Dress-up play allows little ones to unlock their creative side, opening a doorway to a whole new world when they can pretend to be whatever their heart desires. Playing dress-up help promotes independence and gives them better insight into developing self-care skills. Little ones who engage in dress-up playtime reflects on their personality and interests. Dress-up isn’t only for Halloween and should actually be incorporated on weekly playtime but little did we know, playing dress-up hold a tonne of benefits for little ones. Dress-up is an ideal way for young children to work on so many early childhood development skills such as literacies, life skills, and creative play. Let’s take a look at the beneficial side of playing dress-up.
Teaching your little one to get dressed all by themselves builds confidence and independence, throw in dress-up play and they’ll pick up the habit even faster and independently. As your little one learns to fasten buttons and zips, they’re also developing fine motor skills. As they play around in their costumes, be it a pretending to be pirate with a wooden leg or twirling like a ballerina; they develop gross motor skills. They may need help getting their costumes on at first but in time and if their interest persists, they will learn to get dressed in just about any costume or outfit all by themselves.
The world is a scary place, especially for little ones. Children are constantly experiencing scary situations, even when we try our best to shield them from it. It can take place at school, or even a scary movie can cause them stress; this, in turn, will cause a slow down on their emotional development. Playing dress-up can be a great way to rid their stress and fears away, by allowing children to act out their fears through dress-up and role-playing, we are helping their emotional development. For example, your little one is shaken up after watching a scary movie; have someone or yourself dress as the ghost or villain and have your little one to defeat the ‘bad guy’.
Unfolds Imagination & Creativity
Children’s imaginations are limitless, and have not yet been hardened and constrained by the realities of our harsh world. They aren’t constrained by what they know about the world; their minds can go anywhere. When children play dress-up, they root their imaginative stories in reality for a short while, giving them a chance to explore it more thoroughly. For example, if your little one dons a police hat, they are practicing helping people, community service and bravery. Children are naturally imitative creatures. They learn about the world by imitating the lives of the adults and others around them. Through dress-up and dramatic role-play, children explore the lives of other people by imitating their actions, feelings and words. Imaginative play in early childhood is the key to creative thinking during the adult years. When little ones engage in dress-up play, their imaginations are given free rein. There is no limit to who, where, or what they can be.
While there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules for gender identity, most people fall into typical categories. When little ones choose costumes and characters to be, they explore different gender identities and the behaviors of those characters. While boys often want to be superheroes, firemen, or pirates, and girls often want to be fairies and princesses, it is normal and healthy for children to try on different gender roles as they learn about the world. A child should never be ridiculed for pretending to be a different gender. Encourage them to try playing dress-up as their favorite character, be it the opposite gender of your little one.
When your little one is engaged in role-play, it helps them see the world through another’s eyes which increases empathy. When transforming into a different person while they play dress up, our little ones are allowing themselves to be in someone else’s shoes, to feel what this character is feeling, this increases empathy. Whether pretending to be a parent nurturing a baby, a doctor taking care of an injured patient, or a firefighter putting out a fire. Dramatic play helps children understand the role that helpers play in in our lives.
Dress-up play builds vocabulary as a little one decides what their character would say. It gives them a chance to expand their vocabularies with words and phrases that they might have heard in stories, but wouldn’t ordinarily use. Children may then begin to use these new words in conversations.