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What’s your superpower? 

May 6, 2023
3 minute read

From Batman and Superman to goodies and baddies, superhero play takes on many forms and offers many fantastic child-led learning opportunities. However, a common concern from educators and parents is the safety of the children playing superheroes and the safety of the other children in the setting, if play becomes loud, physical or violent. It may be possible though to use these concerns as a teaching and learning moment. Children can be encouraged to self-assess their game; am I being safe? Is anyone going to get hurt by what I am doing? Could I play in a safer way? Involving children in these discussions is much more valuable than stopping play. There are also many other teaching and learning opportunities that can be explored through superhero play.

An opportunity to consider new concepts

Superheroes are positive role models for characteristics such as being kind, strong, brave and fair. Often these attributes can be explored in the moment through practitioner observation and discussion. It is also a good opportunity to explore the concepts of right and wrong, good and evil, life and death, and making good and bad choices. Practitioners need to be skilled in asking thoughtful and sensitive questions to expand a child’s thinking and learning.


A natural part of superhero play involves a storyline or narrative and an opportunity to play together in the same game, extending and elaborating on play ideas, developing the narrative and even their language and social skills; the children will need to cooperate and communicate with each other for the narrative to develop.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Even the most shy of children can feel empowered taking on the role of a superhero, which is a wonderful opportunity to be involved and make new friends. It is also a good moment to safely explore emotions beyond their normal range.  Conflicts will naturally arise in this sort of play too, but with conflict comes the chance to develop problem-solving skills, resilience and self-regulation.

Physical and active

We want children to engage in play which uses both fine and gross motor movement and this is certainly that type of play; running, jumping, chasing and holding tools, superhero play is certainly very physical. We can support children by making sure they are moving safely and have enough space to play and explore freely. This is also a great opportunity for children to take safe risks in their play and learn more about what their body can do.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to superhero play and every setting should approach it in their own way; supporting their team to follow the children’s interests and ideas, get involved in their play and embrace the learning opportunities that arise from such an engaging game. 

How do you approach superhero play in your setting? We’d love to read your comments. We welcome you to share this post with your team and on your social media too.

If you have enjoyed this post you might also enjoy our post The importance of water play in the early years

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