see how h appy kids are when they play dress up, and I agree with you, it does help to mold their character. I will share this post with my friends who still have young children. Maybe they can set up a play date too.

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  45. My daughter loves to dress up. It's fun to watch their imaginations just go!

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  46. She makes a beautiful princess and I agree with you that dress up is so important for development. Especially when it comes to shaping their identity! x

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  47. She is just so adorable! I used to love playing dress up, especially in my moms closet!

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  48. Your daughter is such a gorgeous girl! Dress up play is so important in building self confidence and letting little ones experiment with their own self identity. My daughters love to dress up!

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  49. Dress up play is incredibly important for kids. They are forced to grow up so fast now that anything that will let them expand their imagination is a good idea.

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  50. When I was a kid I would play dress up in my mom's clothes. It was so much fun. We would pretend we were grown-ups or princesses living in whatever world we could imagine. I love that they have so many outfits available for little ones to play with. It really does teach amazing lessons.

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  51. My kids love to play dress up. Their free play and imagination time is so important.

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  52. This is great and, as an educator, I learned the importance of pretend play and dress up to a child's development. These are great childhood memories for me.

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  53. Such a fun idea as a child! I loved using my imagination to dress up and pretend I was in a different life-- Sometimes in today's tech society, we have forgotten these precious childhood moments!

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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