DIY Creature Power Suit

by Kim

My house loves animals. We love learning about them. So it is no wonder that the favorite show in our house is Wild Kratts on PBS. If you are not familiar with it I will give you a brief description. The Kratt brothers learn about different animals and how amazing they are by using their creature power suits. They push a button on the suit and touch that animal to essentially become that animal. They will talk about the neat things the animals do for the ecosystem, what amazing abilities they have, etc. They have been lions, cheetahs, honey badgers, and even made earthworms look cool.

So I made my son an easy version of a creature power suit. Now he can be just like the Wild Kratts!

You will need poster board (or card stock), markers, scissors, elastic, stapler, and self adhesive velcro.

First I took a small bowl and traced circles onto the posterboard. I had my son cut out the circles. I made 5 circles, but you can make however many you would like.

After he cut out the circles I had him write his name on one of the circles.

Then I asked him what animals he would like to become with his creature power suit. He was eager to draw each animal on their own circle.

While he was drawing, I cut a piece of elastic just a little bit over a yard (probably by about 4-5 inches). I tied the ends together in a knot.

I made the elastic loop into a figure 8 shape. Then I stapled the center where the elastic crosses over each other. You can hot glue or sew this, but I did stapling because it is easy, fast, and there is no hot things lying around for my kids to try to grab.

I took the circle with his name on it and stapled it to the crossover part I had just stapled. Then I put a piece of the rough/hard velcro in the middle of the circle.

Your power suit is complete. Just have your kids put an arm into each opening and make sure the name emblem is on their chest. It is easy for them to slide on and off by themselves.

Put a piece of the fluffy velcro on the back of each of the animal circles your child created. Now they can attach that animal to their power suit and become that animal!

We made a lion, “Jesus” lizard, Tasmanian devil, and a falcon emblem. Here is my son being a falcon. Doesn’t the puppy look impressed?

He ran through the house so fast that I couldn’t get a clear shot. :) We had fun talking about what those animals ate, where they lived, what they would be afraid of, and how they would talk and play with their friends. Man, I love little kids! This is a great activity/craft for learning about animals and using your imagination while getting the kids active.

Just so you know: The opinions about Wild Kratts is strictly my own and does not reflect any views Allie or No Time for Flash Cards may have regarding the show or PBS. This show is wildly popular at my house and this craft was a huge hit, so I thought I would share it with others. Neither this craft or this post was sponsored in any way. PBS and Wild Kratts have no idea who I am and never contacted me about this.

**If you do choose to use staples in this craft like I did, then you need to make sure the ends are curved in to ensure no scratching or cutting will occur. Obviously staples can be sharp and need to be used with caution. You can always use the alternatives mentioned in the post if you are uncomfortable using the staples.**

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

Pizza Parlor Pretend Play & Craft

My son is all about pretend play and we had so much fun yesterday mixing art and pretend playtime as we played Pizza Parlor. I hope this post shows how low key pretend play can be and still be fun . I know that sometimes pretend play can be hard for some parents to get into but when you play scenarios like this one it’s easy to be a customer and the play helps kids try on different roles, get comfy with social interactions and be in control of things they are normally not.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper plates, sticky back foam, crayons and scissors for the pizzas. The extra props like the pizza box came from our local store and the oven was made from a box, a marker , a sheet of construction paper and tape.
  2. Start by cutting or having your child cut the foam into pizza toppings. We made pineapple, peperoni, green peppers and olives.
  3. I made the oven by flipping a box over, cutting one side out and adding some buttons and clock on a sheet of construction paper and taping it on.
  4. First call in the order
  5. Start making some pizza – my son started by throwing the dough.
  6. Add the sauce with crayons.
  7. Add the toppings.
  8. Pop it in the oven!
  9. Into the box and into the delivery car.We played for a long time calling in different types of pizzas. He never made me pay for my orders saying pizza was free every Monday, Tuesday and all weekend.  Now that is my kind of pizza!

