Dad of Divas' Reviews: Halloween - Tips on Why Role Play is Important for Kids Year-Round

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween - Tips on Why Role Play is Important for Kids Year-Round

As you know Halloween generates excitement in children unrivalled by virtually any other holiday. With that being said, I would like to introduce Melissa Bernstein who has designed thousands of toys over the past 24 years for Melissa & Doug. The company she co-founded, with a single-minded focus on “real play”—creative, boundless, non-judgmental exploration—to help children discover untold worlds of imagination and growth.

Melissa’s objective is to create a dialogue that will shift the focus of today’s technology-driven society, balancing it with time-honored childhood values of creative play, artistic expression and interaction with others. Her dedication to listening to parents has positioned the company as a trusted partner by millions of families, and the playthings she creates are designed with those families—and her own six children—in mind.

Although Halloween is OFFICIALLY the one day of the year when children and adults everywhere are given license to dress up, at Melissa & Doug we feel it shouldn’t be. At Melissa & Doug, we believe that role play is a crucial, YEAR-ROUND activity and shouldn’t be put removed and placed into a closet on November 1st

Melissa has included Tips on the Importance of Role Play and Why Parents should Encourage their Children to Put Down the Remote or Nintendo and be Creative.

1.     Allow your child to take part in choosing exactly how they will be dressed for the occasion, it gives them power and investment in the holiday

2.     Role play is a critical form of pretend play, and a crucial aspect of early childhood development.  It is one of the best ways to help a child to develop an understanding of the world.  When children are given the opportunity to CHOOSE a costume or character they wish to portray, they are given the ability to explore the areas they are most interested in

3.     Dressing up helps children (and adults!) to get rid of their fears and inhibitions, and be free to “act out” something they may not be comfortable expressing on a daily basis.  Children develop social awareness, self confidence and are more open to exploring themselves and expressing pent-up thoughts or ideas

4.     Role play offers an excuse to let go of one’s inhibitions and be free.  Such free, unstructured play offers tremendous benefits developmentally and a HIGH level of creativity!  This will build strong imaginations and fertile, innovative minds

5.     The best costumes are ones in which children are truly transported to another place and begin to believe or act as if the character they’re portraying actually would

6.     Testing the personas of different characters is a great way to teach children about different roles and their various behaviors.  A pirate can talk with an accent, a police officer can speak with authority, and a chef can come up with tantalizing recipes that are created and served to an enthusiastic audience.  Role playing involves improvisation and having the awareness of how different characters act, and portraying the appropriate emotions and characteristics that depict them!

7.     Grandparents can easily incorporate dress up and pretend play into play time with grandkids.  They can create a special dress-up/pretend play closet or chest, and allow grandchildren to explore it whenever they visit. 

Some ideas by Melissa & Doug include:

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

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