Sarah Baldwin, M.S.Ed. Releases Tip Sheet for 10 Developmental Benefits of Dress-Up for Children

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Suggests Dress Up Is Not Just for Halloween And Should Be Encouraged All Year Round

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When a child is engaged in role-play, it helps her 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.

Sarah Baldwin, M.S.Ed., is an early childhood educator, author of Nurturing Children and Families and owner of Bella Luna Toys - an online retailer of educational toys, art supplies and crafts.

In her most recent blog post on Moon Child, Sarah says that children throughout the ages have enjoyed dressing up in costumes and engaging in dramatic roleplaying. Whether a child is a dragon, a princess, or a fairy, her brain is going into high gear when she puts on a costume!

And although it may appear to everyone else as just play, when a child dons that cape, crown, or pirate’s eye-patch, his brain is developing in more ways than one 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 10 developmental benefits of dress up play for kids:

1. Brain Building

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 mother 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.

2. Vocabulary Building

Dress-up play 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.

3. Problem-Solving

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 elements and props each character needs to act out a scenario.

4. Empathy

When a child is engaged in role-play, it helps her 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.

5. Emotional Development

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.

For more information or to connect with Sarah, please visit her blog at Moon Child, or Sunday with Sarah on YouTube, or on Facebook or Bella Luna Toys.

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