I am a lucky duck. I get to play dress-up with my young granddaughters. I let them put whatever they want on me. Sometimes, I wear one of the skirts on my head like hair. They make me into a kitty, and at other times, they turn me into a unicorn. It makes me think about when I was young, living on the ranch.
Little Wally the Cowboy
I remember when I was a little girl. I used to wear my Dad’s boots, spurs, chaps, and his hat, and I would swagger around the house speaking in a low voice. I would mimic him and ask my mom to make me Knox Blox. I would say, “Hey Sweetie, make me some of those little jello squares that I like.” (My Dad always called them ‘little jello squares.’) I would go down the back steps, thump-ching, thump-ching, thump-ching all the way down.
Then I’d head out to the barn, where my dad was working, and walk back and forth in front of him, posing and saying, “Look at me! I am Wally the Cowboy. I love to ride horses up in the mountains. I love Gail more than Richard because he’s a naughty brother.” Then off I would go, back to the house… thump-ching, thump-ching, thump-ching.
Opportunities for Dress-up
These days, I dress up several times a year, other than with my granddaughters. I get to dress up for Halloween, I dress up like Mrs. Santa, and I dress up for the chorus. For the chorus, we all wear a particular costume. We usually wear heavy makeup, fluffy hair, sparkly earrings, and matchy tops. I find it fun and exciting and I love being on the costume committee.
Why Play Dress-Up?
So… all this got me wondering – why is it so fun to play dress-up? What is the value? Playing dress-up is creative and imaginative play, and imaginative play boosts problem-solving and self-regulation skills. We create situations and scenes and act out social events. We are able to test out new ideas and behaviors in a comfortable and safe place. Playing dress-up is a form of self-care. It is fun, makes us laugh, and gives us the chance to be silly. It helps to relieve stress.
Yesterday, one of my granddaughters asked me if she could pick out my clothes for the day. I agreed. She told me we were going to have a Flower Power Day, and we did. It was fun and funny. We laughed, read books about flowers, took selfies, built Lego flowers, and in general, had a wonderful time.
Take time to find a dress-up outfit or just take a chance and wear all one color. Dress up in a theme, or just make yourself a tutu. You might consider wearing a cute hat, or buying a bunch for some ducklings… You will laugh yourself silly and bring delight into the world!