Heroes and Superheroes
If your children are crazy about Superheroes this is a fun theme day, but even if they’re not there are other types of heroes you can look at: historical heroes, heroes from Greek mythology, local heroes, heroic acts we can do in life, etc..
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
Discuss the differences between a superhero and a real life hero. You can talk about what courage is and how we can be brave every day without having super powers just by helping others and making right choices.
There are lots of songs about Superman. Try “Superman’s Song” by Crash Test Dummies, “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” by Five for Fighting, or “Kryptonite” by Three Doors Down.
For a song about heroes try “Holding out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler.
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Superhero Coloring Page” (or the name of your child’s favourite Superhero) or print out my “Super Me! Colouring Page.” Your child can either draw his own face in the picture or you can glue a photo of your child’s face in the circle. Be sure to have your child to write (or you can write for preschoolers) in the space “I am special because...”
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook: What does it mean to be a hero? Who are some fictional heroes? Who are some real life heroes? Who do you consider a hero? How can we be heroes every day?
Choose the level of your child:
¨ Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer
¨ Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
¨ Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
¨ Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response. (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)
¨ Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).
¨ As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story about a hero or being a hero.
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books with heroic characters.
Go to the library with your child to find some books on heroes.
Go to the library on your own to find books about heroes from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject. Reserve them if you can to save time.
Here are some picture books about heroes:
· Atomic Ace (He’s Just My Dad), by Jeff Weigel, Albert Whitman & Company, 2004 – Using rhyming text and comic book style illustrations this book tells the tale of what it’s like for a boy to have a superhero as a dad.
· The Bravest Mouse, by Maria Barbero (translated by Sibylle Kazeroid), North-South Books, 2002 – Sasha the mouse does not like looking different from the other mice due to his black spot around one eye but when he devises a plan to put the bell around the threatening cat he discovers his inner courage and sees his individuality as a good thing.
· Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero, by Anne Cottringer and illustrated by Alex T. Smith, Tiger Tales, 2008 – Eliot is a quiet boy by day, but that’s because when it’s midnight he becomes a superhero with a lot of work to do.
· Ker-Splash, by George O’Connor, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2005 – Two kids with active imaginations spend a day at the beach pretending to be superheroes when they realize they were mean to the boy’s little brother after being pushed around by a bully. They then team up with the little brother to save a crab in a bucket from the bully. It’s the illustrations alternating between pictures of the characters as children in costumes and pictures of adult superheroes that make this book especially fun.
· Perfect Man, by Troy Wilson and illustrations Dean Griffiths, Orca Book Publishers, Michael is the superhero Perfect Man’s biggest fan and when the hero retires the boy is certain his new teacher is Perfect Man in disguise but really the teacher guides Michael into believing in his own super powers of creativity and encourages the boy to write.
· Superdog: The Heart of a Hero, by Caralyn Buehner and illustrated by Mark Buehner, Harper Collins Publishers, 2004 – Dexter the dachshund dog may be little but he dreams big; he wants to be a superhero so trains and dones a costume and then heads out to help animals in need despite being teased by Cleevis the cat.
· Super Duck, by Jez Alborough, A duck in a superhero costume wants so much to be a hero and save the day for his friends...will he succeed?
· Superhero School, by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Andy Rash, Bloomsbury, 2009—When Leonard goes to Superhero school it is not exactly what he expected as his teacher actually teaches them their times tables, division, and fractions when he’d rather learn how to stop a runaway train or how to defeat evil robots, but his teacher is wiser than Leonard thinks when the class has to use their math skills to save their teachers and the day!
Here is a great book of poems that highlight real life heroes:
· Heroes and She-roes: Poems of Amazing and Everyday Heroes, by Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Jim Cooke, Dial Books for Young readers, 2005 – With twenty-one poems about real-life heroes from the broad (teachers and firefighters) to the specific (Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Joan of arc) this is a great book to start a conversation with your child about actos of service and true heroism.
CREATE YOUR OWN SUPER HERO:
These first two crafts are designed to help to create your own superhero. For these two crafts have your child invent his/her own Superhero. Your child must decide the following: a) What is the hero’s name, b) what is the hero’s super power, and c) what is the hero’s super colour.
My eldest son designed a worksheet to help him design his own superhero in more detail. Print out a copy of my TOP SECRET FILE worksheet and help your child fill it out before making the costume crafts.
Materials: Eye mask from a craft store or dollar store, paints, white glue and sequins (optional)
Step 1: Once your child has decided on the colour of his/her superhero let your child color and decorate the mask in any creative way.
Step 2: Let the craft dry before wearing the mask.
Materials: garbage bag, OR an old towel or sheet, OR some cloth, a safety pin (if you feel your child is old enough or else just use tape), paper, markers (OR special paints to draw on clothes), and tape.
Step 1: Have your child design a logo for his/her superhero on a piece of paper (or simply write the chosen name for them and have them decorate it).
Step 2: Tape the paper to the garbage bag (or if you are using cloth your child could write right on the cape using specialty markers from a craft store).
