Imaginations are stimulated by pretend play, like dressing up.

Why do it?

  • Pretending to be someone else helps children make sense of their world and other people.
  • They can try out different roles.
  • This activity can give children opportunities to be creative and explore characters.
  • Children can work through situations that are worrying them, such as a visit to the doctor.
  • Dressing up gives them practice at dressing and undressing.
  • Helps tamariki make good use of their imagination 
wig and glasses
wig and glasses

How to do it

Use whatever you have: Funny clothes, glasses, scarves, hats, hairstyles and makeup for the tamariki to choose from. 

  1. Get dressed: Take turns choosing clothing for each other.
  2. Style your hair with a hat, hair gel, or hair ties.
  3. Add funny makeup, a scar, freckles or a moustache!


  • Choose a new name. Talk in funny voices. Make a dress up box!
  • Ask tamariki who they are being and what else they need for their role.
  • Act out familiar stories or events, such as legends about people like Māui, tales such as ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, or more modern stories with heroes like Superman.
  • Encourage them to think creatively. Ask them what they could use to ‘invent’ props to add to their play — for example, Māui’s waka or the Batmobile.
  • Make animal ‘ears’ using cardboard or paper. Tape the ears to a headband or make a circle of cardboard and staple the ears on.
  • Make tails with pieces of fabric, or a leg cut from an old pair of pantyhose and stuffed with scraps of material. Tuck it into the back of their pants or tie it to a piece of elastic that fits around their waist.
  • Encourage them to put on a show for whānau. 

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English