Book

Pizza at Sally’s is another great look at a small business owner , and how she does her work everyday and feeds the masses with her yummy pizza! I like how it not only explains how to make pizza but it also looks at the ingredients and how they are grown and processed.  Of course it’s not explained in depth but it is explained enough to start a dialogue with interested preschoolers for further investigation.  My son loves the cat in this book, the same cat is in many of the other books but for some reason he particularly loves it’s presence in this one. It’s inspired me to make the dough from scratch with my son next time we have pizza!  A lovely book!

DIY Batman Belt and Mask

This was not a planned activity, I went to the dollar store to grab some Easter Candy for a hunt my son’s school organizes and as I left the car he asked for a treat ( don’t worry I don’t leave him in there alone , his dad and sleeping sister were there too!) He’d been asking for a batman belt since we’d gotten him some PJs with a cape so I figured I’d gather some things to make a utility belt. The mask… well that was an after thought. It’s not my finest craft but it is the most used. He takes it off for baths and bed as well as church and school. That’s it. Not bad for a pair of undies!

The Belt

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a belt , some cell phone belt clips from the dollar store, flashing reflectors ( Bat-Signal) and a pedometer( Bat-Communicator) , both from the dollar store as well. Everything I bought had belt clips so it was easy on and off.
  2. Attach everything.
  3. Fill the belt with useful bat-tools.
  4. Try it on to make sure it fits.

Mask

I really didn’t think that I’d post this but seriously it’s on him all.the.time ( see the collection of pictures below).

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a pair of spandex undies , 3 hair ties, and scissors.
  2. Gather some of the bum fabric on either side of the leg holes in the elastics to make bat-ears.
  3. Cut eye holes just above the waist band. I did nothing special , they aren’t reinforced and so far not an issue.
  4. Gather the extra fabric in the back with the third elastic.
  5. Wear it daily for weeks.

Batman Books

Batman: The Story of the Dark Knight by Ralph Cosentino is rare a book about a comic book character that is in a picture book format. I am telling you it’s hard to find books about Batman that I feel is not too violent for my 4 year old. This one is great , and the illustrations will leave you breathless. It explains the gist of the Batman story without going into too many dark  details and the text is the right length for preschooler’s attention spans. My son loves it and had it memorized in just a few days. The author illustrator also has  Superman and Wonder Woman in the series.

Batman Classic: Meet the Super Heroes: With Superman and Wonder Woman by Micheal Teitelbaum is another Batman book that both my son and I really liked. It’s an easy read for independent readers and not too long for kids not yet reading alone. What I really appreciated about this book was that the super heroes used teamwork to defeat a dragon. Here is why I liked this, because it wasn’t person on person violence , no guns and all the heroes pitched in.  It’s hard finding books that satisfy your child’s love of a character while still fitting your comfort zones. This book does it.

Superhero Cuff Craft

Dressing up is a must at our house. My son is never just chilling in his own clothes there is almost always a costume, some accessories or at the very least a hat to support his pretend play that starts when he wakes up and ends when we wrestle him into his PJs for bed. This craft was done spur of the moment when my scarf wrapped around his shoulders was simply not enough costume to be a superhero. It was so easy and if you don’t have foam on hand , felt, paper or even stickers would be great options. The foam has held up really well , we made this almost a month ago and it’s still going strong.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a toilet paper roll ( or wrapping paper / paper towel tube ), some paint , sparkly sticky back foam ( great option for those afraid of letting your kids loose with glitter shakers), scissors and a paint brush.
  2. Start by cutting some buttons out of the foam. I asked my son what shapes he wanted but did the cutting myself.
  3. Next cut the roll open. Round the edges with scissors.
  4. Add the foam. When making props to play with skipping things that need to be glued on is usually a safe way to go. Also anything they have to peel the backing off is a great fine motor skill activity so it’s fast and worthwhile!
  5. Add paint – this is optional. We chose to paint after the foam because sticking the foam on wet paint is futile and painting around the shapes is another good fire motor skill activity as well as hand eye coordination which is your child is a beginning writer like mine they will benefit from as much pressure free  practice as possible.
  6. Let dry … a little tip I use sometimes when I need things to dry faster for pictures … or eager kids who want to play superhero before bedtime( can you tell he was crying in the picture above? The tears were instantaneous when I told him he’d have to wait for the paint to dry.) Take some paper towel and blot the paint. If you are careful only the excess comes off.
  7. Play!

