What did you want to be when you grew up? A fireman? A policeman? Doctor? Princess? Astronaut? Whatever it was, I’ll bet you thought about it a lot! Imaginative play is a way to act out those dreams and aspirations so, let your kids play dress-up!
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There are many reasons to have a supply of costumes and props for your children to play with. Here are five excellent ones:
1.Children need imaginative play all year round! Playing dress-up is a healthy emotional outlet that sparks creative ideas!
2. Imaginative play expresses what is in your children’s hearts – their gifts and talents start showing up through playtime fun. You can learn a lot about a child by watching how the play. Check out the real life example below*
3.Playing dress-up is like a dress-rehearsal for life – it is a great way to practice future roles they may have later on. How many kids loved to play school and, as grown ups, became teachers! How about playing house? Taking care of a baby doll or using a toy kitchen is fun and prepares littles for the real thing. So, set up that pretend store or play kitchen. Get some costumes and props for the playroom and see how much fun they will have!
Helps To Develop Character– Though super heroes are not “real,” the virtues of a super hero are. Today’s super heroes are a modern version of playing cops and robbers or fireman. The good guys rescue, save and protect. The bad guys go to jail. As your children role-play, they practice thinking through cause and effect, right and wrong.
It is FUN! Not every child will be an astronaut or president but pretending is fun. Through imaginative play children can have the joy of being anything they want to be without the harsh realities of life.
Caution about Super Heroes: explain to your little super hero that flying is pretend. I’m not kidding. When I was a child, my mother warned us. She had heard that a little boy, inspired by Superman on TV, put on a towel as a cape and jumped off the garage roof thinking he could fly.
*A real example of imaginative play that lead to a career: our son, Josh, started having business meetings at age 4. Yes, he was just four years old! When his friends would come to our house to play, he’d get out his pointer and white board,showing them all of his big business plans. I’m serious! Well, his little friends would quickly get bored and slip out of the room looking for toys to play with.
Recognizing that this play method could ruin friendships fast, I pulled out two toy car dashboards and told the boys that people drive cars to business meetings. That got their attention! Johnny and Jeff drove their imaginary cars, squealed their imaginary wheels – and crashed in imaginary crashes – as they went to and from Josh’s pretend business meetings.
No surprise, grown-up Josh now has three college degrees and is a successful entrepreneur with his own film company. But isn’t it wonderful that his gifts were showing at age four. I might also add that Josh had his first REAL business by age 6. He made key racks and Christmas tree decorations. He designed, marketed, built and sold both products all by himself and did quite well!