July 10, 2013

The Benefits of Playing Dress Up

Between dance lessons, soccer practice, and homework, sometimes it can be hard to give your child time to just play. While school and sports help develop a child’s education and physical wellness, studies show that play is equally important in their development. One activity that really lets their creativity flow is playing dress up. Kids dressing up during play has shown to have social, developmental, and emotional benefits.

Emotions and Social Skills

When a child plays dress up, they are suddenly able to be whoever they wish to be. The only limits they will encounter are those put in place by their own imaginations. They can explore real life careers and situations by reenacting a trip to the doctor or perhaps a firefighter heroically saving a family from a burning house. In this way a child can explore a situation that they have encountered, and work out why it is important. It also gives them a chance to express how the situation makes them feel, and by enacting out different roles, how it may make other people feel. This can help them develop the sometimes difficult-to-comprehend feeling of empathy. Along with empathy, playing dress up can develop social skills when playing with others. When another child joins in the play, both will have contributions to make to the story. They will need to learn to cooperate with each other for the play to remain fun, as well as sharing the pieces of the costumes and taking turns in certain desirable roles.

Imagination and Fun

Along with developmental skills, dress up employs the use of imagination. Imagination encourages creative thinking, giving them the tools to help problem solving. Through creative play, the child may begin to use words they found from television used by their favorite characters, and put them to use in real life to expand their vocabulary. Along with an expanding vocabulary, dress up encourages a child to learn to dress themselves. A parent can also take this as an opportunity to share the importance of putting everything away when they are finished playing. The pieces of costume are easier to find when put away in the right place, and less likely to become damaged.

While dress up has many developmental benefits, in the end, the most important element is fun. To provide awesome costumes for dress up play, you can either purchase ready-made outfits from various companies, find items from around the house, or a combination of the two. If you join in with your kids dressing up, you may be surprised how much fun you find yourself having too! 

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