DIY Australian Book Week Costume Ideas

Need some help creating a Book Week costume for your child? We've put together some of our favourite costume ideas for preschoolers, inspired by a few of our favourite Australian authors.

Book week is almost here, and little bookworms across the country are itching to get their craft on and design the perfect outfit to celebrate their favourite storybooks. Creating a costume can be a headache for parents, scratching their heads trying to think of the ideal outfit to make that won’t cost the earth. Still, it doesn't have to be so hard or expensive. Creating the perfect whimsical outfit for your little learner can be fun and an excellent way to work together and get creative.

At Genius, we like to read with our little geniuses at every opportunity. Reading to little ones supports cognitive development, improves language skills, expands imagination and creativity and develops a special bond. Creating an Australian book week costume is another opportunity to strengthen that special bond with your child. So the time has come to get out the craft basket, the hot glue gun and the dress-up box.

We are spoilt for choice in Australia with a pleather of exceptional children's authors. Think Mem Fox, Graeme Base, Aaron Blabey and Nick Bland, just to name a few. With great titles like Possum Magic, Where is the Green Sheep, Uno's Garden, The Eleventh Hour, Thelma the Unicorn, PIG the PUG and The Very Cranky Bear, such stunning stories invite a great list of characters to create a spectacular homemade costume.

We have created a simple list of popular book week costumes to make from easy-to-find materials that will appeal to all little bookworms. Take a look below!

The Very Cranky Bear & PIG the Pug by Nick Bland & Aaron Blabey

The Very Cranky Bear and PIG the Pug costumes are the perfect way to celebrate the extraordinary talents of two of our most accomplished Australian authors. Outfits have never been more straightforward to create, even if you are not the crafty type. For The Very Cranky Bear and PIG, the Pug, dress your little learner in brown pants or leggings with a brown or beige jumper. To complete the look, brown socks for paws; if you're feeling particularly artistic, use your hot glue gun to glue beige circles onto the socks for realistic paw digits. For the face, you can print bear or pug masks off the internet, colour them in, attach a string and voila, you have PUG the Pig or a very cranky bear right before your eyes.

Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey

Thelma the Unicorn is a beautiful tale teaching all little ones to love who they are. The theme within this narrative educates little geniuses about what matters in life and magically takes them on a journey of self-exploration. Bring Thelma to life with a pink t-shirt or jumper and pink leggings or pants. To add some Thelma sparkle, piece together some silver streamers you can pick up from your local party supplier and tape together to create a sparkly tail. Fasten the tail with a clip or safety pin. Four hoofs are grey or silver card attached to hands and feet with elastic. You can purchase unicorn headbands at a department store or easily create your own with a cone of cardboard glued onto a headband. Your little learner can decorate the unicorn horn with glitter, sequins and paints.

Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox

Where is the Green Sheep is a playful and fun narrative taking children on a journey to find the green sheep. Mem Fox cleverly narrates the exploration of diversity through different coloured sheep through this good, humoured storey of discovering the green sheep. This costume is one of the most straightforward and recognisable to create with head-to-toe green clothing, cardboard and paint, transforming your little one into The Green Sheep. On a large piece of green cardboard, paint your woolly sheep, complete with a head and a furry body. Creating the ‘woolly' look is simple: paint swirls onto the body, or stick painted cotton balls or green glitter. You could even use two pieces of cardboard for the front and back of the sheep. Next, fasten the ribbon around the top of your green sheep for your child to slip their arms into to wear their green sheep. If your child does not want to be a green sheep, choose another coloured sheep from the story, there are plenty to choose from!

Uno’s Garden & The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base

Graeme Base is a rock star amongst children's authors. These magical tales have pages and pages of the most imaginative illustrations with endless opportunities for a book week outfit! Your child may want to dress as 'Uno' from Uno's Garden. To do this, cut the toe of a socking and place it over their head like a beanie for Uno's bald head. Dress your little learner in a brown or beige t-shirt and shorts and give them a small plant to hold; hey presto, you have brought Uno to life! The Eleventh Hour has pages of mystical animals you can create at home. It may be Horace, the elephant with a pantyhose filled with stuffing for the trunk, the pig as a pirate, the zebra as a punk, or the Rhino as an astronaut in a space suit made of junk.

Magic Beach by Alison Lester

Alison Lester holds a special place in many of our hearts, and this book is one of her most iconic. It also provides a rich territory for inspiring children’s costumes! You could start with one of the beachy creatures mentioned – crabs, fish, seahorses + sharks – or if you little one feels like being a bit more abstract try a camp fire, treasure box or ocean costume! These can all be brought to life with dressing your child within the relevant colour palette, and then adding some accessories like a cardboard mask/tail/headpiece to complete the picture.

This Book Week, don't stress about creating a complex costume. Use some of these simple ideas that will delight your child and help create some special memories with them along the way!

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