Dressing up is synonymous with childhood, right?
(If I had a thesis to write on child development, this might be an area that I could get lost in…) Simply put, dressing up helps children develop something called ‘theory of mind’ or understanding that someone else thinks and feels differently than you do. It’s a foundation block for all sorts of good things like empathy and compassion and kindness. Pretend play forces children to think about one thing in myriad ways… e.g. when Martha picks up her legos to make a phone call, she’s shifted gears to believe that her legos are a telephone… That same ability will come into play one day when she has to recognize that her brother might be sad about going to school even though she loves it. Or something like that.
So back to dressing up… nowadays there are HUNDREDS of options out there. Pick a character and you can buy a costume for it. And we have PLENTY of these prefab numbers: tutus and princess dresses and superhero capes.
But, here’s my #wednesdayplayday challenge to you… next time you’re getting rid of that cocktail dress with the merlot stain or, ahem, swinging through the thrift store… keep an eye out for some non-specific dress-up options for your kids.
Eleanor LOVES herself a princess costume and will often show up for dinner wearing one frilly dress or another. But she’s not really having to pretend or use her imagination to her full capacity if the costume has already sort of dictated her ‘role’ right?
I mean, she’s plenty imaginative as a princess… but… this scarf I brought home from Goodwill? Well, it’s been a cape, an apron, a belt, a blanket and a tablecloth in the last week.
This jacket has been a train conductor, a superhero, a Daddy and Mary Poppins.
Lots of these have been iterations on some aspect of Frozen… That’s Anna. Or Elsa. One of them.
Things that I look for are: scarves (obvy), hats, and sparkly tank tops. Tank tops are better for kids because you can tie the straps and make them fit… most dresses are too long. Lingerie… yeah, I know that’s weird, but it’s lacy and little and usually sort of interesting to children because it’s so different from anything in their own closet. (And if not… then that’s cool too, no judgment of your 3 year old’s teddy here.)
Some days are dress-up days around here: (Skateboarding…)
And some days are more costume days.
Either way… I have a whole file of pictures to bring out for a 16th birthday and/ or their weddings! What are your favorite dress ups? Check that… What are your favorite dress ups FOR YOUR KIDS?
(More #wednesdayplay posts here!)
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