Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Importance of Dress Up in Dramatic Play

PR Blog discusses the importance of dress up in dramatic play:
Why are dress up games and dramatic play so important for childhood development?
There are many benefits to dramatic play and dress up, and it’s important that you set aside time each and every day to play together with your child.  Let’s look at some examples of things that dramatic play helps kids do:
Explore issues in their lives – small children have difficulty grasping things like a new baby, a sick relative, or a move.  Dramatic play allows you and your child to explore the changes that are about to occur, in a fun and exciting way.  How about pretending that their dolls are sick, and they must go to the hospital to get better?  Or maybe Mr. Bear has to move to a different town and try to make new friends with the other bears in town?  The possibilities are endless- and you are free to discuss fears and concerns with your child in an imaginative way.
Experiment with different behaviors – playing together doesn’t come naturally to kids.  They must work on cooperating with others and dealing with anger and frustration when it arises.  One of the best ways to do this is through dress up.  Wouldn’t you much rather your child gets upset with a stuffed animal, then a fellow playmate?
Practice decision-making/problem solving – if there are four kids and two cookies, how can you divide them up so that everyone gets their share?  Try that experiment with a room full of toddlers, and someone is going to end up in tears.  Act it out at home in the safety of dramatic play, and a life lesson will be learned.
Process different points of view – How do you help your child become sympathetic with the world around them?  You teach them what it feels like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.  Dress up allows your child to be anyone that they want to be, and helps them understand where the other person is coming up.  Remember playing school as a kid?  Being the teacher gave you a whole new perspective on what it was like to be a student.
Learn new concepts – there are so many other things that your child could gain from dramatic play.  Math can be taught through a pretend trip to the grocery store for example. 
Dramatic play helps your child become a valuable part of the adult world, while keeping them safe and secure.  Don’t be afraid to let your child lead the way, and listen when they speak.  You may just gain a better understanding of the world too!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Around the World, on your Couch

1. Read a book. Your library is probably full of books to help you and your kids explore the world. Check the nonfiction section for travel guides, history books, cookbooks, and more. In the fiction section, you can find books about the folklore, history, or other novels set in a different country.

2. Make a craft like a piece of art from a foreign country.

3. Listen to music. Your local library probably has a selection of cd's with music from around the world. Check one out. Dance, sing, and enjoy a new sound. Or, you can check out YouTube. Search for international music for kids, or try your cable company's digital music channels.

4. Hear or read a first-hand account. Do you know someone who has lived in a foreign country? See if they would be willing to tell your children a bit about that country.

5. Learn about the native animals from a given region.

6. Explore the folklore. Read some of the traditional stories of a culture; those that have been passed down year after year after year

7. Experience the food. Take a trip with your taste buds! Trying new foods is a wonderful and fun way to experience another culture.

8. Play a game. Games are universal and your kids can experience a new culture by playing a traditional game.

9. Make and play a traditional instrument. Every culture has music and dance associated with it. Why not learn to play some traditional music from around the world.

10. Celebrate a new holiday or festival. Celebrations are an important part of every culture. Learn about a new culture by celebrating its holidays.