Dress Up Games for Girls – The Non-Screen Kind

Dressing Up Games

This post is all about fun dress up games for girls, but not ipad or computer or play station type of dress up games. Not apps either.

What I’m talking about here is the non-screen kind of dress up play, where they are down on the ground, or sitting at a table, or running around, or interacting as they prance about.  Dress up themed games and activities – aimed towards girls, but honestly, boys would probably have just as much fun as girls with most of them.

Let’s get our girls playing. Playing hard, playing for long periods of time, playing solo, playing together… it’s SO important to get them actively engaged in play!

We’ll start with traditional costume types of dress up games for girls, and then go on to some dress up related games and activities.

Costume Type Games and Activities

Role Playing!

Dress Up Fun For Girls

I’m listing this one first because role playing is SO awesome, and includes so many different types of dress up games! Here are a bunch of good ones:

Role Playing “Going To The ___”: Children can fill in the blank in so many different ways! Going to the…  Hospital, School, Church, Sports Game, Ballet, Bakery, Mechanic Shop, Mall, Doctor’s Office, Veterinarian Clinic, Library, Zoo, Gym, Grocery Store, etc. Each location can have it’s own props and costumes, each it’s own scene to role play and enjoy. Kids are so good at this, by the way! Especially when they really get into it… you’ll be laughing at what they have picked up from tagging along with you!

Role Playing Careers/When I Grow Up: Girls love to pretend that they are all grown up, don’t they? That’s why “playing house” is such a staple game for girls. No real costumes are needed, but sometimes dressing up as Mommy in her jewelry, shoes, fancy dress, etc. can be the highlight of the week. (My daughter would get a kick out of wearing my nursing cover-up when her brother was a baby – she’d wear it and “nurse” her own dolls LOL. I know she’s not the only one to do this. 😉 ) It’s not just pretending to be Mommy though… there are so many AWESOME careers that girls can have fun acting out! See the “When I Grow Up Costumes” post for a big list of ideas.Superhero Dressup

Role Playing Superheroes:  Playing superheroes (superheroines) is NOT just for the boys. Not anymore, that’s for sure… girls love to get the bad guy and fight crime and save the world just as much as boys do sometimes! And with the Marvel movies that have come out lately being marketed so brilliantly, many of our girls already have a favorite Superhero or Superheroine that they would have a LOT of fun pretending to be! Check out “Superhero Costumes for Girls” for a few ideas! 

Role Playing “Let’s Pretend We’re…”  The options are endless here, but sometimes what you have in your dress up box might steer her in a particular direction. I really like to have my daughter pick the ideas herself for her play, but sometimes she needs a hand with it. Your girls might too, so here are a bunch of them. “Let’s pretend we’re…”

  • going grocery shoppingPlaying Princess
  • at the beauty salon
  • getting married
  • going to go and pick out a new puppy!
  • hunting down the missing tiger from the zoo
  • having a tea party with the Queen
  • flying with the fairies in the forest, looking for the lost magic flower
  • Princesses going to a ball in beautiful princess gowns
  • fighting fires and bringing paramedic help to the injured  (my daughter LOVES this game, so totally not just a boy thing. All of her stuffed animals get “treated”.)
  • delivering Christmas presents
  • animals in the zoo
  • Mommy and Daddy 😉

Fairytale or Story Reenactment

This often takes more than one child, but I’ve also seen/heard a child do a whole story on her own before, acting out the voices, characters, and plot steps bit by bit.  Dress up hats can come in handy for this, by the way, as they are a quick costume change.

When you think “story reenactment”, you don’t have to think of Disney feature films, right away. (Maybe you didn’t, but I’m a “Think Big” kind of person myself, and that’s what I thought of first… Snow White, Frozen, Cinderella… these are huge “productions”, not “go play for a bit” type dress up activities.)  Suggesting that she and her friends start small, with say, Goldilocks and the Three Bears or The Three Little Pigs sets them up for success. A few props and dress up costumes or accessories are definitely helpful.

Fashion Show or Photo Shoot

Dress Up Games

If you have a girl that’s into Fashion, these would both be fantastic dress up game or activities for her. Especially if you already have a big collection of dress up gowns (such as these Disney dresses or Generic Princess Gowns), and accessories like dress up wigs and girls dress up shoes.  Have her select, prepare, put on, and model say, 3 different “favorite outfits” for you. You get to give her a score (if she’d like that, you’ll know her best), and photograph her in each one (PERFECT for getting some great shots for her photo album… you and she’ll love them later on).

Dress Up Obstacle Course or Relay Race!

If you have a big group of girls (or children) over, this is a fun game to play at a birthday party! Or just for entertainment in general.  Select a bunch of fun outfits and interesting activities, and arrange the order in which they need to don the costumes and do the stunts. Make it as challenging as is age-appropriate… just do it as best you can, do it with a partner/adult, or make it a race/competition, whatever you desire!

Dress Up RELATED Games and Activities

Repositionable Stickers

Dress Up Activities For GirlsMost children love stickers, but those who love dress up and fashion will likely love sticker activities like the Melissa & Doug Repositionable Sticker Pad, in the Dress Up theme in particular. CLICK HERE to read my write up on it for more details.

Magnetic Dress Up

Melissa & Doug have a fantastic line of magnetic dress up dolls for both boys and girls! They are easy for youngsters’ small hands, solid and durable, and the magnets really do work! Besides being a good “Quiet Time Activity”, it can also be a good one for a parent to play with their child from across the room (say, while making dinner, or nursing a baby), suggesting different scenes or activities that their child can think through and then dress up the doll appropriately.  (See Melissa and Doug Magnetic Dress Up Dolls

 on Amazon.)

