Superhero play encourages children to engage in role play by using the heroes in their lives to promote positive values and self esteem.
In recent years there have been some nurseries and school who have taken a zero tolerance policy on superhero play. However, early years practitioners and parents can use a child’s interest in superheroes as an opportunity to engage children in many exciting activities that can support all areas of their development.
This type of play develops cooperation and collaboration, enhances their imaginative ability and it helps children to develop a sense of right and wrong in a safe environment.
When they run, jump and climb, they develop their gross motor skills, and the repetition of phrases and acting out scenes helps to develop and embed their developing vocabulary. In fact, when we try and suppress this type of play, we can inadvertently encourage children to tell lies, for example, a Lego model of a gun rapidly becomes a mobile phone when we ask what it is they have made.
“It’s important to recognise that we don’t teach the children how to play with weapons,” says Chris Langdon, Bright Horizons Regional Manager, “but address their interests.” By using children’s imaginations to copy superheroes’ behaviour, we have an excellent opportunity to introduce all areas of learning, including reading and maths. Chris suggests, “When playing as knights you can ask them to draw numbers in the air with their swords.”
“It is essential to be adaptable, flexible and willing to change the activity.”
Chris concluded this inspiring session with the reminder that the children’s focus can change really quickly. “Ask the children what they want to do and know,” says Chris, “and do your own superhero research, otherwise you will lose all your credibility.”