Open Discussion Forum

Subject: Superhero, monster play

1.  Superhero, monster play

Posted 6 days ago
Hi Educators,
Looking to help build interpersonal play skills with a child fascinated by the hero journey's play(fighting against something) and is seen as
threatening to peers who aren't interested in that kind of play.
Any suggestions welcomed
thank you
Elaine

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Michael Knuckey
Executive Director
Children's House Preschool
Boulder CO
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2.  RE: Superhero, monster play

Posted 5 days ago
Why not go with his play style and get into it with him by creating superhero helps other children and positive scenarios of how helpful the superhero is. You can act like a superhero also and help children in their relationships. Let me know if you do it and how it goes. Its like "play therapy"

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Scott Mesh
New York NY
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3.  RE: Superhero, monster play

Posted 5 days ago
We have tried working with his play, and involving others, but his play is VERY physical, and is a safety concern to all in his vicinity.

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Michael Knuckey
Executive Director
Children's House Preschool
Boulder CO
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4.  RE: Superhero, monster play

Posted 5 days ago
At the Gesell Institute, we teach Ages and Stages of Child Development to teachers across the country. This sounds to me like a developmental four year old at their best! If there are other children at different stages (which is likely) in the classroom, they may not be as on board or enthusiastic with this type of play. Let the ones who are at this stage and enjoy and experience this play (it grows their developing brain) and the ones who aren't there can choose other options for play. Contact us for more information. We have a great webinar/seminar on Growing Brains Playfully!

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Erin Akers, M.Ed.
Gesell Institute of Child Development
New Haven CT
erin@gesellinstitute.org
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5.  RE: Superhero, monster play

Posted 5 days ago

I've had several children this age with the same interests - here's what helped in my program:

  • Denote a special area for the "hero" play, so it doesn't spill over into areas where it could disturb the other children.
  • Make sure this particular child has LOTS of vigorous gross motor play, preferably outdoors. Chances are he needs outlets for all that energy.
  • Ask mom or dad to park up to a mile away from school and then walk him to school in the mornings, if at all possible. The energy output will likely calm him a little and may even make it possible for him to also focus on other interests that aren't so active at times.


Hope that helps - good luck!


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Hazel Osborn, M.A.
Loveland CO
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6.  RE: Superhero, monster play

Posted 4 days ago
Without knowing the details of this child's behavior, it occurs to me that a project approach to this issue might work.  A study of heroes and superheroes would surely turn up the fact that the vast majority of heroes are not fighting against someone or something, but STRIVING against something.  (What a great vocabulary word!!)  Preschool is not too young an age to tell stories about mythical heroes and how they strive to overcome adversity (another great vocabulary word!).  But stay away from the "superheroes" like Batman, who do WAY too much fighting, and not much striving.  I'm thinking that those children who are interested in the project could design heroes who can overcome great challenges (!) such as hunger, bullying, floods, other natural disasters.  What special powers would they need?  How could they help people?  Or even better if the children come up with challenges themselves.  And I'm thinking you could build on the "Super Friend" social story from the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) ( http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/resources/strategies.html#scriptedstories   )   Keeping the focus on challenges to overcome rather than people to fight should move him away from his preoccupation.

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Joseph Appleton
ECE Consultant and Artist in Residence
Dayton VA
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7.  RE: Superhero, monster play

Posted 4 days ago
Michael,

So if a smaller intervention has not worked then it could be helpful to get a mental health professional or special ed professional with a mental health background to further assess and recommend a course of action. An effective specialist can help identify all understand where this is coming from which could be home or other environment that the child is exposed to, it might involve trauma or other adverse childhood event, and the specialist(s) could recommend intervention which might be helpful. In a quick search of Boulder I see some special education programs and services which might help. My background is child psychology and special education. Feel free to give me a buzz if you wish to chat about the situation further. 2127879700 x0
Scott Mesh, PhD, CEO
Los Niños Services
Young Child Expo | Expo and Conference

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Scott Mesh
New York NY
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8.  RE: Superhero, monster play

Posted 4 days ago
You may have to find a different way for the child to feel empowered. This is a great article about the importance of superhero play. Leadership Development through Superhero Play, Up, Up and Away!
The Genius of Play remove preview
Leadership Development through Superhero Play, Up, Up and Away!
'Can young children be taught leadership skills?' I have been fascinated with children's superhero play and its implications in their development. It struck me one day that the two can be married and it can be a happy marriage where we can expose children to desirable skills that lead to leadership development by using Superhero play.
View this on The Genius of Play >


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Anne Strom
Naperville IL
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9.  RE: Superhero, monster play

Posted 2 days ago
Anne Strom, thank you for the link to The Genius of Play. There was a previous discussion started by a new teacher, who was concerned that her colleagues weren't on board with the idea of allowing free play to be an integral part of her classroom. I hope she's still on this site, and can benefit from the link you shared. I will!

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Mary Russell
Journeys Out Yonder
Boulder CO
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10.  RE: Superhero, monster play

Posted 2 days ago
Thank you all for the suggestions and the resources.

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Michael Knuckey
Executive Director
Children's House Preschool
Boulder CO
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11.  RE: Superhero, monster play

Posted 11 hours ago
Hi, Michael!
I am a bit late to the discussion but wanted to share that a Pre-K teacher I know once had an over abundance of superheroes fighting each other in her classroom, so she started asking the children the details of their super heroes. From those conversations came a heroes museum (the children became their heroes and with the touch of a "button", visitors could learn more), discussions and activities that grew their knowledge of the characteristics of good and bad, and a visit from a graphic novelist who helped them start a book about super heroes. It's definitely a developmental characteristic of boys and girls in this age group and with some teacher interest, could become an amazing exploration of everything hero (much higher like Joe Appleton mentioned).
Aside from exploring, the teacher could also have a group meeting where the superhero and his alleged enemies (those unwilling classmates) could come together and make the rules for engagement - they can say they don't want to play and he must find someone else who does. This will help him respect his classmates' wishes and possibly hear them say they don't like how he plays.


Wishing you, the teacher, and the super hero much luck!

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Shawna Daniels
Carrboro NC
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