Costumes are great and can serve as an avenue for children to investigate and role-play. For example, children may dress up like certain characters from history or movies, like pirates, princesses or superheroes. They may also dress in uniforms worn in everyday jobs, like a police officers or nurse, or as a zoo or farm animal. Generally, young boys tend to lean towards costumes that backup stereotypical beliefs of being male and young girls are more apt to like costumes that back up stereotypical beliefs of being female.
It’s a well known fact that kids simply love costumes. I think it’s just the idea of being able to play dress up, be creative and pretend you’re something else that attracts them. Beneath the cowboy hat and princess crown, we have some very serious business going on and your children are learning skills that they will keep with them for their entire life.
I have heard of children as young as 2 being replaced by certain animals, princesses and superhero’s. Louise Bates Ames, who in an amazing pioneering child psychologist explains that when it comes to dress-up children’s first love and there “very favorite object,” is shoes. But why is that you might ask? It is because kids feel grown-up and important when they put shoes on and they can be slipped on an off in a matter of seconds. What convenience! Shoes also have so much variety such as laces and bows etc. and I think that’s also a draw for kids.
Children gain so much valuable experience when they play dress-up and pretend to walk in other people’s shoes. Recent studies have actually shown that children who participated in role-play actually had more empathy then kids who never played dress-up growing up.
My little sister who is now twelve still decks herself up and parades around the house in the biggest hats and dresses she can possibly find. I even still like to dress-up. I actually think all of us do. We need to give into the kid in us sometimes and don a new identity even if it’s only for one night.