Dress up play isn’t just fun for preschoolers, it’s an important activity that offers kids a chance to use their imaginations, build vocabulary skills and gain confidence.
Dress up play is a fun activity for little kids, it’s also a very important one, helping them build up their vocabulary as well as their confidence.
Why Dress Up Play?
There is a reason why you’ll find a box of dress up play clothing in many early years classrooms. Teachers know that when kids use their imaginations, they also are working on other important educational, creative and social experiences.
Role playing, especially when it happens with other children, encourages taking turns, cooperation and socialization. Children that allow their imaginations to run wild become great problem solvers as adults. Creative thinking grows with use and practice. Trying to figure out how to rescue dolls from the villan doesn’t seem important to us, to the child, it’s an issue that has to be figured out immediately.
How to Encourage Dress Up Play
First, make sure you have plenty of supplies. Keep everything handy and in a central location. Ask your child what he wants to be when he grows up? Encourage her to act it out, drawing out details. Don some of the clothing yourself. Most preschoolers won’t need too much encouragement for their natural creativity to bloom.
Collect the Costumes
Store bought costumes are great for dress up play. They feature some of your preschooler’s favorite characters! They can act out scenarios using familiar settings and even sing songs they see on television or read in books. After Halloween sales are a great opportunity!
Don’t underestimate the fun of using items from your own home as dress up play materials. Mom’s old dresses, dad’s shoes and ties are all great items for the imagination. But just about anything works. Check your closet or local thrift shop for:
• towels (attach to a shirt to make a cape)
• glasses with the lenses removed
• costume jewelry
• plastic colander (makes a good hat or helmet)
• emptied perfume bottles
• old bags like briefcases and small luggage
• hospital scrubs
• tutus or dance costumes
The list is never-ending and ever-changing, so update and add as you like. Gather everything together, wash it if you need to and keep it in a central location, maybe in an old trunk or suitcase. Keep it in the playroom or bedroom for easy access.
The best part about open-ended play is that there is no right or wrong.