Saturday, 5 January 2013

Dressing up.

My little princes dressed up for the Royal Wedding.
I've hesitated to do this subject, because it's one where I feel a bit of a failure! When I was little we had a great dressing up box filled with random charity-shop clothes, hats, bags, jewellery etc as well as various hand-me-downs and homemade bits and pieces. In my ideal, thrifty world I would have created something similar for my boys, but there are so many places which sell very authentic-looking costumes for not a huge amount of money that we have a small-ish range of "boughten ones" instead. Some have been purchased for themed birthday parties, or more lately "dress-up-as..." days at school, others have been given as presents. All have been worn over and over, so I guess they're worth the cost, but I wish I was handy enough to run up our own, original costumes. I'm pretty sure a homemade cape would have given just as much enjoyment- if only I had the sewing skills of my mother!

When Zac was little we used to go to the local toddler group and he was irresistibly drawn to a lovely lurid-pink net tutu with plastic flowers attached. He regularly wore it for the majority of the session and happily twirled around the hall. When I mentioned this to Martin he was horrified that I would let him, and insisted he would be scarred for life! I took the opposite view, he was having fun and exploring gender differences in an innocent two-year-old way. Sadly, in my opinion, he all too soon started saying things like, "Uugh, I hate pink, it's for girls" and moved on to more traditional boy characters like pirates and knights.

Watch me spin a web!?
Batman to the rescue.
I guess being second and having an older brother as a role model, Danny skipped out the princess stage and went straight for the more rough and tumble role play. He would still spend his life in a super-hero costume if he was allowed.
A cape and a mask is all you need to be SUPER!
I like superheroes! They are physically active- there's a lot of running and jumping/ flying involved, plus they're generally taking the side of right over wrong and helping others in need, which are good attributes for real life. OK, there's a fair amount of violence towards the baddies, but so long as they're imaginary baddies and no-one is actually getting bashed, I've decided to put up with that! Being a superhero is a great confidence booster for a child too. You get to feel more powerful than the mere mortals around you (like your parents or bigger brother) and being the person who is called upon to save the day with your super-powers makes you feel pretty special.

Look out! There's a dragon flying over the castle wall!
The other dressing up favourite with both boys was their knight costumes. I loved these too because they led to some amazingly imaginative, and independent role play. The boys would set off together on missions round the garden, mostly slaying dragons or other monsters, (they were a little scathing when I suggested they rescue a princess.) They spoke to each other in a new way and played as a team, working out solutions to their imaginary trials. The discussions and negotiations about the best plan of action as they roamed about were always extremely serious, and there was a lot of brilliant language used to describe the monster or how they were going to dispatch it. I have absolutely no doubt that if they could have written about their adventures it would have made a fantastic story- I just hope they keep developing their imaginations and don't let LIFE suffocate it out of them as they get older.

As well as developing imaginations, improving language skills and giving yourself a confidence boost, there's an idea that by literally putting yourself in someone else's shoes, young children are learning to empathise with others and be less ego-centric, which is a vital skill for being able to survive in social situations as you grow older.
...or just a hat.

The full kit...
So whether it's a shop-bought classic, or a homemade cape and crown, I think there are a load of reasons why kids should be encouraged to dress up and become someone else, not the least of which being- it's great FUN.

Zac entertains Danny by Clowning Around!
It's not dressing up, but my favourite clip of Danny role-playing has to be this one, if I'm ever feeling down, this chuckle always makes me feel a million times better:

Just found this brilliant tutorial on how to make a fantastic superhero cape:
I'm definitely going to get the boys to design their own!


  1. AWW what amazing pictures you have of them dressing up! i need to get my act in gear and get some for Joshua he loves my bags and shoes! lol

    I so love the innocence that comes with dressing up with anything to hand!

    Thanks for linking up with #magicmoments xx

    1. Haha. My "wedding" hats have definitely been worn more by the boys than me. Sadly I stopped wearing heels the first time I got pregnant else I'm sure they'd be clip-clopping in mummy's shoes too!

  2. What lovely pictures! Thanks so much for sharing with our Parenting Pin-it Party.

  3. Fantastic costumes! My boys have a doctors costume they share... i should really think about giving them some more variety lol! x

    1. Doctors are good! Danny asked for a Power Rangers costume for Christmas, I'm guessing a doctor would involve less very loud play!

  4. Fantastic. Love dressing up. All 3 of my kids dress up most days. I agree, it doesn't have to be shop bought costumes. The other day my girls emptied out all my shoes and had a great time trying them all on!
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

  5. Thanks Karen. Loving #LetKidsBeKids.