Let’s get ready!

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By Jean EvansEarly Years consultant and author

Children love dressing up for an occasion. Explore new ideas to extend play experiences and fire up their imaginations

Girl dressing up


Activities in this article:

  1. The wedding
  2. The football team
  3. Cross-curricular activities

1. The wedding

Share in the excitement and spectacle of a big occasion

Creative Development – Developing Imagination and Imaginative Play

Development matters: Begin to make-believe by pretending (22–36 months); Play alongside other children who are engaged in the same theme (40–60+ months).

Early learning goal: Use their imagination in art and design, music, dance, imaginative and role-play and stories.

What you need

Books, photographs (loaned from parents and staff) and images showing a range of weddings; outfits for the bridal party and guests; safety mirrors; accessories such as hair ornaments, jewellery and imitation flowers; grey fabric; candles.

What to do

  • Ask parents for suitable outgrown children’s clothes, especially bridesmaids’ and page boys’ outfits. Improvise outfits, for example, using white nightdresses as the vicar’s and choirboys’ surplices, if applicable to your choice of wedding. Display the outfits beside the mirrors with a nearby table for trying on accessories.
  • Create an area for the wedding ceremony by draping a three-sided screen in grey fabric and dressing this with artificial flowers. Arrange chairs in front for the guests.
  • Discuss the children’s experiences of weddings, encouraging them to comment on the outfits, setting, ceremony and reception. Explore the books, photographs and images together and emphasise that weddings can be traditional or very unusual.
  • Leave the children to try on outfits and then join them suitably dressed to support and develop ideas. Provide any additional props suggested by the children during their play.
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