By Shelley Harris, Children’s Librarian
It’s been a week since Halloween: is your kid still wearing their costumes? Dress-up imaginative play is such an important part of childhood!
You know what big fans we are of Mr. Rogers here at the library, and this quote really resonated:
“One of Fred’s favorite stories was about a boy who insisted on wearing his superhero cape when he went to the doctor for a checkup. I always thought that was a great message about how much pretending means to children—especially when they’re wearing a costume—or even something that represents a costume, like a crown, a cape or a purse.”Hedda Sharapan, MS, Mr. Rogers’ coworker
Sharapan’s latest blog post has wonderful information on how costumes and imagining can help kids explore feelings and situations, grow empathy, and support self-regulation.
Below find videos to watch together, online resources showcasing more of the benefits of dress-up play, and books to share about dressing up and using your imagination!
Watch these videos
In this video, I used my imagination to pretend that our gerbil was going on a big adventure, on the hunt for summer reading beads. What stories can you tell about animals you see? How can you pretend to be the animal?
Here, Jenny and I talk about different ways to tell stories. Dressing up is a great way to create and tell a story!
Explore these online resources
- Keri Wilcot, an occupational therapist, points out that dress-up play helps kids practice fine motor skills and dressing themselves—also an important skill!
- Don’t forget to help kids expand their vocabulary when they’re telling you about their adventures and play, or leading you in group fun. Introduce them to fun big words related to whoever they’ve chosen to dress up as.
- Healthline highlights even more benefits, including teamwork and problem solving.
- Costumes are great fun, but can get expensive. Thrift stores or Oak Park’s own Economy Shop can have lots of open ended clothing ideas that kids can turn into any character they want. Emma at Kids Craft Room has other inexpensive ideas, including fabric that kids can use!
Read these books
Check out these great books about dressing up and imaginative play:
- Mommy’s Khimar shows a little girl dressing up with her mother’s scarves and imagining herself as a queen, superhero, and her mother.
- Harriet loves dressing up as a penguin, until she is carried away by penguins and has to find her way back to the city and her dads.
- This child dresses up as Wonder Woman to conquer her day at school with superhero skills: sharing, kindness, and courage.
- Imagination doesn’t require costumes! A box can help kids tell stories just as well.
Shelley is a children’s librarian with a passion for early literacy, serving and celebrating the disability community, and exploring technology. She can often be found practicing storytime songs with her black lab, Bingo.