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10 Benefits of Dress-Up Play for Children

Children throughout the ages have enjoyed dressing up in costumes and engaging in dramatic roleplaying. Whether your child is a dragon, a princess, or a fairy, your child’s brain is going into high gear when she puts on a costume!

And although it may appear to you as just play, when your child dons that cape, crown, or pirate’s eye-patch, his 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 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.

Wooden Toy Bow and Arrow - Bella Luna Toys

6. Motor Skills

Children develop fine motor skills by putting on dress-up clothes, whether buttoning a shirt, zipping up pants, or tying on a pirate’s bandana

They use their large motor skills when engaged in role-play, whether they are jumping like a superhero, running like a baseball player, or twirling like a ballerina.

7. Gender Exploration

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.

8. Imitation

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.

9. Socialization

Dress-up play 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.

10. Imagination

Children’s imaginations are limitless, and have not yet been hardened and constrained by the “realities” of the world. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, believed that imaginative play in early childhood is the key to creative thinking during the adult years.

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.

Wishing the children in your life many hours of fun dress-up play!

Warmly,

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Here’s a list of recommended items to include in your child’s dress-up basket:

  • Play Silks can become capes, veils, a pirate’s head band, a belt, or a baby blanket.
  • An elastic waist Fairy Skirt can become a fancy dress or a veil when worn on the head.
  • Our knight’s Sword Holder Belt can hold a wooden toy sword or a tool like a hammer.
  • Sunglasses, long gloves, strands of beads, and headbands add glamour.
  • Hats of all kinds– a cowboy hat, a fedora, a Robin Hood hat, a tall cone-shaped princess hat.
  • A chef’s hat and child-sized apron.
  • A doctor’s scrubs, and face mask.
  • And don’t forget to add your child’s Halloween costumes to the basket when the holiday has past!

What items are in your child’s dress-up collection? Please add your suggestions in the comments below!

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Dress Up Play, Sarah's Silks

Save 10% on Halloween Costumes from Sarah’s Silks!

mermaid costumeAfter many months of work, the new and improved Bella Luna Toys website is finally live, just in time for Halloween!

To celebrate, we are offering 10% off all kids costumes from Sarah’s Silks when you become a registered customer on the new site. Make sure you “Register” as a new customer when checking out, and then enter the promotion code “costumes10.”

Dragon Costume from Sarah's Silks

Costumes will be shipped via USPS Priority Mail for our low flat rate shipping rate of only $5.95, so order up until October 27 for delivery in time for Halloween!

Kids costumes from Sarah’s Silks are made from lustrous 100% pure silk, and are designed to nourish the senses and inspire the imagination. Great boys and girls Halloween costumes that are also fun-year round for dress up play!

Girls Halloween Costume

So check out the new site and let me know what you think! And be on the lookout for the many new Waldorf toys and wooden toys that will be added over the coming weeks in time for the holiday season.

Wishing you a Happy Halloween!

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Free Shipping on Children’s Costumes from Sarah’s Silks!

As many of you know, I’ve been working all summer on the new and improved Bella Luna Toys website, and it’s very close to being ready to go live.

The new site is scheduled to be launched within a week, and I am so excited to share the results with you! Not only will you find a site that’s more user-friendly, but you’ll also find the addition of many new wooden toys and playthings throughout the fall, leading up to the holidays.

In the meantime, we have the complete line of children’s costumes from Sarah’s Silks in stock for Halloween, and I have an early bird offer for you. Receive free shipping on any Sarah’s Silks costume, ordered between now and September 30! Just enter the code COSTUMES at checkout to receive FREE SHIPPING within the continental U.S.

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Kids Knight Costumemermaid costume

Princess, Knight, Mermaid, Dragon, Unicorn and Fairy Costumes from Sarah’s Silks are made from 100% silk, and are designed to nourish the senses and inspire the imagination. Great kids Halloween costumes that are also fun-year round for dress up play!

Use code COSTUMES at checkout. Offer expires 09/30/2010.

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