Would you rather fly or have the ability to see in the dark? Understand any animal or change color to match your surroundings? In today’s teatime, we’ll be exploring the wide world of superheroes and super poetry!
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The word “superhero” has only been around since 1899 (according to the Oxford English Dictionary), but early versions of supers have been around for much longer than that. Some people consider Robin Hood an early “superhero,” with his amazing longbow abilities and crime-fighting skills. There’s also the Scarlet Pimpernel, a fictional British aristocrat who went undercover in France to rescue aristocrats during the French Revolution!
Today’s superhero tradition really kicked off in the 1930s with the rise of comic strips and comic books centered on characters with exceptional skills or superhuman abilities. The success of Superman in 1938 led to a whole wave of superheroes in the comics.
Did you know…?
Let’s start off with some fun facts about superheroes.
- Everyone knows that kryptonite is Superman’s only weakness. But did you know that it was originally developed to give the voice actor for Superman a break when he got sick? His stand-in would come in to the studio, record a few groans, and give the other actor a rest!
- The Incredible Hulk was originally designed to be grey, not green! But the printers thought that grey made the Hulk look sick, so they chose to go with his iconic green instead.
- Iron Man has over 50 suits designed for all sorts of purposes, from flying to deep-sea diving. Also, in some early versions of the comics, his feet would turn into rollerblades to help him move quickly!
- Batman is named after two historical figures, Scotland’s Robert the Bruce and the American Revolutionary Mad Anthony Wayne.
- Although Wonder Woman is famous for her crime-fighting and world-saving stunts, her alter ego, Diana Prince, has held lots of jobs over the years. She’s been a glamorous spy as well as a fast food employee! She was even a romance novel writer for a while.
Superheroes come in all shapes, powers, and sizes. In today’s teatime, we’ll get a chance to explore lots of possibilities for superpowers. But first, let’s set the stage for teatime with these decorations, foods, and activities!
- City skyline: Since so many superhero books are set in cities, why not bring a city to your living room in today’s teatime? Cover old tissue or cereal boxes and in black construction paper with white or yellow squares for the windows. You can also talk about why so many stories are set in cities, or what a superhero might save in the countryside!
- Comic book decor: Use comic book printables like these from Kids Party Works to decorate your table or walls. There are tons of options, from sound effects to your favorite superhero characters!
- Superhero masks: Decorate your own superhero masks! Use templates and guides like these from First Palette or these from the Craft Train. Get really creative by sticking objects like leaves or flowers to your mask. Then, make sure you display your masks during teatime!
Superpowered Treats & Drinks
- Real-life superfoods: This idea may take a bit of prep, but it’s so much fun! Look up the nutrition values or the vitamins or minerals of some of your teatime food options. Then, label the food with those “powers.” For example, carrots give you “super vision,” while peanut butter gives you “super strength”!
- Foods that snap, crackle, and pop!: Add some foods to your teatime that make fun sounds! Whether it’s rice krispies, popcorn, or pop rocks candy, there are all sorts of fun foods to choose from. You can even drink a fizzy drink like soda for more sound effects!
- Kryptonite: Serve some green “kryptonite” food or drinks at your teatime to see if anyone dares to taste the food that would destroy Superman! Use green veggies like broccoli or cucumbers, sweet treats like green jello, or green food coloring with cake, cookies, or rice krispie treats.
- Hulk “punch”: For a simple and fun summer drink, try this recipe for lemon-lime Hulk “punch” from Mom on Time Out. All you’ll need is some lime sherbet, lemon-lime soda, and a few fresh limes.
Super Activities & Games
- Secret identity game: Everyone will need some form of glasses or sunglasses and fake features such as a mustache, a mole, or a fake scar. You can find cheap disguises at a dollar store or create them by using construction paper and tape! Then, have everyone pretend to be their secret identity during today’s teatime! Bonus: develop an accent.
- Superpower shuffle: For this game, have everyone write down a couple of the quirkiest, weirdest superpower ideas on pieces of paper. Put all the papers into a hat. On separate pieces of paper, write out ideas of scenarios or tricky situations where superpowers would be useful (like a cat stuck in a tree or boat in a storm). Put those in a different hat. Have everyone choose two superpowers from the first hat, and then choose one scenario from the second hat for the whole group. Each person needs to argue why their superpower would be the best for saving that particular situation!
- Write your own comic: Use a comic book template like this one from Picklebums to write your own superhero adventure! Try to plan out a beginning, a middle, and an end for your story. If you’re up for a really tricky challenge, you can even try using rhymes!
- Newspaper to the rescue: For a bit more serious take on the superhero prompt, pick out news articles or load the website for a kid-friendly news source like News for Kids or Time for Kids. Have everyone pick a headline that they would like to change. They can use a superhero power to think about how they would change the problem. Then, have them brainstorm real-life ways to bring change to the world.
So go on and design your own superheroes, secret identities, and ways to rescue the world! Enjoy celebrating superheroes in your next teatime!
Superhero Poetry Books
The Superheroes Employment Agency, by Marilyn Singer
Even Superheroes Have Bad Days, by Shelly Becker
Even Superheroes Make Mistakes, by Shelly Becker
Heroes and She-roes: Poems of Amazing and Everyday Heroes, by J. Patrick Lewis