Yesterday we had our first Halloween party at Kids Count Marne road and it was a huge success with many children dressing up for the occasion, and having a great time discovering and exploring at our Halloween party.
Children throughout the ages have enjoyed dressing up in costumes and engaging in dramatic roleplaying. Whether your child is superman, a princess, or an animal, your child's brain is going into high gear when they put on a costume!
And although it may appear to you as just play, when your child dons that cape, crown, or high heel shoes, their brain is developing in more ways than you can imagine. As early childhood educators know, play is the work of the child, and children benefit cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally through dress-up play.
Here are some developmental benefits of dressing up for children
Dress-up engages your child's brain and memory. Dramatic play requires kids to remember what they've seen or heard. They remember how their mum behaves when performing household chores when they are imitating her. Or they recall the details of a fairy tale they've heard before acting it out. Dress-up play also builds vocabulary as a child decides what his or her character would say. It gives them a chance to expand their vocabularies with words and phrases that they might have heard in stories, but wouldn't ordinarily use. Children may then begin to use these new words in conversations. Dress-up play also encourages cooperation and taking turns. Children learn how to negotiate as they agree on stories and rules. They develop interest in others and learn how to give-and-take. Who's going to be the doctor? Who's going to be the patient? Children must make decisions when they engage in dress-up play.
They practice problem-solving problems when deciding on what costumes and props each character needs to act out a scenario. When a child is engaged in role-play, it helps them see the world through another's eyes which increases empathy – whether pretending to be a parent nurturing a baby, a doctor taking care of an injured patient, or a firefighter putting out a fire. Dramatic play helps children understand the role that helpers play in in our lives. Children are constantly confronted with scary situations that they don't understand – whether witnessing an accident in real life, or seeing violent images on TV. Children process their fears through play, which helps them make sense of the world, and overcome their feelings of helplessness.
By allowing children to act out their fears through dress-up and role playing, we are helping their emotional development.
When children choose costumes and characters to be, they are able to explore different gender identities and the behaviors of those characters. While boys often want to be superheroes, firemen, or pirates, and girls often want to be fairies and princesses, it is normal and healthy for children to try on different gender roles as they learn about the world. A child should never be ridiculed for pretending to be a different gender.
Children are naturally imitative creatures. They learn about the world by imitating the lives of the adults and others around them. Through dress-up and dramatic role-play, children explore the lives of other people by imitating their actions, feelings and words.
Children's imaginations are limitless, and have not yet been hardened and constrained by the "realities" of the world, imaginative play in early childhood is the key to creative thinking during the adult years.
So Halloween is not just about dressing up and getting lollies, when children engage in dress-up play, their imaginations are given free reign. There is no limit to who, where, or what they can be!