Dress-Up Time

Hello parents and teachers of young children! And my valuable 2.5 readers 😉

If you’re reading this then I have a question for you.

Would you give up your dress up costumes in favour of only scarves?

Here’s the back story.  Last year, I moved to a new preschool with different supplies and equipment. The  culture of past teaching philosophies was alive in the materials collected there.  There were some things that I knew didn’t fit with my philosophy of early learning so I removed them right away.  There were some things I was really excited to find and still appreciate greatly.  Other things I have kept for awhile to try out but I am slowly paring down to the really  important toys and equipment that support my teaching philosophy.  The glow of some of the new items has faded.

We had a lot of costumes. Princess dresses and animal suits, an astronaut costume and ambulance driver shirts. The one thing about them that frustrated me a little was that the children could not put them on by themselves and continually asked for help with doing so.  The costumes do have the ‘cute factor’ but beyond that what purpose do they serve?

I view preschool as the child’s world and in that world, the children have the power and ability to make and do things independently.  When they step into preschool they step into that world where everything is open to them and everything is successful for them (at least as much as possible).  So when they need help with zippers and buttons and mixed up arms and legs in the full suit costumes and I wonder why we are doing all this.  The children get lots of practice with zippers and buttons and snaps and velcro when they put on their clothes to go outside or change when they come indoors so extra practice doesn’t feel necessary for me.  Plus one costume always seems more desirable than others.  Everyone wants to be the dog!

I decided to take out all the costumes and left only scarves.

The benefits are:

  1. They can put the scarves on themselves.
  2. The scarves are plentiful so everyone can have one or two
  3. There is no one highly desired item that everyone must wait for
  4. They must use their imaginations for what they will become when they dress up
  5. The scarves seem to promote more movement and dancing


I am curious to see how many different roles they will take on with just the scarves available.  Will they still become astronauts or doctors or emergency workers?  Will they still become princesses or dogs or cats?  I think the answer will be yes!

What do you think about costumes as dress-ups?  Would you remove all your costumes in favour of scarves?  Why or why not?


11 thoughts on “Dress-Up Time

  1. I’m not a teacher, but I am mom to seven and know preschoolers. For the most part, I agree with your assessment of costumes. Currently, I have two in the preschool age group and their dress up bag has a few large (easy to put on tunics), a two tutu’s, lots of accessories, and half a dozen scarves. Everything we have is fairly open-ended and completely functional for little ones to use on their own. Playthings that require adult help defeat their own purpose. So….yes, I would go to only scarves.

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  2. Just scarves of various colors sounds like a perfect solution. I’m sure the kids will come up with many imaginative costumes with them. Keep the real costumes in the box, and then if you don’t feel the need to open it for months on end, you’ll have your answer!

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