Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dressing for the Occasion In Early Childhood

Hello again! I'm Ayn and I am a Ga. Pre-K teacher, serving 4 and 5 year olds in an inclusive setting. I share my classroom adventures on my blog, little illuminations

Do you dress up to go to school? I do!!! As a way to pique the children's interest, I often come to school dressed for the occasion. We frequently have special dress up days where we come dressed as __________ (cowgirl, princess, fairy tale character, etc.). I always dress up right along with the children.

It doesn't take a lot of money, just a little imagination! I rarely purchase special clothing to wear. Usually, I plunder my own closets, and if needed, those of my family members, too! 

In September, when we study apples and learn about Johnny Appleseed, I come to school dressed as the wandering planter. It's taken several years, and a variety of props in a series of trial and error. The first several years, I used an actual pot on my head! It kept falling off (apparently my head is not quite perfectly pot-shaped). The pot finally fell off and almost bonked a student, so for the last few years, I've constructed a pot from butcher paper that fits quite nicely.

For our farm unit, we dressed as farmers one day. The kids loved this as much as we did! At our school, teachers don't get to wear jeans very often, so it's always a bonus to do so on special occasion dress up days!

We had a pajama day during our Dr. Seuss unit, so I decided to just combine the two! There's nothing more fun than making green eggs and ham in your jammies at work!

During Pirate week, we put our fanciest pirate wear on and did our best pirate impressions! Arggghhh! No landlubbers here, Matey! 

My dear friend, Mrs. Becky, who teaches Pre-K at one of our sister schools, dressed up this year like a Centenarian for the 100th Day. She gets just as excited as I do about dressing up, and had to stop by my house after school to show me!

Little girls always love to dress up as princesses, so during our fairy tale unit, we dress up as princes and princesses. Boys love to dress up, too, but are not as enthused with dressing as royalty, so superheroes are also welcome! 

One of my favorite dress up days is the day we read "The Paper Bag Princess" by Robert Munsch. I dress in my special paper bag dress and crown to read the story. It's always a hit!

St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate, so I often dress for the occasion for several days, each day getting progressively kookier!

Dressing for the occasion is a fantastic attention grabber. New teachers often find it hard to step out of their comfort zone and go all out, but the more fun you have with it, the more fun the kids will have! If you are still feeling a little apprehensive, start with a themed hat while reading a story, for instance a cowboy hat while reading a western themed story or a crown for a fairy tale reading.  No effort is too big or too small. I always have a few props handy for kids to use who may have forgotten to dress that day, but don't want to be left out. If a student chooses not to dress, that's fine, too. I've found that more often than not, the few who choose not to participate will eventually ask to borrow props, if they know they are available and don't feel pressured to do so. 

I'm always looking for new twists for dress up days. I'd love for you to share in the comments how you dress for your favorite dress up days!

Stop by and visit me anytime at littleilluminations.blogspot.com or visit the little illuminations fanpage on facebook!


  1. Boy those kids in your class are lucky ducks, Ayn!!

    1. Thanks, Laura, but I think I'm the lucky duck! Not many folks have jobs where they can dress up, act kooky and read fun books! :)

  2. Looking good Ayn! I would like to point out that it depends on the children as to their dress up preferences. We have a boy who loves to frock up. He often come to preschool with his toes painted. I'm going to have a toe painting day soon, encouraging the boys to become involved. We also had a girl in the toddlers room last year who always wore spiderman outfits. So anything is possible.

    We all need some work to do if we're going to match Debbie Clement's efforts. Evwen her day to day outfits are out there.

    1. I thrilled to have them participate however they choose! And I agree, Debbie sets the bar pretty high, but I sure am trying to give her a run for her money! Also, I hear there was this guy running about dressed as Hagrid, so I may have a little competition! ;)

  3. FUN! I want one of YOU in my class too!!!

  4. What a fun classroom you must have, Ayn! I loved your story of the Johnny Appleseed pot! I pinned your post to my Literature-Based Activities Pinterest board at http://pinterest.com/debchitwood/literature-based-activities/


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