Quality Dress up for Magical Pretend Play

My preschooler loves to dress-up. Every day it’s a different tutu, or costume, or character, it’s like living with our own personal Fancy Nancy. Turns out that is a very good thing for preschooler’s developing minds. According to licensed child psychologist Dr. Laurie Zellinger, dress-up and pretend play “foster the imaginative processes, and allows for play without rules or script. Dress up allows for experimentation, role play and fantasy.”

benefits of dress up play

She lists the major benefits as:

  1. Social and Emotional skills
    Character play means that the child is “walking in someone else’s shoes.”
  2. Language Skills
    Pretend play requires children to invent and tell stories and since almost all children narrate their pretend play experiences, they train their minds to transform ideas into words.
  3. Self-control
    During pretend play, children have to take a role and play within those boundaries, especially when other kids are involved. Studies show that children control their impulses significantly better during pretend play than at other times.
  4. Problem Solving Sills
    Although kids may not always act logically during tough pretend dilemmas, the very process of problem solving becomes habitual. By practicing problem-solving in an artificial environment, kids are better prepared to think of creative solutions to their own real-life problems
  5. Self-esteem
    By giving your child complete control in their pretend world and accepting them as a silly character, you are enhancing their self-esteem.

We have built up a pretty large dress-up closet over the years (she is the third) and I have discovered that not all dress up is created equal.

GardenFairy1When you have a toddler or other impulsive child taking it on and off several hundred times a day you need quality material and reinforced seams. Many a costume in our dress up box have been ripped, stretched, have loose threads or have had velcro that stuck so strongly together it would rip the fabric before opening, or velcro so weak it doesn’t stay closed!

One of our favorite dresses, that has lasted through both my girls and all their friends happens to be a Great Pretenders dress that we got second hand. What I love is not just the quality of it but that it is not branded or marketed to look exactly like or be a specific princess, so my girls can make it into whatever and whoever they are at the time, my oldest used it to be Sleeping Beauty.


Great Pretenders asked me if I wanted to try one of their new designs and I was more than happy to. If you haven’t heard of Great Pretenders they have been around since 1989 and have collaborated with Potter Barn among others. We chose the Fairy Blossom costume for my oldest (size medium 5-6) The costume is gorgeous. Vibrant colors, shimmery organza and easy to put on, no zippers, velcro, hooks, snaps, etc.


It does run small. While it fit my oldest (who is in a size 6) it was tight and she didn’t like it, my three year old (seen in all the pictures) wears a size 4 and it was perfect for her.


My daughter loves it, she wants to wear it every day. I love that it durable, not marketed and not skimpy. While it has spaghetti straps the bodice provides good coverage and the skirt is not short at all. It’s perfect  for twirling and frolicking in the garden.


We will definitely be buying from them again, I am eyeing their cape sets for my little superhero for Christmas.

Do you have a dress up fan? What is there favorite character to dress up as?

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Disclosure: We were provided the resource for the benefits of pretend play and the costume in order to facilitate our review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


Dance academy of Libertyville
About Melissa Haak 842 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

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