I don’t think little guys play dress-up as much as they used to, because they’re so caught up in so many other kinds of activities. But dress-up can be an amazing window into imagination and creativity, and we really get into it with our voices, imaginations, and items around the house. It doesn’t take a lot of money or pre-planning to be all kinds of different people.
Pirates wear swords, hats, and earrings. Robin Hood’s costume is just a big men’s t-shirt, a sash made of rope or twine or fabric, tights, and bedroom slippers. Ninjas wear black long johns and black masks. Spelunkers need a headlamp and a cave—maybe behind the couch, with the cushions making the cave ceiling, or boxes with no ends. Mountain men clothes can be quickly sewn from inexpensive fabric scraps, and everyone knows how easy it is to make a toga!
This kind of play-acting training came in handy for my own son when he got into high school. He needed to do a project about Paul Revere, and he and his friends created a video presentation where one of them was Paul Revere on horseback, and the others came out from the “tavern” (our barn)—all in easy-to-make costumes.
I’m crazy about second-hand stores for perfect costume pieces. In October, just after Halloween, there are tons of unused costumes and extras, like fairy wands, cowboy stars, and much more. My grandson might say, “This gun doesn’t go with this era of pirates,” which adds one other layer of research and fun.