Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Dress-up clothes, including highly gendered clothing such as princess gear and hardhats as well as gender neutral items and a variety of scarves and pieces of cloth to supplement dress-up clothes
Preparation for Activity
- Set out the clothes for easy viewing and access.
Description of Activity
Invite participants to dress up in any clothes available. Encourage them to put on whatever appeals to them. Scarves and pieces of fabric can be draped in all kinds of ways. Encourage creativity.
Leave a few minutes to re-gather the group and lead a discussion with these questions:
- Do you like to dress up? When are some times you have had fun dressing up?
- Are some of you wearing clothes that are boys’ clothes? Are some of you wearing clothes that are girls’ clothes? Who is wearing clothes for any gender? [Opinions will differ. Do not correct children’s opinions. To model acceptance of all gender expression and debunking of stereotypes, you can affirm, for any item: “Boys can wear that,” “Girls can wear that,” “Any gender can wear that.”]
- Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a boy (if you are not a boy)? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a girl (if you are not a girl)?
- What are some things you think girls do that boys don't?
- What are some things you think boys do that girls don't?
If possible, allow participants to keep the dress-up clothes on for the remainder of the session. Or, have them remove the clothes and put them away at the end of the activity.
Including All Participants
Set up and lead this activity with words that are sure to make all participants comfortable. Avoid generalizations that reinforce stereotypes and comments that carry assumptions about an individual child's gender identity or dress-up choices. Remember that many children at this age have a sense of their own gender that may differ from the gender expression you observe.