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
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.
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 shopping
- 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
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
Most 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.)
Kids 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!
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!
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.
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?