Saturday, March 10, 2018

Superhero Training Academy

This program consists of a short storytime followed by interaction with several superhero themed stations! It is aimed at toddlers and preschoolers, ages 2-5. I've been wanting to do a superhero program ever since the 2015 CSLP summer reading theme "Every Hero Has a Story."  I finally got to do the program this year so I went all out :) We ended up having over 70 people show up! Here is what I did: 

1. Book: Even Superheroes Have Bad Days

This wonderful picture book discusses the many ways that superheroes handle their emotions during stressful events. The colorful illustrations of superheroes in many fun and action-packed scenes help depict the ways that children can channel their negative emotions into positive energy through techniques like burning off steam on a bike or a hike, to helping others.  It's on the slightly long side but the children really loved this one! They really enjoyed the quirky scenarios and illustrations and I witnessed many parents nodding along to this - seemingly to appreciate the overarching themes of the story. 

2. Action Song: Superhero, Superhero Turn Around
Superhero, superhero turn around
Superhero, superhero touch the ground
(There's lava on the ground! Ouch - hot!) 
Superhero, superhero put on your suit (Make actions like you are putting on your suit. Verbally tell children to "put it on in one swoop!")
Superhero, Superhero put on your boots (pretend to put on boots)
Superhero, superhero, jump up high
Superhero, superhero, fly, fly, fly
Superhero, superhero, turn around
Superhero, superhero, please sit down.
3. Book: Ten Rules of Being a Superhero 

This is just the best book!  Captain Magma and his trusty sidekick, Lava Boy describe all ten rules of being a good superhero like "a superhero must ALWAYS respond to a call for help" and "saving the day is messy. But everyone understands." On the  page below, I counted the number of cookies the superhero was holding and commented "wow, those are some huge cookies he is holding up! They are bigger than his whole head!" The kids got really amused by this. This was definitely a perfect book for the program. 

4. Flannel: Five Superheroes (I used the following shutterstock image for my superheroes

5 superheroes ready to fly
Here comes the villain, Stop that guy!
This superhero can save the day.
Off he/she flies - up, up, and away!
Count down from 4, 3, 2, 1 

5. Song: Laurie Berkner Superhero Song with scarves

6.  Book: Princess Super Kitty

This book is a classic and celebrates dramatic play in such a fun way! This picture book depicts the way a young girl transforms herself numerous ways from dressing up as a kitty to a princess kitty to a princess super kitty, and then the last page shows her being a very elaborate mermaid. I enjoy how it shows a nontraditional princess and the illustrations with the baby brother make it even more humorous. This book was also a nod to the girl kiddos in attendance! 


Vaporize the villains - pretty self explanatory. Silly string + foam board with pictures of villains glued on. I put pictures of villains on both sides so that once one side got too gross we could flip it over for another round of "vaporizing." :)  This would ideally be an outdoor activity but it's March and in Illinois that means it's still pretty chilly! I used cheap tablecloths to cover the carpet. Silly string is not super cheap though and this activity would be best if it could have a volunteer or staff member monitoring the activity the entire time to prevent one child from using an entire can of silly string spray. I did buy about 12 cans though and had to be a bit strict on how long kids used the string for towards the end of the program. Another tip is that some kids might have trouble pressing down on the can and it is recommended that caregivers do the spraying while these kids hold the hand over so they can feel like they are the ones doing the spraying. Once the silly string ran out, I suggested kids try to throw paper towel tubes at the villains. They surprisingly got a huge kick out of this. 

Mighty Muscles

I bought styrofoam shapes and duct taped this whole thing together. I bought these shiny fancy cardboard cake disks that were like $3 for part of the pretend weights. I know the semisphere is not exactly what weights look like but these hollow semispheres were the cheapest option. Plus they still got a kick out of it even though the dumbell wasn't the most realistic :) 

Tunnel of Fire. I duct taped orange, red, and yellow streamers from the top of the red pop up tunnel but they fell off shortly after the program started. Oh well! It was a fun idea in theory. The kids still loved crawling through the tunnel. I am not sure where this tunnel came from either - it was just in our storage closet but you can buy many of these online from Amazon and similar sites. 

Melissa & Doug magnetic dress up characters (both include superhero costumes for the girl and boy) I put the pieces on two separate cookie sheets. This way the small pieces don't get lost as easily!

Superhero villain ring toss - this was just a simple cone and ring toss game with images of villains taped to the cones. I don't have a picture of this activity, unfortunately!

Cuff decorating - cut paper towel tubes and then cut a slit down and it becomes a simple cuff bracelet for children. Children can decorate with jewels, feathers, markers, etc. Very inexpensive and easy to make. 

Mask decorating - we have several die cut shapes of masks that you just add an elastic to. I put out crayons, feathers, jewels, and die cut shapes to decorate them with. 

Shield decorating - You can buy them on Amazon or make them yourself from cardboard. You can also just duct tape the elastic down and I do recommend using thicker elastic than they did in the linked tutorial. Put out die cut shapes and markers to decorate. 

A few more pics:

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