Hair and Beauty Salon Pretend Play

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I like to organize pretend play into 5 Ps — Prepare, Picture Books, Props, Plan and Play, to give your child the information and props for playing Beauty Salon.

When you use the Ps, you’ll see rich, longer play scenarios.

Before you say, “Why don’t you go play beauty shop?”, take a second, teach some vocabulary, read a picture book, add some props and then you can say, “Why don’t you go play beauty shop?”

Beauty Salon Pretend Play

It will be worth it because this kind of mature play will help kids:

  • work at a higher level of mental function and extend the mind’s capacity
  • gain independence
  • learn new concepts
  • monitor their own behavior (self-regulation)
  • improve self-talk
  • improve reading and writing skills
  • improve interpersonal skills
  • improve motor skills

(Bodrova & Leong, 2007)

Beauty Salon Pretend Play


Give your child a haircut at a salon, barber shop or in the kitchen! This is a great way to introduce new words like appointment, schedule, snip, trim, bangs, blow out, style, eye shadow, blush, lipstick, tip, stylist, and makeup artist.

Watch a haircut video.

Teach your child how to braid using ribbons, yarn or doll hair. Yes, even boys – it’s great for fine motor skill development.

Picture Book:

Read a book about getting your hair cut like My Haircut, Charlie and Lola Sticker Stories or Big Bouffant by Kate Hosford.

Beauty Salon Pretend Play


Gather as many beauty shop supplies and props as you can — spray bottles, combs, brushes, clips, bows, (blow dryer for older kids only – watch the heat), mirrors, makeup, dolls, magazines, chairs, paper and pencil, a phone, and curlers.


Talk about a beauty shop play set up and role play plan before starting. This will help the play be organized and thoughtful. Set up your area: Do you need a schedule book? a waiting room? magazines? pictures of hair and makeup on the walls? What about roles? Who will do what? Who will be the stylist? Get this planned out. (I LOVE when I’m customer because I can always use a good kid styling but it’s even more fun when daddy gets to be the customer. He, he.)


Now your child is ready for mature, beauty salon pretend play! (The more children playing, the better the dialogue, rules, roles and interpersonal skill building.)

** Tools of the Mind by Elena Bodrova and Deborah Leong has a great table defining the difference between mature and immature play. (page 145)

+ Write and Draw:

“Beautifying”  by JJ

Beauty Salon Pretend Play

Also see: Delightful Picture Books That Celebrate Hair

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  1. We love to play beauty shop here. It was one of the only ways I made it through bed rest during my last pregnancy!

  2. Awesome idea!!! Just the inspiration I needed for spring break & my 6 year old!!
    Thank you very much.

  3. What I love about pretend play like this is that when your kids are used to it, you can just swing into a role and they’re automatically swept up into the drama. “Would madam like blue or pink extensions today?” “I think I’ll have purple. And my nails must match!”

  4. There’s a new picture book out “Big Bouffant,” by Kate Hosford, which complements this post!

  5. we found a great kit that included a blow dryer, flat iron and other stuff. It’s one of the favorite playthings in the house.