On Friday, I had a parent approach me to ask for advice about her son and his seeming ‘obsession’ with Spiderman. She explained to me that she is worried Spiderman is effecting her sons play, turning it aggressive at home as well as spending to much time being Spiderman during solo play at home.
Superhero play can be tricky. In childcare, it is hard to establish boundaries and limits when it comes to superhero play. My attitude towards superhero play used to be laid back, just let them do it. But after noticing a continuing pattern of injuries and tears during superhero play among a group of boys, as well as listening to a parents concerns I began to look into it further.
Being a member of generation Y, I turned to google. It turned up some interesting points of view.
The National Childcare Accreditation Council has an interesting article which you can find here. It basically outlines what superhero play is, why children do it, and ways to support and extend upon superhero play, as well as how it relates to QIAS principles. It is essentially, a pro-superhero-play article.
The Media Awareness Network ( a Canadian website) also has an article outlining ways we can support and guide superhero play. You can read it here.
Great Schools (an American website) has this to say about superhero play. It points out the fact that children have been imitating larger then life characters since the days before television. It outlines ways to support positive superhero play, how we can recognise the ‘red flags,’ and how it can support learning.
After reading these articles, my view of superhero play changed. I felt silly that I had been so quick to condemn superhero play in my mind. It can be such a good opportunity for learning. But still, at the same time the overly aggresive behaviour has to stop.
On Tuesday when I go back to work, I plan on showing my room leader these articles and enforcing the following with the kids:
- A time and place where they are allowed to play spiderman/batman/buzz lightyear/darth vader etc
- Group discussions about superheroes in general and what qualities they have and why the children like them.
- Draw up a list with the children about who each child’s favourite superhero is
I am hoping that these things will help them feel like their superhero interests have been acknowledged and are valued. And then maybe things will calm down a bit.
Wish me luck!