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Encourage pretend play with creative dress-up costumes

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

15 Irresistible girls' dress-up ideas

Imaginative play helps children develop their vocabulary, problem-solve and express their feelings. Plus, it's a ton of fun. Stock your daughter's dress-up bin with a variety of costumes, like the ones you see here, and let the pretend play begin.

1. Awesome astronaut

Space camp

Photo credit: Mommy Testers

The space suit may be from Costume Express, but this mom's homespun version of Space Camp is the stuff Pinterest dreams are made of. Find out how Jillian of Mommy Testers turned an ordinary summer day into a creative mother-daughter bonding experience right here.

2. Spiffy superhero

Superhero

Photo credit: Skirt as Top

Girl power! Your little superhero will be ready to take on the world with a custom cape. Check out the step-by-step tutorial on the Skirt as Top blog.

3. Pretty princess wand

Princess wand

Photo credit: Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles

Every fairy princess needs a magic wand. This DIY magic princess wand from Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles is super simple to make.

4. Cute cowgirl

Cute cowgirl

Photo credit: Rookie Moms

This cowgirl outfit isn't just cute. It's super practical — because it's put together with adorable items your daughter can wear out in public. Yee-haw to that.

5. Hip hula girl

Hip hula girl

Photo credit: The Gold Jellybean

Would you believe this hula skirt is made from a brown paper grocery bag? Get the full tutorial for this award-winning hula girl costume at The Gold Jellybean.

6. Darling doctor

Darling doctor

Photo credit: Mingo and Grace

If your daughter can't get enough Doc McStuffins, she'll love this diminutive doctor's costume. Get all the DIY details on the Mingo and Grace blog.

7. Must-have mermaid skirt

30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial

Photo credit: girl. Inspired.

Give your mermaid-obsessed girl her very own mermaid tail with this 30-minute mermaid skirt tutorial from girl. Inspired. Be forewarned. She may never want to take it off.

8. Crafty crown

Crafty crown

Photo credit: We Wilsons

If you know your way around a sewing machine, you'll have no problem stitching up these dress-up crowns. Use the tutorial on We Wilsons as a guide, and get creative with whatever fabric, ribbons and trimmings you have on hand.

9. Hand-tied tutu

Hand-tied tutu

Photo credit: The Pinning Mama

Need a tutu for your toddler? This no sew tutu tutorial from The Pinning Mama is for us moms who don't know a bobbin from a backstitch.

10. DIY Dorothy dress

DIY Dorothy dress

Photo credit: girl. Inspired.

You could buy a polyester Dorothy dress from the racks, or you might want to whip up this adorable version from girl. Inspired. yourself. Lose the ruby red slippers and Toto basket and it does double duty as an adorable summer dress.

11. Poster board princess hat

Princess hat

Photo credit: J and O Fabrics

Poster board, fabric and glue are all you need to make this regal hat. Well, that plus all the sequins, jewels and ribbons your little princess desires. Get the DIY details at J and O Fabrics.

12. DIY dinosaur tails

DIY dinosaur tails

Photo credit: Running with Scissors

There may be three little boys modeling these dinosaur tails, but we know plenty of girls who enjoy a little prehistoric play too. Velcro straps make it easy to transform into a dinosaur or dragon faster than you can say RAWR!

13. Sweet snail

Snail costume

Photo credit: Oh Happy Day

The next time your daughter says she's bored, enlist her help in creating the ultimate... snail costume. We're pretty sure she'll be the only one on the block with a backpack-style snail shell in her dress-up closet. Full instructions can be found on Oh Happy Day.

14. Petite pirate

Petite pirate

Photo credit: girl. Inspired

Shredded pants? Check. Faux leather vest? Check. Striped pirate beanie? Oh yes. This little pirate costume has it all. Throw in a clip-on gold hoop and she'll be ready to order her big brother to walk the plank.

15. Junior Jedi

Junior Jedi

Photo credit: Inchmark

Fleece, felt and some some long underwear from Target turned this little girl into Princess Leia from Star Wars. More precisely, the costume was born from a request to be "Princess Leia, but not when she's wearing a dress... like when she's a fighter." Mission accomplished. More details on the blog Inchmark.

More ideas for mother daughter bonding

5 Simple ways to connect with your kids each day
5 Tips for your first mother-daughter pedicure
How to start a mother-daughter book club

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