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Clothes can be talked about in all your daily routines

  • Putting on hats and shoes when going out.
  • Getting dressed in the morning.  Give a choice of different outfits for the day.
  • Putting clothes away – you can talk about whose shoes they belong to. ‘Dad shoes’

Word List - Early acquisition

belt, bib, boots, button, coat, dress, jumper, hat, nappy, pyjamas, pants, shirt, shoes, shorts, socks

Download a take-home word list below.

Play Themes

There are daily opportunities to practice clothing vocabulary when getting dressed.  You can use both kids clothes and doll clothes during your play. 

Here are some ideas for play themes to encourage clothing related vocabulary.

1. Washing the clothes

Lots of toddlers love to help using pegs to hang out the washing. This is a great way to repeat shirt/sock etc. You can also make a toy ‘washing machine’ out of a big box and put the dolls clothes in it to wash.

2. Getting dressed

Teddy can be bathed and dressed with his clothes. You can use lots of Barbie sized clothes and shoes or larger sized clothes for teddies or larger baby dolls.

3. Magnetic dress up sets

There are lots of magnetic or paper books with characters to dress up . You can dress up a fireman, ballerina etc and practice your target words as you change them around.

4. Costumes

Get out the ‘dress ups’ box and have fun trying on funny hats, glasses or costumes.

Toys I Love at Kmart

Magnetic Activity
Dolls Clothes
Barbie clothes

Downloads & Worksheets

Kids Books

We have listed our best books about clothes here starting with the easier books for younger children.

  • Lulu’s Clothes is a tactile book with zips to pull and flaps to lift.  As Lulu gets dressed you can repeat words like – coat, shoes, hat.  Recommended for babies just learning new words.  Words to Try – coat, shoes, hat, zip.
  • Buster Gets Dressed is another book for babies and toddlers.  The Rod Campbell series has wonderfully simple line drawings suited to younger children learning words.  You can repeat words like shirt or phrases like shirt on.   Words to Try – shirt, pants, socks, shoes.
  • Let’s Get Dressed. Another very simple board book for babies from 6 months.  Lots of textures to feel on each page making it more interesting.  However, it’s still great for all those clothing words.  Words to Try – slippers, jacket, brush.
  • Hippo Has a Hat.  This is a colourful rhyming book with each animal wearing a piece of clothing.  Cat wears a cardigan,  hippo has a hat, zebra has a zip and a centipede wears shoes.  You can either practice the clothing words shoes, hat  or phrases like hippos hat,  zebras zip.   Words to Try – cardigan, hat, zip, shoes.
  • Maisy’s Favourite Clothes. We love all of Lucy Cousins books.  The repetition and simple pages are great for toddlers and young preschoolers.  You can expand some of your phrases with this book.  eg  red dress,  favourite dress.   Words to Try – dress, dressing gown, pyjamas.
  • Charlie and Lola’s Clothes. This is a board book for toddlers.  Funny pictures about clothes which can lead to more vocabulary expansion.
  • Washing Line.  This is a funny book for children to work out which clothes belong to which animals?  Lift the flaps to find out.  You can use some nice phrases like ‘Who’s underpants?’  or ‘mouse’s dress?  A repetitive book for toddlers.   Words to Try – underpants, scarf, dress.
  • Doing the Washing.  Another great way to learn about clothes is to talk about the laundry.  Hanging up the clothes is a good way to reinforce all those clothing words.  Your child can hand you the pegs as you put the washing out and you label the item.  In this classic book, there is a nice sequence for preschoolers to follow through – collecting dirty clothes, putting soap in, hanging them out to dry.
  • Mrs McNosh Hangs Up her Wash.  This is a delightful, colourful book about a lady hanging up her clothes.  However, she also hangs up her newspaper, her phone etc.  A book for preschoolers to expand vocabulary and talk about what’s funny in the book.  Why don’t you hang up the newspaper?  What is wrong with this picture?   Words to Try – shirt, dress, stockings, shoes.
  • Getting Dressed Sticker book (Usborne). There are lots of sticker books available for dressing up characters.  What a great way to learn new vocabulary!  She’s wearing her yellow shirt.  He has a red shirt.   There are lots of magnetic dress up scenes or boards.  Sometimes these can be girl-oriented which therefore restricts the range of clothes to talk about.  (Although this Melissa and Doug magnetic toy also has a fireman and policeman set too).  As they are reusable it makes for a great way to reinforce new words over and over!   Words to Try – shirt, dress, skirt, hat.