Part of the fun when celebrating Halloween is getting to wear costumes. Kids especially love it when they get to be the character they admire most. It could be a princess, a superhero, or even a robot! But it appears that more than the fun factor, dress-up play is actually beneficial to kids' development.
“Dress-up is an ideal way for young children to work on so many early childhood development skills: literacies, life skills, and creative play,” educator Dr. Karen Aronian tells Healthline.
Benefits of dress-up play
Some would think that letting kids wear costumes often is just too much work and effort. But as Aronian points out, dress-up play is worth doing even on a regular day as it offers many learning opportunities for the kids.
Promotes cognitive skills
Needless to say, playing dress-up boosts kids' imagination. By wearing a costume, they assume a role that encourages them to be creative while imitating a character.
It’s also an indication of having good memory when kids make character impressions. It means they can work on information they absorbed from watching or reading about the character they’re imitating.
Dress-up play also proves beneficial to kids' emotional and social development. It creates an atmosphere where they can build different situations and help them think about what it's like to be someone else.
"Imaginary playtime allows children of all ages, especially younger ones, to learn about life. It gives them the chance to learn about other ways of functioning and thinking than they would normally behave and think," teacher and counselor Yocheved Golani tells Romper.
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Golani also introduces a concept called "The Batman Effect." This suggests that wearing a costume of a character like Batman "or another hardworking character could increase her ability to persevere."
Promotes language and communication skills
Since playing dress-up pushes kids to create a scenario, it also encourages them to engage in conversation. By learning more about the character they are portraying, they can also pick up new vocabulary.
Most importantly, playing dress-up gives them a platform to practice different emotions and express themselves to others.
As health and wellness writer Kimberly Zapat explains on Healthline, "Asking questions about the characters or scenes they’ve created and encouraging them to talk through their play helps them to build conversational skills."
Promotes motor skills
Even the simple act of wearing intricate costumes coupled with various. The physical benefits of dress-up play are on full display when kids do actions or skits inspired by the character of their choice.
From dancing, a few combat sports, to acting, all of these are good physical activities plus you'll never know if these will grow into them and actually become their newfound talent!
Offers bonding moments between kids and parents
Every type of play is a good bonding moment between parents and their children, and dress-up play is no exception. (Read more about the benefits of play here)
In fact, dress-up play can lead parents and children to have similar interests when it comes to a book or a movie. Having common grounds with your kids could strengthen your relationship with them.
Play doesn't have to be costly! Click here for tips on how to use household items to encourage learning through play.