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.

Baby Dress Up – Easy No Sew Tutu!

I have made many a tutu in my day, but this is the first for my daughter. There are tutorials all over the place and they may use other methods but this was how I learned years ago and it’s fast , easy and worth sharing.  I love the silly fun frills that come with girls and know that once she can voice her opinion about clothes, hair clips and tutus my reign supreme will be done.  She loved feeling the texture of the tutu but really it’s a fun prop for pictures at this age, in a year or so it will be good for play. The nice thing about these easy tie tutus is that you can add or remove tulle as needed as long as the ribbon is long enough. As with any object with string/rope/ribbon these are NOT to be used unsupervised, slept in or any other activity that isn’t directly supervised.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need tulle ( I used a roll of  6″  wedding tulle from Wal-mart), ribbon for the waistband, thinner ribbon for contrast and scissors.
  2. Measure your child’s waist with the ribbon, double it and cut.
  3. I am not one to measure mostly because I am impatient with everything other than small kids but also because my son turned my yard stick into a lance to go with his Knight’s Shield. So instead I use my arms. For the tulle I did 2 arms lengths and cut. I like longer pieces because once you pop them on the ribbon they will be poofy. Tutus should be poofy!  I did 30 of these. Not all at once.
  4. Then I folded the tulle 4, made a loop around the waistband ribbon, pulled it through and tightened. At the bottom you will see a loop , just snip it. 
  5. Keep going after 9 I popped on a contrasting ribbon in gold. These were only one arms length and I added it on the same way.
  6. Once all the tulle is on ( test it on your child a few times) make a spot in the front middle and using the same ribbon as the waistband is made from tie a bow on. This gives the illusion that the tutu is tied in the front but stops your child from being able to untie it themselves.
  7. Tie it on and take pictures ;) I am saving this for when she is a little older although she had fun practicing pulling up in it.

Pretend Play Camping and Campfire Craft

camping for kids

We love to pretend and camping is a perfect thing to role play with. Dramatic play isn’t just practice for future actors it’s practice for future adults. It gives children a chance to play out scenarios , engage in cooperative play and even problem solve. It also gives the imagination and kid’s natural creativity a great outlet !  This camping pretend play is so easy and offers lots of  situations to act out, from traveling to the camp ground, hiking, fishing for dinner and telling bedtime stories. Of course those were just our ideas your child will come up with their own.The campfire craft is a great opportunity to drive home fire safety rules and procedures  too !

Campfire Craft

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a long paper roll or a few shorter ones. We used a roll from wrapping paper. Also some orange , red and yellow tissue paper, some double stick  tape , scissors and a brown marker. You may also want some clothes pins.
  2. Start by coloring the roll.
  3. Next cut in 3
  4. Rip your paper. Random ripping works best. We were out of red so I cut some red cellophane that I had.
  5. Add tape to your rolls in the middle and have your child add the paper. This is why I like using double stick, that way I can place the tape and it’s sticky and ready for him to add the flames.
  6. Next tape the rolls together. This is where I used the clothes pins. I used double stick tape then held it together with the clothes pins for 30 minutes before playing.

While that sat we made some snacks for the camping trip!

We made some trail mix ( cereal, dried cherries and pumpkin seeds)

Then we packed some other favorites into our “cooler” aka my son’s lunch box.

We popped a sheet in a back pack, grabbed a lantern and made a car out of the kitchen chairs.  Packed our stuff in the trunk and got buckled in. Then drove for 51 hours to the campsite.

Unpacked.

Got settled with a snack

Then told ghost stories by the fire.

Time for bed!

It took 5 minutes of gathering items to have a fun morning of pretend!

What is your child’s favorite pretend play activity?