Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide - Dress Up

Whether a Princess, a Doctor, a Pirate, a Clone Trooper, a Dancer, a Construction Worker or Superman, playing dress up is a great activity for children. There is something that is simply magical, almost transforming when a child puts on dress up clothes. It gives them license to be someone or something completely different than who they are. Sure, children can pretend without dress up clothes, but dressing up takes it to the next level.

My kids love to play dress-up. On any random day, it is not completely uncommon for them to decide it is time to dress-up. I think this is a great way for them to be creative. Plus, it is a great way to entertain them on a cold or rainy afternoon, where playing outside just isn't an option.

You don't need to have fancy stuff for dress-up. Before we had dress up clothes, I can remember tucking a baby blanket into the back of my son's shirt so that he could be transformed into a super hero. He would fly around the house and return regularly to be re-tucked. Or using a hat and a handkerchief tied around the neck to create a cowboy, who of course rode off on our rocking horse. Hats can be a great dress up accessory - plastic fire fighter hats, a Diego adventurer hat, a cowboy hat.

Then, we started our collection of dress-up clothes a few years ago at Halloween. After the events were all over (we try to maximize the number of events where the kids can dress up), we hung the costumes in their closets. We now have a Fairy Princess, a Tinker Bell, a Superman, a Darth Vader and a Clone Trooper in our former Halloween collection of dress-up clothes.

Sometimes though, we buy things specifically for dress-up play. One of my favorite places to buy dress up clothes is My Princess Party to Go. I found them a few years ago, when I was looking to get some additional dress-up clothes for my daughter. We had been to my niece's house for her birthday party and the two girls had so much fun dressing up as princesses, complete with shoes, jewelry and crowns. After watching them play, I simply had to get some princess wear for our house too!

My Princess Party to Go has always impressed me with the quality value of the product and the quality of their courteous customer service. The dresses they offer cost less than what I had been seeing at the store and the quality of the dresses have been completely satisfactory. They offer princess dresses, tutus, tiaras, wands, boas and more for girls. For my son, we have purchased prince capes and crowns and a pirate ensemble. Unfortunately, my daughter is starting to reach the top end of the princess dress sizes (for the most part they go up to a size 7) that are available at My Princess Party to Go, but she can still wear the tutus and fairy wings.

My kids enjoy dressing up and I am glad that we have a full assortment of random dress up clothes and accessories to foster their imagination. Sometimes, they will pull out a full outfit, other times it will simply be some of the accessories. I enjoy listening to the tales, describing what they are doing, "pretend that..." as they play in their dress-up clothes. Even my son, who has mostly moved beyond dress up play, still will on occasion turn into a clone trooper for a little while.

My daughter and her friends and cousins, love putting on shows for us. Whether in a Sunday dress, a princess dress, a tutu, or a dance leotard, they will come down, announce their show, asking us to sit down and will come out singing and dancing. This is another reason I am glad that we have a good collection of dress up clothes - so that there are enough for the kids and their friends.

As a mom, I like that dress-up clothes allow them to be creative and imagine. I think that pretend play and imagination are important in their development and that is part of why I recommend dress-up clothes as a holiday gift (or really, anytime).

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.


jennifer said...

I love this idea & have been shopping at garage sales & at stores after Halloween for clearance costumes for my kids to play in. I'm thinking of gathering a princess trunk for my baby girl for next yr's Xmas....