Dressing up for development: imagination play

Kids love playing make believe. Whether it’s having a tea party with their teddies, being an intrepid explorer around the garden, or performing as the prima ballerina on their very own stage in the living room, the imagination of a child is uncontainable. And of course it shouldn’t be contained, as pretend play is one of the most important aspects of child development. Through make believe they discover both themselves and the world around them using language and other key skills in the process.

One of the best ways to encourage your child’s imagination is to play along with them. Join in the conversation with their imaginary friend, address them as the character they are pretending to be or build them a den to have their teddy bears’ picnic in. Kids will love to dress up in anything they can get their hands on, old sheets, your heels, a nice tin pan hat, you name it, it can be adapted into a costume. If you want to give your little one a treat you can get plenty of fun kids character clothing from George at ASDA, there is something for every little personality, and of course their alter egos.

Disney characters are a big hit with kids and they love to dress up as their favourites to recreate the films they know inside out. Often you will have forked out on toys from movies, and adding a costume can add a new dimension to playtime, as your child becomes part of the sketch. Buying a costume from George at Asda ensures it will look just like their beloved character and not a bad copy that is barely identifiable.

The world of make believe is broad and varied. Kids may want to play at being adults, dressing as doctors, builders or firefighters discovering things they might like to be when they grow up and starting to understand the wider world around them. They may not want to be real life characters at all, and instead favour those from myths, stories and fairytales. Fairies, elves, monsters and superheroes are all firm favourites when it comes to the dressing up box.

If you have more than one child, or have built up a fair sized collection of costumes and props, you may want to invest in a proper dressing up box. Put all their favourite pretend play clothes and accessories inside and let them delve in whenever they want to play pretend. Don’t discourage kids from mixing and matching their outfits, creating new characters is all part of the fun and the imagination is not to be limited by norms and conventions. Who says princesses can’t wear pirate hats anyway?

Some kids naturally have bigger imaginations that others, but all should be encouraged to exercise theirs to its full potential. Without imagination there would be no inventors, no composers and no artists. These are just a few great professions that rely on the power of creative thought. Learn through play and join in the make believe with your kids, you might even have a little fun discovering your own imagination!

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