Notice, I did not say he or she does not need dress-up clothes. I said pass on the costumes.
What’s the difference? Dress-up clothes are multi-purposed and the purpose changes with your child’s imagination. Your child is in charge. The plain cape can make him or her a superhero or a knight or Little Red Riding Hood or Zorro or a bad guy or a good guy or a princess traveling on a mission. A Superman cape with logo is only a Superman cape.
Dress-up play is immensely important.
- Imaginary play develops a child’s language skills. Think about it: Whether your child does it silently or out loud, he or she can’t become part of a story unless and until they put words to it.
- Thinking of multiple uses for an object is a trait of creativity.
- Dress-up and imaginary play puts a child in charge. In a day to day existence where children are told so often what to do and when, imaginary play lets them be the boss.
- It also helps children develop impulse control.
- Finally, in imaginary play, children can tackle what’s frightening and overcome it, they can be aggressive and discover their limits, they can be powerful–and on and on. The agenda is theirs.
If you buy a Snow White or Spiderman costume, that’s the end of the story–literally. Save your money and buy oodles more of all purpose dress-up clothes instead (many can be picked up at your local thrift store).
What’s your favorite addition to the dress-up box?