Halloween is the time of year when children get excited to plan their costumes and dress up as anything they can dream of, but this type of fun shouldn’t be limited to only a few weeks in October.
According to The Genius of Play, dress-up play gives kids a chance to truly let their imaginations run wild and create characters of their own through make-believe play, giving them the freedom to explore new possibilities.
I spoke with one of our experts, Keri Wilmot, who shared her favorite ways to promote and inspire fun dress-up play at home all year round.
“Dress-up play is more than just physically wearing a costume. When “in character,” kids role play. They imitate the character’s mannerisms and may even create their own special traits and themes, which encourages kids to think outside of the box, practice different emotions, and use their language skills to communicate too,” notes Keri.
Here are six ways to help your children play dress-up any day of the year:
1. Create a dress-up bin or box and leave it in the play room. Stock a laundry basket, box or cubby full of oversized clothes and accessories like bright scarves, fancy shoes, mismatched socks, baseball hats, sunglasses, boas, sports jerseys, aprons, princess dresses, and costume jewelry. Having these fun items readily available in the play area will inspire kids to want to use costumes and accessories in their everyday play.
2. Want to add some fun costumes on a budget? Take a trip to a local thrift shop, consignment shop or dollar store where you might find some additional clothing and accessory items to add to the dress-up box, which won’t break the bank and can inspire their creativity. Pinterest often has simple DIY crafts to easily turn sweatshirts and other clothing into costumes, too.
3. Does your child have an interest in a specific character? Inquire about costumes in neighborhood online yard sale groups, do a costume exchange with friends, or buy extra costumes in larger sizes at the end of the season when they are on sale to use throughout the year as your child grows.
4. Is there a budding fashion designer at home? Leave colored pencils, paper, markers, and other arts-and-crafts items nearby so kids can draw up plans for new outfits or create signs and props to use while dressing up.
5. Don’t get all dressed up and stay home! Take the kids on errands, whether it’s a ride in the car, or a trip to the park or supermarket when they are in costume! Facebook has happily reminded me of a photo I once posted of my own son at the age of four, wearing his favorite blue Wild Kratts dress-up vest. While seated in a supermarket shopping cart, as we used our imagination to search for animals with creature powers and picked up groceries at the same time. Especially for those errands the kids do not always enjoy, pairing up something fun and new can make the mundane a lot more exciting and enjoyable!
6. Go get that camera! Capture selfies of these exciting moments using photos and videos to create long-lasting memories that you can share together, year after year!