Pretend Play: Why you should set up a Dress-Up Box for your Kids
It's Halloween Season, and you've probably attended some parties already. I'm sure you're excited to dress up your kids in scary or cute costumes... Yes, the parents sometimes are the more excited ones than the kids hehe *guilty!*
But here at home, we play dress up most of the time already, and it's like halloween on most days. I've set up a Dress-up Box for my toddlers, and they just love pretend play!
It's more than just wearing different clothes, but the idea that you get to be someone or something else!
Here are some reasons why you shouldn't pack away those halloween costumes, and start up a dress up box or cabinet too:
1. Having a dress-up box allows them to recreate scenes from everyday life, which is important in a young child's development (Social Studies). My kids love to play with their DIY kitchen and copy me when I cook. They get to be doctors, builders, bakers etc.
2. Pretend play is one of the most magical things in a child's life, and it's wonderful to see what they come up with. It allows them to imagine and create stories, explore and go on adventures... Make Believe! My little boy would often pretend he's an inventor and build "machines" or sometimes he's a superhero with his cape and mask.
3. It fosters independence. They get to choose their clothes, and dress themselves... and most of the time they want to it all by themselves! Yay!
4. It's a great parent-child bonding activity. I love joining in on their pretend plays. It's FUN! And we get to bond over picnics or pillow forts. Besides, I get to be whatever... one minute I'm a queen, and the next minute I'm a big, scary monster, RAWR!
5. It develops their language skills and vocabulary. I am amazed how my 3yo makes up stories and conversations on his own. And he's very committed to his role. One time he pretended to be a detective to solve a "mystery" (yes, he was the one who said he was solving a mystery), with a necktie, hat, magnifying glass and all.
6. Pretend play helps with their emotional development. They get to explore their different personalities and act out expressions. They pretend to cry, act surprised, be scared etc.
Now, how to start setting up a dress-up box?
Well, just get any big box where to put clothes and accessories in. Ours is just a simple pull-out rattan box than I placed in a low shelf so it's easily accessible for the kids. If you have a big space at home, go ahead and make a whole dress-up corner, set-up a cabinet and fill it with clothes and costumes.
So what do you put in your dress-up box? It's actually pretty easy to fill up a dress-up box. Once you get started, you'll find all sorts of stuff to put in there, trust me...
What to put in your dress up box or cabinet:
- Old costumes (yes, these aren't just for halloween anymore!)
- Hats (Caps, beanies, helmets etc.)
- Masks and play glasses (sun glasses/eye glasses)
- Headbands (ex. Kitty/bunny ears)
- Scarves and ribbons (they can use this as capes, belts, pretend tails and ropes etc.)
- Accessories: Bow ties, neck ties, belts, gloves, beaded necklaces/bracelets, bags (hand bags, small backpacks etc.)
- Occupation kits (ex. Doctor/Builder kits)
- Props: swords, shield, wands, crowns, boots, buckets/baskets etc.
- Skirts or Tutus
You can add to your dress up box as time goes by.
Do you have a dress-up box at home? I'd love to hear what's in yours. If you don't have one yet, try it setting one up at home and see how your kids imagination start to unfold!