Are you among the many who are going thru their closets and donating hats, jewelry, and clothes that you don’t need? If you have children or grandchildren, consider keeping some of those clothes and extra accessories for your children to use. Research show that playing dress up isn’t just fun for kids, it’s an important activity where they use their imaginations, build vocabulary skills, gain confidence, and more. With dress-up play, a child can be anyone she likes, from a superhero to a doctor, a princess, a baker, or a fashion model.
Dramatic dress-up play is role-playing and storytelling that helps children develop ideas about how the world works. When they strap on a tool belt, they are trying to figure out what it’s like to be a construction worker. Or if they put on your high heels and skirt and grab some props like a purse and a doll, they are acting out what they think it’s like to be a business professional or a mommy.
Dress-up play encourages interaction and communication with others. Kids learn to negotiate in this way, to collaborate, take turns, and create and play by the rules. There is also research that has linked role play to empathy. Kids who engaged in it were more skilled in judging how other people might feel than those who didn’t role play as much.
One of the big – and most obvious – aspects of dress-up play is that it uses a child’s limitless imagination. By imagining themselves to be someone different, a child develops their creativity. Using different things in new ways – pretending a piece of cardboard is a sword, a colander is a hard hat, and a long skirt tied at the bottom is a mermaid’s tail – flexes those imagination muscles.
And imagining yourself as a superhero is a way to feel powerful in a world where everyone seems to be controlling the agenda and telling you what to do and how to do it. Think about how contributing your clothes to a child in your life might spark their imagination! How amazing is that?
Something to Think About
When children are in their own little make-believe world, they can feel safe enough to explore their emotions. They can use dress-up play to make sense of the world by acting out and working through an experience they have had. For example, if your daughter pretends her PJs are a doctor’s scrubs and checks her doll’s heartbeat using a pretend stethoscope, she might be reliving something a bit scary that she has experienced in real life. Pay attention to these situations because a child’s dress-up role playing can be a window into their mind and give you clues to what might be bothering them.
Be encouraging of others his week. Promote play time.
Words of Wisdom
I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. – Albert Einstein
Everything you can imagine is real. – Pablo Picasso
Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere. – Albert Einstein
I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death. – Robert Fulghum
Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create. – Maria Montessori