Updated: Jul 18
Having kids create their own superheroes can be a healing activity for children, especially those who have experienced trauma. It can be insightful to see what kind of superhero they choose. What superpowers would they have? Who would they rescue? What community would they serve? How old were they when they became a superhero?
Kids who have experienced trauma often have a sense of powerlessness. They desire to be strong and powerful so that they don't become a victim again. Role-playing through using superheroes can help them feel that sense of strength to overcome hard things. You can use the stories that are told to help kids develop problem-solving skills and to challenge irrational thoughts. Depending on your primary counseling theory, you can use these tools in many different ways.
The following ideas offer a variety of ways to use superheroes in play therapy. The ideas include crafts, games, exercises, and play ideas.
by Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls
Aren't these the cutest? The supplies are cheap and accessible and this craft will lend itself well to allowing kids to come up with their own ideas. These are made from pipe cleaners, felt, beads, wooden beads for the heads, staws, and googly eyes. Visit the site for details on how to assemble them.
by Fun Learning for Kids
This is a fun idea if you have space for the boxes. She created buildings with the boxes and placed them on a play mat with roads to make them look like a city. I have the same mat in my office. I think it was $6 at Ikea. You can raid your sand tray toys for superhero figurines or use Lego people. You could also add toy cars to the mix.
Related Post: Why Play Games in Therapy?
by Sara J Creations
I like this one for several reasons. One is that it gives kids a preset amount of supplies to work with. Some kids can completely drain your supplies if they are not limited. Secondly, it's a totally blank slate with no standard for how the superhero "should" look. Thirdly, it's a good mix of different textures and colors making it a sensory experience. Finally, a LOT can happen while kids are creating. Some like to chat and process and others like to focus on the task at hand. But, in the end, you have a superhero you get to discuss.
By WholeHearted School Counseling
This is a game show-style game that is created to use with the book by Shelly Becker. I love how it normalizes that everyone has bad days and everyone has to learn how to cope with difficulties. The game that follows the story drives home the concepts and personalizes the experience for kids.
by Mas and Pas
While it is fun playing with superheroes, it is even more fun to be one! These are simple capes you can make with no sewing involved. They are made from colored T-shirts with some added velcro and felt for the designs you can glue on. Follow the link to get the instructions.
by Messy Little Monster
These are fun little puppets you can use to engage in superhero play. They are made with common craft supplies that you likely have on hand. She offers a free printable for the superhero symbols. If you enjoy puppets, don't miss my post with TONS of ideas.
by Britni Vigil
This post has a bunch of superhero game ideas. A Hulk game has 2 players pop a balloon using a "Hulk Smash" where each person uses one had to smash the balloon between them. There are also games for Black Panther, Captain America, Iron Man, and many more. It's definitely worth checking out. These would be great for group activities.
by Fun Learning for Kids
I don't know why I don't think of mixing activities more often. With this one, get out your superheroes and your play dough and let the kids run with creativity. I love the picture of the boy enclosing the superhero in the play dough. There are so many ways to use this in storytelling or processing themes.
by The Joys of Boys
Superheroes need weapons. This one looks easy to make and would be loads of fun. You cut up pool noodles and use balloons to launch pom poms.
by Diary of a Real Housewife
This is a free printable game that you can play while working on all of your superhero therapy strategies. It is cute and would make a fun, quick game.
by Pink Oatmeal
For kids who need an energy release, these yoga poses could be really fun. Any type of exercise can help release pent-up emotions as well as release endorphins. And kids have so much energy! They are always in need of an outlet.
Related Post: Counseling Interventions for Teaching Coping Skills
Grab your free printable scavenger hunt from the link above. This would be fun for younger kids. The directions on the site call for using it when reading comics or watching movies, but it would also be fun to print a set and hide the characters around the office for the kids to seek out.
by Team Cartwright
This is a fun idea that is cost-effective. Follow the link above for the free printable superheroes to attach to the straw for this game. The goal is to see who can launch their superhero the furthest.
by Fireflies and Mud Pies
This printable comes with 13 unique cards and 1 calling card. I like the idea of printing and laminating the cards so that you can use dry-erase markers on it. Have you ever used beans and then had a kid get mad and pound the table? Ugh. Not good.
Related Post: Creative Ways to Use Dinosaurs in Play Therapy
by Itsy Bitsy Fun
These are some free mask templates to help kids individualize their own superheroes. Some are in full color and some are blank.
by The Activity Mom
This is an interactive activity for those kids who love to take something home with them. They can use beads the same color as their favorite superhero to make a bracelet to help them remember their favorite superhero's strengths.
by Big Family Blessings
These finger puppets are awesome! The price is right at free. Follow the link to get your copy and to make these adorable little puppets.
by The Shirley Journey
This takes tic-tac-toe up a notch. It is a fun design that the kids will love.
I hope you enjoy these superhero ideas. I'd love to hear your favorite ways to use superheroes or to hear how some of these ideas worked out. Enjoy!