It is 3:00 and you are getting ready to go to the grocery store. You go to tell your child to get their shoes on and find them trying out a combination of Lilo and Stitch Hoodie with sparkly pajama pants. They want this outfit, combined with cat ears and unicorn slippers, to be their fashion statement as you go to buy bread, milk, and eggs. Congratulations! You are raising a fashionista! An interest in clothing, dressing up, and combining patterns (as mind boggling as they may be) is a great way for your child to express their individuality and to practice executive functioning skills like flexibility, time management, and organization. Instead of commanding them to don more sensible clothing, use one of the following apps and games to help this skill bloom as well as provide practice with many real-world skills. Here are three apps and one game for the littlest fashionista in your life.
For kids who love to play with wigs or makeup, or are just starting to learn how to bathe themselves, Toca Hair Salon 4 is a great app to use. Your child can create a character who looks just like them and then, using a variety of real-life tools, straighten, color, wash, blowdry, and cut their avatar’s hair. The full purchase of the app also allows your child to play around with makeup such as eyeshadow, rouge, and lipstick. But this app isn’t just for playing around; being able to “play” at washing and maintaining your hair can be a powerful step for children who are just gaining their own sense of autonomy. Also, if your child is dreading their first haircut, letting them play around on this app might be a good way to prepare them for what to expect at the salon/barber shop.
Toca Hair Style 4 is available for iOS and Android Some features may require in-app purchases.
For The Ultimate Fashion Coordinator: Combyne
If your child loves to combine colors, patterns, or really loves planning out what to wear, Combyne is a great way for them to plan out their outfits and save them digitally. Your child can pull from a large database of clothes, participate in styling challenges, and save outfits in different categories such as “Party Clothes” or “School Outfits.” Wallpapers and other stickers can also be added to the background to make a whole cohesive concept. The creation of all these outfits can really help your child practice their flexibility skills, helping them try new things and begin the process of dressing themselves.
Combyne requires a user to be 16 and over to sign up for Combyne, so for younger children, adult supervision with the app is recommended. Combyne is available for free on iOS and Android.
For The Kid Who Wants to Fight Evil With Fashion: Shining Nikki
If your child also wants to play a game while making their own fashion combinations, Sparkling Nikki combines outfit creation with a story about going back in time to save a world on the brink of destruction. Nikki doesn’t remember how she traveled back in time but she does know that competing in styling battles is the way she is going to prevent the destruction of Miraland, the beautiful world that she remembers. The game has several different styling themes and each battle focuses on a different theme, helping your child with their organization and planning skills.
Sparkling Nikki is available for free on iOS and Android but in-app purchases are available. Because of some mild fantasy violence and alcohol or tobacco references, this game is rated for children ages 12 and over. Parents are encouraged to know the rating systems for games and consider them when choosing games for their individual children. Read more about this here.
For the Kid Who Wants To Create Their Own Designs: Prete a Template
If your child is seriously interested in fashion design, Prete a Template will allow them to design everything from clothing to shoes to backpacks. This app provides mannequin men, women, children, and even pets to design clothing for. Pre-loaded designs for clothing, shoes, and bags can also be used to accompany original work. All designing by the user is done through a stylus, so this app is best used on an iPad or tablet. Once the outfit is complete, it can be saved to the app or exported. Prete a Template is a great way for your child to explore a potential career field, but also learn focusing and self-awareness skills. Because this app is not as user-friendly as the others, it can take perseverance to feel comfortable with utilizing all of the tools and understanding how to translate something from their mind onto the screen.
Prete a Template has some free features but a monthly subscription is required to unlock all features. It is currently available on iOS.
What apps or games does your child like to use for dress up or fashion play? Share with us in the comments below!