Superhero Picture Books

Super Duck (Duck in the Truck) by Jez Albourough was ok, I liked it but my little man didn’t.  Here’s the thing the book is part of a series and we haven’t read the other books, we grabbed this one because of the super hero theme and Super Duck was only kinda super . I likes the rhyming text it flowed well, the rhymes were never forced but it was just too young for my son who is 4.5  to enjoy it. He didn’t find Duck funny, but I am sure other kids would. It’s a fun silly book, just don’t grab it for a kid who is expecting body armor, x-ray vision and golden lassos.

Supersister by Beth Cedena wasn’t full of x-ray vision or super powers either but my son adored it. Kids are unpredictable. This story though is sweet and also has a little but of mystery to it , which upon reflection could be one reason why my son liked it so much. Supersister is a little girl who is brave and helpful and we witness that when she lovingly ties her moms shoes for her before zooming off to school. Okay so I preach about pre reading books, but rarely do it and reading this I was so worried the mom was going to be in a wheelchair or hospital bed and that’s why she needs her daughter to tie her shoes.  I lean towards the dramatic so I doubt you’d even be thinking that and my son didn’t either. No nothing tragic has happened to mom , she is just very very pregnant. Supersister is practicing her role as a caregiver and older sister! My son loved that since he takes his still fairly new role of big brother very seriously. Cute book for new siblings especially!

Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero by Alex Cottringer was exactly the kind of superhero book both my son and I were looking for. Eliot is just a calm quiet boy by day but by night he saves the world!  It tapped into my son’s imagination right from the start and he was hooked. He loved the action and I loved that unlike the more character driven superhero books the plot is high on action and saving and low on violence and aggression. My son loved that scientists were working with Eliot, and that he had to travel to the Himalayas as part of this mission to save the world. I loved it to because it totally promotes and makes science and geography extra cool!  All in all a great book although the text would have been too long for my son a year ago at 3. I’d keep this one for the 4 and up crowd.

Pretend Play – Science Lab

This is cool science !  There were no real instructions for this pretend play  just a buffet of fun things safe to mix in experiments.  My son got into this right away taking on the serious personality of a chemist as he dove into his imagination. This is so easy to do because all you really need is water and a few kitchen tools, everything else is just icing on the cake.

  1. Gather your materials. For our science lab we used a handful of glass jars -if you are really keen you can put graduated measurements up the sides, but remember kids imaginations don’ need every detail done for them.  You may want a few absorbent place mats, turkey baster, eye droppers, small measuring cups,  mini whisks, some shampoo or dish soap , some baking soda , water and food color.  Also eye protection and an apron or lab coat is a must!
  2. I added a few drops of food coloring in jars of water and set everything out – something I learned years ago is if everything is at arms reach fewer things spill . If I was doing this with multiple kids I’d ditch the chairs and have them stand at a low table.
  3. Start concocting! 
  4. The baking soda mixed with the shampoo made a nice ( not overly) fun fizzy foam, clearly the shampoo was acidic. This made me remember doing a science experiment in grade 4 with all sorts of things and mixing them with baking soda to see which was the most acidic. If you want you could incorporate that too.
  5. Keep going!  He had a blast.
  6. I got a tub ready to soak everything in after playing.
  7. We had so much fun I had to dump out his beaker and get him some new yellow water.
  8. Popped them all in the water – we let them soak and came back later to scrub. See this activity includes practical life and water sensory play too.