Children love playing dress up games and it’s a great time to work on some speech and language skills.  Check out these fun activities that you can do with your child while playing dress up games.  You can use old costumes or even just your clothes.  You’ll be amazed what your child’s imagination can come up with for just a few old clothes.

Dress-Up Games #1:

Role-Playing Activities: Requesting, Answering Questions, Playing Make Believe

Playing dress up games will definitely get your child’s imagination going.  First, have your child use words to request the clothes and accessories that she would like.  Hold onto all of the materials and have her say the word before you give it to her. Have your child try to take on the role of someone that she is dressing up as.  This is a great activity to help your child learn how to take the perspective of someone else.  While your child is pretending to be this character, ask her a variety of questions about her character.  For example, if she is pretending to be a doctor, you could ask her questions like “who are you?”, “what do you do?”, “why do people go see the doctor?”.  You can also act out some make-believe scenes with your child.  For example, you can be the patient and she can check your heart rate and look in your ears.  Research shows that children who are able to pretend typically have a better grasp on how to use language.  This is because they understand symbolism.  When you pretend to be a doctor and check your baby doll’s pulse, you are using symbolism.  The basis of language is also symbolism.  For example, the word “cracker” is actually just a symbol that represents the real object that is a cracker.  I know that is a bit abstract, but the message here is that learning to play make believe can improve language skills as well.  If your child is having trouble pretending, take on the same role as your child and have her imitate your pretend play.  For example, if you are pretending to be moms, pick up your baby doll and give her a bottle.  Then, encourage your child to do the same.   After that, burp your baby doll and encourage your child to imitate you.  If you do this enough, she will begin to use this make-believe play as well.

Dress-Up Games #2:

Create and Act Out a Simple Play: Reading, Writing, Story Skills

This activity may not be ideal for very young children.  This would be better for children who are a little older who are working on pre-reading and reading skills like sequencing events.  Sit down with your child and tell him that you are going to write a play together.  Get out a piece of paper so you can write down the details.  If your child is able to write, have him help you with the writing.  If not, just write it for him.  At the top of the page write “characters”.  Decide with your child who each of you will be in the play.  Then, write “setting”.  Decide with your child where and when the play will take place.  Will it be in present day, long ago, or in the future?  Will you be in a castle, at the zoo, or in a spaceship?  Now, write “beginning”, “middle”, and “end”.  Help your child come up with some details from the beginning, middle, and end of the play. If you’ve never done something like this with your child before, you may have to help him come up with ideas.  However, after creating stories with your child a few times, this will get easier!  Now decide with your child if you are going to write a script for the play or if you are just going to improvise.   Either way, you can use the outline you created and then fill the story out.  This doesn’t need to be very long.  In fact, if it’s only a few sentences long, that’s perfectly alright.  Finally, find an audience.  You can present the play for another family member, your child’s stuffed animals, or you can record the play using your phone or camera.  Recording it is definitely the best because then your child will be able to watch it over and over again.  After he re-watches it, ask him questions about the story, like “what happened first/next/last?” or “what did your character do and why did he do it?”.

What other activities does your child like to do while playing dress up games?  Share them with us below by leaving a reply.  Also, don’t forget to check out my podcast with more resources and activities that you can listen to on the go!

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