Dress Up Box

Dressing up encourages exploration and imagination, builds communication skills, boosts creativity, and is tons of fun!

Help kids bring favorite characters to life with a box filled with items to help them be as spooky, wacky, or silly as they like.

What you’ll need:

  • lengths of fabric of all kinds and colors
  • old sheets, tablecloths
  • old grown-up clothes
  • long scarves and belts
  • wigs
  • hats—occupational, decorative, functional
  • masks
  • accessories: bracelets, necklaces, eyeglass frames, sunglasses, baskets, handbags
  • one or more bins, boxes, or baskets


A dress-up box is not just a pile of fabrics, hats, and old clothes. When you put together a dress-up box, you’re providing raw materials that can become anything in any make-believe scenario your kids dream up.

As you gather items for your dress-up box, look for things that can be used by kids in a wide variety of open-ended play. Kids’ interests are ever-changing, so update the dress-up box frequently and add (or remove) items as needed or requested, or as your child makes them (see Seussational Hats, Halloween Hats, A Suitcase for All the Places You’ll Go!, and a Lorax Mustache)!

Laundry baskets make great dress-up boxes. They are portable, easy for kids to access, and inexpensive. Having two (or more) baskets makes it easier for kids to find what they want and provides sorting fun at clean-up time! Keep wigs, hats, and masks in one basket and fabric, clothes, and accessories in the other.

Dig into the dress-up box yourself to model how a length of fabric or tablecloth can be used as a dress, cape, hood, headscarf, and more! You can also show kids how the item might play the part of a blanket, curtain, or tent. Join in when your child tries to initiate a game with you, and show interest in your child’s world of pretend.