This activity doesn’t just have to be for superheroes, any theme could be turned into a “school” from fairies, to dog trainers, firefighter to princesses! This model is a fun way to work on basic skills that kids tend to get sloppy on during the summer when days are filled with more exuberant play. Spending a quiet time here or there still playing but working on skills at the same time helps kids stay on track while having fun.
- Before you gather your materials decide what skills you want to work on. Math, Letter recognition, Sight Words, Fine Motor, Patterning... you choose. Try to make sure that you don’t overwhelm your child, 2-3 options is probably enough.Remember to you aren’t testing your child you are using pretend play and activities to learn and have fun.
- Gather the materials needed for the “school ” of your choice. I wanted to work on my son’s fine motor, writing and counting.
- Our first lesson was “Bomb Squad” . His goal was to pick out the yellow, green and blue bombs ( aka pompoms) from the container to keep the city safe! What this teaches is color recognition, counting and using the pinchers is great for fine motor.
- Next up we had “Power Station” a super simple math activity that he places the correct number of stickers in the columns. Also I again worked in fine motor with the action of peeling the sticker off. I’m so tricky yo.
- Lastly I decorated a workbook to look like a batman journal to encourage some superhero reports. My son is not the most excited writer so anything that will encourage it without pushing is something I look for. This did the trick .
- Do not be empty handed after the tasks are completed – I made him a super fast medal like the family medals we made a while back to congratulate him on completing his super hero training!
Super Hero Board Book
My First Batman Book: Touch and Feel by David Katz.
I am just reviewing one book today because I want to really focus on it. It’s a rare find. A board book , a touch and feel no less, about Batman. Trust me it’s rare, I squealed when I found it at the library and could not believe what a treat it was to read with both my kids. It’s not secret my son ( the one in the improvised Batman mask above) is into super heroes, he is also into books and I want to encourage that. However some of the books are so violent and I don’t want to expose him to all that at 4.5 , it’s just too young for my comfort zone. For beginning readers there are some great I Can Read books but for even younger ones pickings are super slim. Luckily there is this book. It’s sturdy, it’s age appropriate and it even glows in the dark!
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.
- 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.
- Start by cutting some buttons out of the foam. I asked my son what shapes he wanted but did the cutting myself.
- Next cut the roll open. Round the edges with scissors.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Some 4 year olds love video games, some love playing catch , mine loves to pretend. Almost every moment that my son is awake he is pretending to save someone , catch someone or just be someone, Lately one of his favorite things to pretend to be is a super hero and so when I asked him what letter we should make he suggested Batman and when I suggested he could make his own super hero S he was game.
- Gather your materials. You will need 3 pieces of different color paper, paint, paint brush, marker, scissors, glue and 2 googly eyes.
- Start by writing a large upper or lowercase S on one sheet of the construction paper.
- Ask your child what their super hero has as a costume. We made a cape, a chest button and mask. Draw them or have your child draw them on a light piece of paper.
- Paint the costume pieces.
- We goofed and added the letter to the chest plate after painting. Have your kids do this before they paint .
- Cut out the s while they paint, or if your child is able and willing have them cut it while it dries. Mine wasn’t.
- Add glue. My son loves tracing the letters with glue which is wonderful letter practice too.
- Add the s to the final sheet of paper. Paint if the mood strikes!
- Cut out the costume pieces and add them to the s.
- Add the googly eyes on top of the mask.
- Let dry.
Remember that kids learn as they play. By using their favorite playtime activities for the more directed activities that focus on things like numbers and letters you enhance both their play and their learning . Have fun with it!