April 22, 2016 – Prestige Preschool Academy – The Value of SuperheroPlay
The Value of Superhero Play
Ask a child, any child, about their favorite superhero and they will quickly name a superhero or princess—-Spiderman, Batman, Elsa, Rapunzel, Superman, Captain America…you name it! So, why the fascination with superheroes? Is there any value in children engaged in superhero and fantasy play? The answer is absolutely yes!
Superhero Play Supports Moral Development
The most common adult belief is that there is no importance or value in children’s fascination and type of play when it comes to superheroes. Most adults quickly dismiss it as nothing more as a common stage for young children—a frivolous type of play and fascination that children will soon outgrow.
The truth is that there has been much research to support children’s interests in these very popular and iconic characters, and how it supports various aspects of children’s development. Most of all, engaging in superhero play actually greatly supports moral development!
Superhero Play Empowers
Sometimes we view superheroes and superhero play as aggressive and potentially physically harmful, and one that promotes violence. However, adults quickly forget the values that superheroes actually instill in children. For one, superheroes give children a platform of feeling in control, empowered, and the all-mighty powers to create good in the world, a world in which they are already feeling small and powerless, and even helpless.
Superheroes, like Spiderman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, are all faced with moral dilemmas and must use their good to fight evil. In the article “Children’s Attitudes Toward Superheroes as a Potential Indicator of Their Moral Understanding” Justin F. Martin states that “superheroes often try to avoid the use of violence. They first try to resolve a situation by reasoning with villain. When that does not work and superheroes are forced to use violence, the goal is apprehension, not annihilation. Superheroes use violence only to prevent harm to others.”
Superhero Play Develops Character
According to Butler and Kratz in “From Superhero to Real-Life Hero: Encouraging Healthy Play,” when given the opportunity to connect superheroes to real-life heroes, we must “encourage healthy superhero play by creating opportunities outside of playtime to talk and read about what makes ‘good guys’ good. Qualities like determination, kindness, helpfulness, selflessness, and courage create heroes, not necessarily physical strength.”
Superhero Play Connects to Real Life
How can you help your child connect their fantasy superheroes to everyday real-life heroes like firefighters, police officers, war heroes, medical heroes, family and friends?
- Ask them critical, and open-ended questions about how these real-life heroes are alike and different from fantasy superheroes
- Ask children how they themselves are heroes in order to help build a healthy self-esteem
- Continue to foster their moral development and support them as they choose right from wrong and good from bad
- Actively help them construct a more just world
HOORAY FOR HEROES is part of the curriculum at Prestige Preschool Academy. In 2016, we will introduce our favorite superheroes!
Article By: Lisa Callejas, Assistant Director at Prestige Preschool Academy Morgan Hill