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Benefits of Dressing Up

Even though Halloween only lasts a day, the costumes don’t have to be put away right after. We know that “playing dress up” is a fun time for kids, where they can dress in elaborate costumes or pieces of clothing to pretend they are someone (or even something) else! Not only is this creative play a lot of fun, but did you know that it comes with a lot of benefits too? We should be encouraging our children to play dress up and step into new imaginative worlds as it is a fundamental part of child development. Here’s why:

Promotes creativity and the imagination

A child’s imagination has no end. There are no limits to what can be created in a child’s mind. They no not of limits or barriers that would stop them from anything, and it’s really a beautiful thing! Connections made are often a combination of reality and creative thinking.

Builds brain power

A lot more thought goes into dressing up play than you’d think. Children are using their memory to draw on what they have seen and heard. They remember how the person acts, reacts and behaves in general. They have to use this knowledge to respond to things how the person they are dressed up as would. For example, if they dress up as a doctor and find that their teddy bear is sick, what will he or she do to make him or her feel better? They will probably pretend to take a temperature, give medicine, patch up a wound, etc. As a space explorer, how does it feel stepping onto a new planet for the first time ever? What if you see an alien? A child would have to think how the explorer would feel and act in these situations.

Lets children explore themselves

When a child decides to step into the role of someone else, they are trying out new behaviors and ideas. They can go with this identity or choose a different route and just be themselves in that role. At first, they may go to the limits of the character they are playing rather than their own personal limits, but they may change if they feel uncomfortable later.

Encourages communication

How would a noble king speak to his subjects? What would an astronaut say during space exploration? What kind of questions and answers would they come up with as a chef? Role-playing allows children to explore different vocabulary that might not always use.

Teaches empathy

Role-playing puts emphasis on empathy. It is not just how these characters talk, but how they feel. What motivates them? If your child is playing the role of a doctor and has a sick patient, how do they feel and act? It gets them experiencing the feelings of others, which is very important to child development.

Helps motor skills

It isn’t just the mental aspect of dressing up that is beneficial, but the actual act of dressing up helps physical motor skills. Fastening zippers, doing buttons, and tying a bandana are all examples of how fine motor skills are imperative.

Gross motor skills are used when a child is moving like a dancer, keeping their arms in front and running as if they were flying about like a superhero or even moving their arms as they’re mixing ingredients in a bowl as a chef.

Promotes independence and self-esteem

As your child pretends to be someone else, they’re usually taking charge in their role. They’re making their own decisions and feel confident in their role-playing. This could help build self-esteem and make them become more confident in real life situations too.

Children can explore new things

Dressing up allows children to explore different roles and experience the feelings associated with them. Many still associate boys with builders, firemen, and policemen. Girls may go for being a princess or ballerina. However, with dressing up, there are no limits. If boys want to dress up as princesses and girls want to be a construction worker, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You should never tell your child they are wrong in what they want to dress up as. They’re only exploring through play.

You don’t need Halloween as an excuse to get the kids dressing up. Get them interested in playing many different roles. Ask them questions as to what they would do as that character. So, keep those costumes out for a little bit longer, let them even use some of your own old clothes and workwear for imaginative play, and go along for the journey your child has in mind when playing dress up.




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