Step 3: Using a safety pin or tape (you know your child) attach the cape over his/her shoulders and around the neck.
Step 4: Let your Super Child have fun in his/her costume!
Materials: Coloured paper, stickers with various animals on them, markers and crayons (optional).
Step 1: Give your child the stickers and paper and have him/her either make a scene or a collage with them.
Step 2 (Optional): See if your child wants to embellish the picture with markers or crayons by drawing a setting for the animals.
FAMILY HERO RIBBON:
Discuss the different ways people can be heroic in everyday life. A hero helps others; if someone in the family goes out of their way to be helpful to someone they deserve the ribbon. A hero is brave; if someone in the family does something that required courage (for a shy child that could be giving an oral report at school or participating in a recital, or it could be something like walking away from a bully or helping someone who was being bullied) present them with a ribbon. A hero is strong; if someone participates in a sporting event or tries something new like riding a bike present them with the ribbon. A hero is intelligent; if your child brings home a good report card present them with a ribbon. The are many possibilities.
NOTE: For families with more than one school aged child make two or more ribbons.
Materials: red felt (from a craft store – or use paper), a cup, paper and markers, scissors (sharp ones for adults if you are using felt), white glue, a safety pin, glitter glue or stickers (optional).
Step 1: Cut out a long rectangle in the red felt for the ribbon.
Step 2: Trace a cup on the rest of the felt using a marker and cut out a circle.
Step 3: Using the same cup (or a smaller one for a different effect) trace a circle on a piece of paper.
Step 4: Give your ribbon a title like “Family Hero” and write the title on the paper circle.
Step 5: Let your child decorate the circle however he/she likes (stickers, glitter...).
Step 6: Glue the white circle on the red felt circle and then glue that near the top of the long red rectangle.
Step 7: When the glue dries attach the safety pin to the back of the ribbon.
Step 8: When someone in your family does something heroic present him/her with the ribbon at the dinner table and let him/her wear it for the evening and keep it in his/her room until it is presented to someone else at another time.
DRAW YOUR OWN SUPER HERO/COMIC:
If your child likes to draw encourage him/her to draw a picture of a made-up hero or even to draw his/her own comic book. There are many different books about drawing superheroes. You could even encourage your child to draw his/her own comic book.
Ingredients: a cube of cheddar cheese (or any type of hard cheese), a baby spinach leaf, a cherry tomato (or a grape or an olive), a toothpick.
Step 1: Spear the cube of cheese onto the toothpick and push down a little to make room for the next two ingredients (this is the body of the hero).
Step 2: Next spear the spinach leaf on top of the cheese (this is the cape).
Step 3: Lastly, spear the cherry tomato/grape/olive on top of the spinach (this is the head).
Step 4: Now blast off the snack towards your mouth for a super healthy snack!
Ingredients: a loaf of French bread (or similar large loaf of bread), various cheeses and lunch meats, one green pepper (thinly sliced), 1 tomato thinly sliced, lettuce leaves, ½ cup of mayonnaise, 2 tbsp of honey mustard, 1 tsp of red wine vinegar, ½ tsp dried oregano.
NOTE: Feel free to add other favourite toppings like sliced cucumbers or pepperoncini pickles as well.
Step 1: Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar and oregano in a small bowl.
Step 2: Cut the bread in half lengthwise.
Step 3: Spread the mayonnaise mixture on both sides of the cut bread.
Step 4: Layer the different types of deli meats and cheeses and the vegetables on the bottom half of the bread.
Step 5: Put the top half of the bread on top and cut diagonally to make many slices of the sandwich.
NOTE: This makes a BIG sandwich (fit for a hero or two or three...) so you may want to only make half a sandwich if you are feeding little bellies or just a few people.
Make your burgers as usual but place a slice of cheese on top of the patty and then draw a letter “S” on top to create a Super Logo for the burger.
Let your child create the perfect sundae fit for a hungry hero by presenting him/her with various toppings like coloured sprinkles, M&M’s, nuts (if there are no allergies), chopped bananas and strawberries (or other favourite berries), and chocolate fudge or caramel sauce.
Print out my “Who Are Real Superheroes?” worksheet and together as a family discuss various answers. You can use the books you’ve read for this theme day to help as well. Do you know any heroes? Are there any local heroes in your newspaper? What occupations would you consider heroic? Who are some historical heroes? What are the qualities of a hero (brave, strong, loyal, helping others, making right choices)?
Q: Which Superhero always comes to the rescue at lunch time?
A: Soup-er man!
Q: What is the name of a superhero for computers?
A: The screen saver!
Q: What drink do Superheroes like?
A: Fruit Punch!
If your child has any superhero action figures this theme day would be a great time to take them out and delay with your child.
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows about Superheroes or being brave.
For young children try this:
· The Wonder Pets
Here are some other choices:
· The Incredibles
· Larry Boy and the Bad Apple
To the rescue!
Make your own Superhero costumes:
My boys are Fire Bolt and Iron Boy
Family Hero Ribbons
Photo: C Wright
A drawing of a superhero by my 4 year old son.