World Book Day (March 1) is a celebration of every aspect of reading – from authors and illustrators, to books and readers. Over 100 countries across the world join in the event, often with schools offering children the chance to go to school dressed as their favourite character. If your kids are into all things STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), then this is the perfect opportunity for them to step into the boots of their favourite scientist, techie, engineer or mathematician and role-play their way through the day.
To make a doctor or surgeon’s outfit, find an oversized kid’s T-shirt or a small adult’s T-shirt in turquoise. Trim the T-shirt to size – if it’s an adult T-shirt you may have to cut length off the bottom. Team with a matching pair of trousers or leggings. Using any excess material from the T-shirt, or other scrap material you have, sew a simple surgeon’s scrub hat. Finish with a kid’s toy stethoscope, and a doctor’s kit bag if there’s one in the playroom.
An adult’s white shirt will work well for this mathematician’s get up. Use one that you’ve finished with and don’t mind cutting off the sleeves and length of the shirt so that it fits. You may want to roll the sleeves up to make them tidier, and sew or tack a basic hem along the bottom of the shirt. Wear over normal clothes and finish with the biggest pair of spectacles you can find.
Everyone loves a mad scientist costume. Find a shirt that your kid has grown out of – so that the buttons don’t quite do up and it looks a little ill-fitting. Wear a vest underneath. Roll up the sleeves and pop a scientific looking instrument in the pocket if you have one. A bow tie is essential, along with a fake moustache – you could paint one on with face paint. Now, for the hair. The messier the better with plenty of hair gel and backcombing. Now add a few smudges of black makeup to look like smoke from experiments gone wrong. Round off with the silliest pair of glasses you can find.
Make a cut-out cardboard star or paint one onto your kid’s bike helmet. If you have an adult’s motorbike helmet lying around, this will also work well and add humour. Dress them in their favourite get-up-and-go clothes, or white top and trousers with a puffy gilet if they want to look like they’re in a space suit. Make a rocket booster pack from recycled materials, strap it on, and off they go.
The trickiest bit of this costume will be sourcing that hat – and that hat really does make it so it may be a worthwhile investment for the dressing up box. Alternatively, source khaki material, wrap around a cap and secure with string or black ribbon. Now, accessorise: a khaki shirt or t-shirt, a rock-pooling net and a knapsack. A giant magnifying glass and an old-fashioned camera will set this off nicely. If you don’t have the latter, then take a cardboard tea box, paint it black and then cut a circle of white paper to stick on the front for a lens. Attach more black ribbon for a camera strap. Print off a few RSPB spotting sheets to hand out to friends, and we think your kid might win a prize for this one.
Jessica Adams is a writer, yoga teacher and mother of two. She has over nine years’ experience of raising boys and a lifelong love of learning, play and creativity.