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The Importance Of Dressing Up In Costumes

May 19, 2008
As any parent, teacher or other child care assistant will know, children love dressing up. Whether it be in fancy dress, or just in silly clothes, or even their parents' old clothes, putting on different outfits, accessories and garments is something that all children enjoy doing from a very early age, and for many years to come. But why is this so, and is there any real benefit to be had from it which might mean that we should all be encouraging this behaviour more?

Children are biologically programmed to learn - it's what they are born to do for many years. Unlike other animals, humans have a very long period of immaturity during which they need to be cared for, nurtured and taught. Some animals can walk, and survive independently within minutes of being born, but as humans we have a much longer journey. This is largely down to the fact that we have massively complex brains. The amazing thing about our brains is that they start off with relatively few connections and information - they are largely empty. It is our formative years which allow billions of connections to be formed to make each and every human unique, with their own version of a human brain, different in very many ways to every other.

One of the chief learning methods that small children use to make sense of the world, understand what is going on around them, develop their social understanding and skills, and discover themselves as an individual, is mimicry. In other words, children copy adults, whether that is their parents, relatives, people in the street or at the shop, people from television, even cartoon characters and characters from books and comics. Children will copy the smallest thing, such as the way you wash your hands, and by doing these things, they understand a little more about why, and how to be a person themselves.

Dressing up in costumes is a way for children to copy a different type of person, perhaps their parents, perhaps a policeman or a fairy, and by putting on the costume, however insignificant it may seem, children feel that they have a ticket to be able to freely behave in a way which is different to their normal behaviour. So, if they put on their parents' clothes, they can pretend to be grown up, if they dress as a policeman, they can explore their authoritarian skills. These aspects are all different parts of what it means to be an adult, and children explore these in specific ways. Fairy costumes will allow them to be generous and giving, clown costumes allow inhibitions to be removed and for them to explore their comic side.

We all continue to learn best by copying, but as adults we become very much more self conscious. Children have far less self consciousness, but still need a ticket to help them escape who they are and step into someone else's shoes - sometimes literally. Giving a child access to a range of costumes and accessories provides them with a much greater array of ways in which they can explore and express different facets of their character. This, in turn, helps them to understand more about the world, and about themselves as individuals, as they learn which aspects seem to fit them best, and slowly their unique personality is developed.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant about kids toys, dolls, and video games. You will find the best marketplace for kids toys, dolls, and used video games at these sites for kids toys, fancy dress costumes, dolls, and used video games.
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