Kid Magazine Issue Twenty Nine

Page 34

The magic in the dress up box Sara Keli, Kid Magazine Editor When you receive an invitation to a dress up party, do you: A. Immediately decline, no thanks! B. Ring your best friend in a panic asking if she has a wig you can borrow C. Head to your closet to put the perfect costume together For most people, the answer is probably somewhere between A and B. The dread of not wanting to look silly combined with the lack of anything remotely fancy dress in your wardrobe.

The power of dress ups in this encouragement of dreaming big is that it teaches our kids not just about dreams but about possibilities. The little girl who carries her stethoscope with her everywhere learns that a Dr is someone she can be, not just someone who she visits when she is sick. Anything is possible if a child is presented with the power to make it possible. As kids play in an imaginary world they are learning about the world around them. The way a bird flaps it’s wings or a mouse scampers around the house with all but a tiny “squeak”. Playing house and mimicking the way they see their parents interacting over the everyday banalities of life. The intersection of real life and make believe.

But as kids, dress ups is an adventure and just part of life. Ballerina one day, pirate the next! Kids don’t care if they look silly, in fact the sillier the better. Ask a child to make a funny face and you will some pretty amazing creations. Ask an adult and see them stick out their tongue. Somewhere along the way, we lose that ability to not care what others think and to live in the moment. Not just with how we dress but in so many other areas of our lives.

They learn about colours and textures, engaging their senses. They squeeze themselves into costumes they have long grown out of but just can’t let go of. They have to share with siblings or friends and take turns in being the teacher, doctor, mummy… They learn leadership as they do this, holding a room of toddlers captive as the leader of the pirates is no easy feat!

But engaging our imagination is a vital skill to learn and practice. Sure we can’t go to work each day in our finest dinosaur attire, but we can find moments in our lives to let our imaginations run wild. And often those moments come when we spend time with our kids. So the next time your kids drag out the dress up box and you groan at the thought of the mess they will make or them pulling you into their make believe world, consider what the contents of that box is teaching them.

So what do you learn in all of this? You know how to share, how to dream, what noises an animal makes. But what imaginative please teaches you, in the words of Queen Elsa, is to let it go. To enjoy the silliness of childhood and to accept the crazy rules of a made up world, no matter how nonsensical they may be. So the next time you see the kids with the dress up box open, think about all the things they are learning, put on the silly hat, don your sword and CHARGE!

As Albert Einstein said, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” When we engage our imagination, we open up doors to worlds we never thought possible. We are no longer bound by four walls but by the limits of where our minds can take us. Dressing up is one of the most powerful ways to engage the imagination and explore worlds unknown. You don’t need to get on a plane to experience distant cultures, real or made up. Encouraging our kids to develop their imagination is setting them up for a life where creativity is the norm. And creativity doesn’t just come with a paintbrush on a canvas. The ability to problem solve and think outside the square. To approach life with an “anything is possible” attitude. And to dream of bigger things and a better world.


Sara is the Editor and Chief Kid at Kid Magazine. When she isn’t writing, designing, creating and blogging, she is out and about in Sydney with her family or spending time on her back deck enjoying the sunshine and her daughters laughter.


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