I recently came across this blog post on dress up in the dramatic play area, and thought I would share it. I think the author has done a great job explaining the skills children develop when they play and interact in the dramatic play/dress up area.
When a child plays dress up, they are doing so much more than putting on a costume. Dress up is a great way to encourage many social and emotional skills that children need to be successful in school, and even later on in life. Here are a few reasons why every preschool classroom should have a bin of dress up clothes.
Dress up encourages creativity. Children can pretend to be whatever they want. They can express their sense of style. It is a way for them to role play scenarios they find interesting. The world becomes as large as the child’s imagination.
Dress up encourages language skills. When children dress up, they often have conversations to act out their play scenarios. They may pretend to be a specific character, such as a waiter taking your food order, or a doctor caring for a sick baby doll. No matter what the set-up, you can bet the child is engaging in some form of conversation.
Dress up encourages positive relationships and cooperation with peers. Children will have to not only share the dress up materials, they will also engage one in another in their play scenarios, often working together to form a role play.
Dress up encourages self-confidence. Children may feel more confident to express their thoughts and ideas while in costume. Often a shy child becomes more expressive while dressed up, because they feel the attention is on what they are wearing and not on them. This allows the child’s personality to shine through.
Dress up encourages children to become comfortable with scary and unfamiliar situations. Role playing about a sick baby doll that needs taken to the hospital may ease the child’s fear of going to the doctor. Children may role play that they are parents leaving their baby doll with a sitter when they go to work, which can help them problem solve separation anxiety issues.
Most importantly, dress up is fun. It is a way for children to escape the real world and let their fantasies and imagination take flight. Make sure to refresh your dress up bin on a regular basis. Keep in mind that just after Halloween is a great time of year to get some amazing deals on costumes and accessories for your classroom