The power of dress-up play

Last minute pirate costume

Little kids love to dress up in costumes. From dashing superheroes in capes to dainty ballerinas in frilly tutus, a new identity emerges when little boys and girls dress up.

In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a full-on costume for kids to feel the excitement of a disguise. Our animal ear hats are a great way for babies to start. They know that something is different – Why are there little ears on top of my head suddenly? – and they thrill to look at themselves in the mirror.

In my circle of play date friends, many kids as young as three years old know Spider Man, Batman, and other famous characters.

However, my son had never been one for dressing up. With vague disinterest, he would wear dutifully anything I put on him (a fireman’s hat after visiting the fire station, a train engineer’s hat and scarf at a friend’s birthday party, a homemade Pinocchio costume last October). Though he always passed by the costumes if it were his choice.

It wasn’t until preschool that my little boy really had to dress up.

It started with summer camp. His Montessori teacher was so enthused about dress-up play that she herself dressed up most days, and there was a mandatory dress-up day for the kids once a week.

We pulled together a pirate costume one morning from odds and ends around the house )pictured above). A t-shirt with a panda bear’s face on it sufficed for animal week. And his Pinocchio costume won him an award and rave reviews.

Now, at four years old, he has a favorite TV show: Super Why. When he found out he could wear a costume to dress up like Super Why, he nearly jumped out of his pants then and there! When it arrived, I had to put it on him immediately, and he even wore the mask for the rest of the day.

I must say I’m glad he is showing interest now. I think the excitement of dressing up should be part of every child’s young years. ChildhoodBeckons.com outlines some of the reasons why dress-up play is so important for our kids.

If dress-up play is already a staple at your house, drop your favorite tips for the rest of us in the comments below!

And, finally, in case you’re just getting started, here are some of our other hats for dressing out of the ordinary.

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