Dressing up days

Schools seem to have regular dress up days. I have a love hate response to these. Mostly children love them, parents not so much. I try to never hold one for my class, just the ones the whole school are participating in.

Here are some very old and grainy photos of me on primary school dress up days. The pic on the left is some sort of bike dress up day. On the right I have no idea, but I was a mermaid. I have ZERO idea why we did this and what relevance it had to anything we learnt in the classroom. What I DO remember is my mother worked for days beforehand to make them (and the 10 other outfits I have photos of).

 What is great about dress up days?

  • They springboard heaps of fabulous discussions and learning activities
  • They help consolidate a unit or learning activity
  • They help create a community experience for your school or class
  • Children absolutely adore it when their teacher dresses up. That alone is a stand out reason for teachers to participate. These are the sorts of occasions that can help you make deeper connections with your class and individuals.

Some advice:

I’m a parent. Each time a dress up day notice came home I would feel stressed. I work full time. Sourcing appropriate attire is yet another thing I had to do with the ongoing balance of work and home. Throw in a touch of fussiness from the child about what they wear and it can easily become a battle zone.

  • Don’t schedule dress up days too frequently
  • Senior students don’t really like them. They are too cool now!
  • Many parents work nowadays and don’t have much time to make or source costumes
  • Inform parents with plenty of notice and make it official
  • Families are often called upon to make financial donations. Don’t always make your dress up day a fundraiser
  • Dress up days can cause stress for some children who know their parents can’t support it for one reason or another
  • Have some options for children who may not be able to participate for various reasons. These kids often feel different and left out. Supply some easy to source and/or make costumes or accessories ready for these children
  • Children really love when you make an effort to dress up yourself
  • Don’t do the same old tired themes year after year, like a Book Week parade. Fun the first time, tired after several years of same/same. Think of new and exciting themes that work in well with what you are teaching
  • Social networking sites are your best friend for costume ideas. Pose a question about what you should wear or ask friends if they have anything you could borrow. It need not be an expensive undertaking.

Theme ideas

  • To celebrate a major sporting event (footy day anyone?) A teacher at my school once came in footy gear and even had muddy knees!
  • Prep 100 days of school – dress as they did 100 years ago or bring 100 of an item
  • Alphabet day
  • Jelly bean day – dress in your favourite colour to raise funds or awareness of juvenile diabetes
  • Are there children in your school with particular illnesses or disabilities? Perhaps you could sensitively raise awareness or funds for that cause
  • Safety day
  • Cultural day – whatever language or culture your school studies
  • Heritage day – what is your own cultural background?
  • Harmony day – rainbow colours
  • Superhero day – just because! Who doesn’t love a superhero day?
  • Inquiry/unit – how can what you are studying be incorporated into a dress up day?
  • Book themes – ideas are limitless here – favourite character, author study etc
  • PJ or onesie day – Not my favourite theme as it doesn’t really tie in with learning well. Perhaps just for a fundraiser.

Send me your dress up pics and theme ideas!