I wish I could tell you how many people comment, “Bring back E.T.!” whenever we post a picture of Max in his E.T. mask! There was a short span of time that EVERYTHING he did was done with that big E.T. head. One only has to be around him for a short period of time before he has you engrossed in his imagination and role playing. While we are all laughing with delight at his antics, we never stop to think of the many benefits there are to children when playing dress up.
Have you ever been told, “Maybe you should try walking in my shoes for a bit?” I’m sure almost everyone has either heard that phrase at one time or possibly even said it. This is a person wanting you to understand what their life or situation is like…a person asking for empathy. When a child engages in role playing, they are doing just that. Whether it be dressing up like mommy and daddy, a superhero, a princess, or even E.T., they are “walking in their shoes,” and without realizing it, learning empathy.
Sure, it’s fun to pretend they can fly like a superhero or swim like a mermaid. However, they have also watched this person in action and are now trying to mimic them…or walk in their shoes. The process of watching…remembering…then mimicking is building brain power without them even realizing it!
Dress Up Box ~
A dress up box was always available to our kids when they were growing up. It was filled with costumes and accessories. We would go to a Hawaiian themed party and the plastic leis would make it to the box. We would celebrate New Year’s Eve and the party hats, horns and boas would be added to the box. Old party dresses and high heels….you got the idea!
What I wish I would have done differently is to add their Halloween costumes to the box. I tended to put those back in case someone else wanted to wear it the next Halloween. My daughter, Lauren, keeps costumes out for them to enjoy all year long. This is how we ended up with the wonderful days of Max and E.T.
Eating with E.T.
Playing Outside with E.T.
Shopping with E.T.
Brushing Teeth with E.T.
Yes, Taking a Bath with E.T.
Going to Bed with E.T.
You hardly saw Max during those days that he did not have that E.T. head on. He would sometimes wear the whole costume, but most often he just wore the head. There were even days that he shared it with others!
Are you thinking to yourself, “Man, I have got to get one of these adorable E.T. costumes for my kids?” Don’t you worry, I got your back! Order your own cool E.T. costume right here! As stated earlier, your kids can dress up all…year…long!
My other thought here is that if you let your children dress up whenever they want it builds a sense of self confidence. As I watched our three children grow through the different stages, it was very important to me that they learned to be kind and to have self confidence. I put these two together because I believe they go hand in hand. The times I would see them at their lowest in self-confidence is when they were being picked on by others. Therefore, it was also important to use those times to enforce why being kind is so important.
With that being said, Brad and I completely believe that Max is not going to suffer in the self-confidence area! Whether he is E.T (where he just always looks so adorable), The Hulk (where he very dramatically transforms from self to Hulk with LOTS of noise), Spider Man (where he covers you with webs with a twist of his magical hand), or Mr. Freeze (where he freezes you and you MUST stay frozen until he unfreezes you!) he truly believes he IS those characters!
Themed Play & Crafts ~
Lauren does a fantastic job of taking their current interests and turning them into fun activities filled with themed crafts and foods. I wrote about the alien theme when I first started blogging. It is a small entry, but the pics are cute. You can check the alien themed blog here!!!
I have since learned it is helpful to include directions for the crafts and food. I searched Pinterest for some help on how to make the spaceship and found this great pin. Zygote Brown Designs describes in detail how to make a spaceship!
Where is Your Dress Up Box? ~
Playing dress up is SO MUCH MORE than just a fun way to keep the kids occupied. It stirs their imagination and aids in their emotional development. So if you haven’t done so yet, go create that box of imagination for them.
Regardless of what you use, you won’t regret making this an option for your kids. You, too, can bring back E.T. and spark their imagination and role playing. They can enjoy this for years! And who knows, when you become a Mimi, you may find yourself dragging it back out again! 😉