Reading Books

Books For Girls Who Love Dressing UpKids love stories… from an early age on. And there are a lot of books for kids who love dressing up! Whether they are about characters who dress up, or inspire kids TO dress up, books are great! Check out my list here, and feel free to add your own suggestions to it!


For girls who love dress up, coloring pictures of interesting characters in interesting outfits is a great activity! Do a google search and you’ll find 1000s of free printable sheets!

Paper Dolls

Paper Doll Chain

My mother tells me often that when she was a girl, designing clothes for paper dolls was one of her favorite activities. I believe her, because I saw her collection. It takes some skill and learning to begin to draw her own outfits, but if your girl can get into it, she’ll have a great time dressing up her paper dolls!   An easy step-down from real paper dolls is the paper doll chain (see photo) – she might really enjoy designing/coloring each character!

You can also buy Paper Doll Activity Books in popular themes such as Disney Princess, Frozen, Barbie, etc. They are the “punch out” style, meaning a bit fragile for little fingers, but fun for older girls who won’t rip them too quickly. These sets make great Christmas or Birthday present, by the way!

Playing Barbies

Girls Playing Barbies

Dressing UP dolls and giving them characters… playing with Barbies is one of the traditional dress up activities that has lasted for decades already and will last for much longer. Costumes and accessories for Barbies are pretty much limitless, so dress up play for Barbie lovers can last a LONG time… and the scope of play is wide open.

Kids Love Dress Up

It’s my hope and wish that this list of dress up games for girls will help you keep your girls busy with lots of healthy dress up fun! No screens, just good old fun! 🙂

I’d love to hear from you! What kinds of dress up games does your girl like to play?



12 thoughts on “Dress Up Games for Girls – The Non-Screen Kind

  1. Billie October 22, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    First time seeing this page! I love, love, love it! I am soooo looking forward to the time my girls are old enough to start playing dress-up. You have a lot of interesting game ideas and I look forward to trying every one of them! I thought of a “scuba” outfit I saw at amazon. Had the little goggles and snorkel and the rubberish suit for outside water games. It sounded like a lot of fun! Slip-n-slide or just splashing around in one of those kiddie pools! So many great ideas! Thanks!

    • Marlaine October 22, 2016 at 10:51 pm

      Glad you had fun browsing this page, Bille! Thanks for dropping by again! 🙂
      A scuba outfit would be a blast… I always thought they looked so funny as a child, but was also always curious to see how they worked and how they felt! How old are your girls now?

  2. Gabriela October 22, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    When me and my sister were young, playing dress up and playing house were our favorite things to do. We spent most of our childhood doing that stuff. It would be never ending and we wouldn’t get sick of it either. We had tons of plastic princess shoes and outfits to wear. Also coloring and playing with barbies. I think it’s great that you’re promoting the kind of games that aren’t electronics!

    • Marlaine October 23, 2016 at 2:38 am

      Hi Gabriela,

      Thanks for dropping by! I sounds like the physical dress up playing you did with your sister built so many memories! I doubt that electronic dress up games will do that for kids… somehow playing house, barbies, etc leads to so much more fun! 🙂

      Have a good day!

  3. Gaylene Nepia October 25, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Hi Marlaine,

    My grand-daughters love playing dress up, it keeps them entertained for hours. There are some great ideas in your post, especially the magnetic dress up and the photo shoot. With the Christmas holidays just around the corner, these will go down well with the girls … and boys too. Thanks for the post 🙂

    • Marlaine October 26, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      I’m a big fan of taking pictures of my kids during dress up play! There’s something about a child looking at a photo of himself or herself in a funny dress up costume that they just LOVE, isn’t there? It often sparks yet another round of dress up play!
      Glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for dropping by!

  4. Summerly November 12, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    I remember playing dress up with my sister and friends when we were younger, we even got their brothers to dress up in high heels lol. Reading this post brought back good memories like the game you mentioned “let’s pretend we’re…” I forgot all about that but it was one of the games we played all the time, and has so many ideas to choose from. I like the relay race idea for dress up, does sound like a good bday game.

    • Marlaine November 12, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      Thanks for chiming in, Summerly! So glad you enjoyed reading about non-screen dress up games. Imaginations are powerful things for kids!

  5. James Kelly February 5, 2017 at 5:10 am

    A very interesting and amusing article on dress up games for girls which brought back vivid memories of our youngest daughter when she was a child. In those days her favorite female singer was Cindi Lauper and my daughter would pretend to be her by dressing up in similar fashion to her and singing her songs with a skipping rope end as a pretend microphone! My wife and I had many laughs over that!


    • Marlaine February 6, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Wow! My own 4 year old girl does the same thing with HER skipping rope (ok, not Cindi Lauper) – there must be something about skipping ropes that says “microphone” to little girls! 🙂
      Thanks for commenting, James! I love hearing about people’s memories of dress up play!

  6. Angie April 28, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Haha it felt like you were describing my childhood! I’ve done pretty much everything on your list! It’s such an important thing to do, to dress up and role play – it will make you more social as you grow up, it will help you find your goals faster, and it will make you fun to hang out with, since you know how to “get in a character” and make people laugh.
    Parents, encourage your kids to dress up and role play, I cannot stress enough how important and helpful it is for their future!

    • Marlaine April 28, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      Well said, Angie!! Couldn’t have summarized the importance of dramatic play better myself! 🙂 Have a lovely day!

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