Dressing up is definitely the children’s area of expertise not mine. Whilst I may give pointers if I think something is inaccurate historically, mostly I just sit back and watch the process. Dressing up is a huge part of our presentation and I dread the day when one or more children come and say they don’t want to do it anymore. As we have only just finished the Anglo-Saxon, who wore similar clothes to the Vikings, we decided to use as much as we could from that presentation, adding one or two items that were distinctly Viking in character. The girls had expressed a wish to have lots of jewellery and brooches. I looked on the internet for pictures to try to copy.
The first thing I do is ask the children to bring in anything that they might like to include in their outfit from the dressing up box. We have an extensive dressing up box full of odds and ends. Often half of what they bring out has to go back simply because they don’t have enough room on their little bodies to hold it all!!
Then we play about with possible outfits on the floor. This has two purposes: It is quick for me and it is less wearing (no pun intended!) on the children. They do love dressing up, but only for the play opportunities it allows them. The actual changing in and out of costumes holds no interest at all. This way they only need to try on the dress up once. Here are the three outfits we put together on the floor:
T10’s outfit is made from a pair of my pyjama bottoms, some cream material strips for the bottom of his legs, a long-sleeved top with a t-shirt over it. The t-shirt we bought for our Celt dress up from a charity shop. The belt is a ripped piece of miscellaneous material, the axe I bought for one of the activities we will be doing on the Battle of Hastings next year. The wig a neighbour dropped in yesterday and was perfect for the look I wanted and the helmet we bought for the Viking study from Amazon. The throw around his shoulders is a hand-woven rug we bought when we went to see the reenactment of the Battle of Hastings.
L10’s dress is made up of an indian sari underskirt ( which the Asian lady at our newsagent gave us when she came to teach us about Indian clothes, jewellery and makeup), a Robin Hood dress up top, a large piece of material sewn to make a tube and held in place by two homemade brooches. The necklaces are also homemade from some thin rope and large handmade buttons bought from our local sewing shop at 5p each. The pendant is simply painted and jewelled card. The belt is ripped cloth.
C10’s dress up was similar but she will wear a white shirt and heavily pleated brown cotton skirt, both bought from charity shops. Her head-dress is a large piece of material cut to size.
Once they are tried on and tweaked to perfection (!) they are wrapped up and put to one side for the presentation. Yes, as they frequently tell me, I am a meany mummy – they are not allowed to touch these until the presentation night!