My youngest daughter loves to dress up. On any given day she is a fairy, a princess, Santa Claus, a jewelry thief, a princess fairy ballerina or whatever her imagination creates that day. She can hone in on a dress-up closet with the precision and accuracy of a blood hound. If your little one also doesn’t think an outfit is complete without a tutu, a crown or a cape, they will love these play areas where they can transform into anything or anyone.
2100 Patriot Blvd, Glenview
Kohl Children’s Museum allows kids to become anything they want: a veterinarian, a shopkeeper, a doctor. While they don’t have a dedicated dress-up area, each exhibit houses costumes children can play with. The bookstore also has a small stage area with some costumes.
Make sure to also check out Monthly Make Believe Day, held on the last Tuesday of the month. It’s all about dress-up fun and imagination, centered around a theme. February’s theme is Planes, Trains & Automobiles and March’s theme is Storybook Day. On Monthly Make Believe Day you can receive one child admission if you bring in canned food or clothing items to donate. Your little actors and actresses will also love the weekly Theater Games, held Thursdays at 1:30 p.m.
27277 N Forest Preserve Rd, Wauconda
The Lake County Discovery Museum will allow children to dress up like animals in the Children’s Learning Gallery or experience life in the past at the Growing up in Lake County exhibit.
801 N. Main Street, Wauconda
Libraries are the perfect place to fuel imaginations. The Wauconda Area Library is one of our favorite libraries for imaginary play. Kids can grab all sorts of hats and dress up. They can even pretend to fly an airplane!
505 N. Northwest Highway, Barrington
The Barrington Area Library has a stage for puppet play and dress-up that is perfect for little performers.
814 Hart Rd., Round Lake
The Children’s Neighborhood Museum is located inside the Round Lake Area Park Districts Rolek Community Center. It’s a hidden gem in Lake County! It’s filled with tot-sized buildings including a fire department and a gas station. They have a stage with an extensive dress-up area that lets children put on shows and become whoever they want to be. Admission is $5 per child and is capped at 30 children. See website for daily hours.
430 Asbury Ave., Evanston
Located just south of Lake County, this play cafe is worth the trip for all the imaginative fun! There is a dress-up play area on the Little Beans side and on the Big Beans side. The Big Beans side houses a large stage with a vanity and plenty of accessories for your aspiring diva. Admission is $14 per child.