Superhero Ideas for the Early Years

I started off this topic with a letter addressed to Reception. It was from the Joker to say that he had kidnapped all of the small world superhero characters.  The children were outraged and I feigned serious distress!  We hadn’t set anything on the tables that morning because we wanted to see what the children would come up with.   A few of them suggested building a trap to catch the Joker.

I jumped on this idea suggesting that the children work together to plan and design a trap and that we could then go outside and build them. To say that there was a writing buzz is an understatement.  Almost every single child wanted to design a trap. Some worked alone and others worked together, drawing and writing on big sheets of sugar paper.

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The children used a variety of materials outdoors to build their traps…

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Some of the girls chose to remain indoors and made a trap using the small wooden blocks. They explained that the red pom poms were bombs – terrifying!imageThe following day the Joker delivered another note, taunting the class, explaining that their traps hadn’t worked and that he was still at large.  He told them to look out for signs saying ‘superhero challenge’ around the setting.  If the children were able to complete the challenges he would begin to return a few of the superheroes each day.  

These challenges lasted over a period of about 2 weeks and appeared indoors and out, some times popping up on the interactive whiteboard during phonics and others in their home learning folders.  Below are some pictures of the various challenges. 

Shoot the Baddies

Outside the kids found one of the signs on the side of the shed along with some pictures of various baddies with tricky words superimposed on top.  Their task here was to shout out the tricky word and then shoot the baddie with a gun from Poundland.

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Free the Superheroes

At the funky fingers table their task was to free the superheroes who had been tied up (threaded).

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Unlocking Padlocks

Each padlock had a number to 20 written on it.  The keys all had tags attached with instructions ‘1 less than ….’ The children had to find the padlock that was one less than the number on the key.  The children absolutely loved this activity and were queuing up to have a turn!

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Doubling Salad

Another challenge was for the children to make a superhero salad.  They had to pick their favourite ingredient, choose between 1-5 pieces and then double the portion.

I used polystyrene plates from Poundland and thought they were a great visual aid for teaching the concept of doubling.

They put one set of ingredients in one side of the plate and then the equivalent amount in the other side, hence calculating the double. They then counted how many pieces altogether into the central compartment.

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For the more able children I had them record their answers on a recipe sheet.

EYFS superhero ideas

Potion Making

Later in the week we also set out potion making ingredients in the mud kitchen, along with some writing frames.  We used strong scented items such as ginger, lemon and herbs under the premise that the strong smell would help to keep the Joker at bay.  They absolutely loved it as you can see from the photos below…

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Superhero Role Play

We also developed a superhero den indoors.  We kept it relatively simple with a dark tent, lots of superhero books, torches, writing frames and some craft supplies for costume making. 

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The topic of superheroes always captivates the children.  We got some fabulous writing and independent learning over the few weeks we ran it.  Even now they blame anything that gets broken, or goes missing, on the Joker 🙂

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Challenging Outdoor Activities for Boys

Every morning as soon as we leave the carpet and the doors to outside open, my boys take off at 100mph and would happily spend the rest of the day chasing each other around the setting like maniacs, with their k-nex guns in tow.  Obviously doing this all day, every day is not very conducive to learning and so we constantly have to try to think of other ways to engage and challenge them that will give them just as much of a thrill.

Last week 2 activities I came up with had them, to my amazement, enthralled for hours. Hooray 🙂

Water beads and guttering challenge

Last week was too cold for water play outside, so we put some blue water beads in the water tray instead. The boys were enjoying hurtling them down a single piece of guttering from the water tray into the tuff spot below.

Water bead challenge

I moved the tuff spot further away, put out the guttering stands and more pieces of guttering and set them a challenge – to move the water beads from the water tray to the tuff spot, using the pieces of guttering, without spilling any.  

This perhaps doesn’t sound overly challenging but it really flummoxed my kids! It took them a good 20minutes to work out how to 1. Slant the guttering to make the beads roll and; 2. How to link the pieces of guttering together.

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Once they achieved this, more experimentation ensued; slanting the guttering higher/lower to make the beads travel faster/slower.

Water bead challenges- move the beads along the guttering without dropping any

imageIt had the children, particularly the boys, captivated.  It was a great one to stand back and observe because of all the wonderful active learning and problem solving happening.

Car Race

The following day the boys were getting a bit lairy indoors with the cars, whizzing them up and down the classroom at break neck speed, so I directed them outside to the guttering. Again it took them some time to position the guttering correctly, but when they got it in place, boy was engagement high! They absolutely loved hurtling them down the ramp and seeing whose travelled furthest. Originally I had positioned a measuring stick at the bottom of the ramp, but them remembered something I’d seen on Pinterest and added numbers to a piece of guttering. Of course they became even more competitive whilst learning to recognise numbers amongst lots of other skills. 👍

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Please excuse the minging rug! We replaced our indoor rug and temporarily used our old one outdoors until it was well and truly destroyed! The children enjoyed building on it with the community bricks and pretending it was a bedroom/living room.