Once there was a four year-old boy named Jeremy who wished he could fly. He knew that birds could fly, but wanted to find a way to do it himself. One day, the little boy went into his clothes closet, discovered some magical clothes, and then bang! Zoom! This boy became Super Jeremy!
Super Jeremy could fly across the living room with his trusty dusty red cape. His blue pants and red top with the big “J” on it made him invulnerable to spaghetti stains. His trusty stuffed sidekick, Clyde, could sniff out trouble a mile away. And with his mask, Super Jeremy could conceal his identity from those evil doers of the house: the dust bunnies.
Kids like Jeremy are probably kids like yours: they love to run away with their imaginations and make up stuff. Playing dress-up is one of the most creative activities. But there’s more to just changing outfits when kids dress up. With simple role-playing, your child can absorb a lot of knowledge about the world and people around them in just a few play sessions! Parents just have to make the most of the opportunities when they present themselves.
Let’s say you have a child that’s afraid of the doctor or is getting ready to go to the hospital for a check up and is apprehensive. Playing “doctor” dress-up a few days before puts the child in a position of control. Ask him questions like “what do doctors do?” and “what else do they use in the office?” Have your child heal you with magic medicine like Skittles with the S rubbed off. He can even give you a shot by poking you with a fingernail ever-so-slightly. Saying words like “Wow, that didn’t hurt much and it felt like a real shot!” can take away a little of the needle anxiety your child might have. And with your new doctor making you feel all better shows that his doctor is going to try and do the same thing. Who knows, you might have sparked a life-long interest with this dress-up session!
Being “Super Jeremy” can help develop that sense of right and wrong in your child. Kids want to be superheroes because of those neat powers. But, just as it is with Spiderman, with great power come great responsibility. Your superhero could save you from those evil dust bunnies, or rescue a trapped stuffed animal from under the couch. Letting your child do great acts of good can instill a little pride and maybe carry over to the real world. Your little superhero could lift “heavy” cans and put them into the grocery cart, or lug those giant clothes all the way from the floor and into the dirty laundry basket for you as you try to wash clothes.
Exploring the different roles in society while playing dress-up can help him understand the world around him. Dressing up as a construction worker can educate your child on knowing that his house was built piece by piece, or help him understand what tractors are and how a screwdriver works. Your child as a pilot is a great way to understand the basics of flight, airplanes and wind. Maybe playing teacher can show him how much fun preschool is. What an opportunity to practice those last few letters before pre-school or kindergarten!
There are so many benefits from putting on a couple of costumes for an hour or two on a lazy Sunday. Expanding your child’s mine to know the world around him can only make him smarter. Besides, who doesn’t want to be a Super Jeremy some days?