Superhero month lifts off at Chicago Children’s Museum

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … superhero month at the Chicago Children’s Museum!

If your little one can’t get enough of Spiderman, Batman and all their superfriends, the museum is the place to be this month, as it celebrates the superhero in each of us.

This is the second year CCM has dedicated a month to superheroes, which Tsivia Cohen, associate vice president of family learning, says was a result of seeing a strong interest in superheroes among the museum’s young patrons.

“We see them in the museum with towels stuck in the back of their shirts,” Cohen says. “Kids are naturally drawn to superheroes.”

The month-long celebration will include daily programs emphasizing movement and imagination at 2:30 p.m. Children can create a mini-superhero to “fly” down the museum’s conveyor belt or design their own cape that emphasizes what makes them special.

“We’re keeping the discussion very personal to children and really thinking about what their aspirations might be,” Cohen says. “They’re really working on their identity and how that could really enlarge into something ‘super.'”

And the superpowers kids come up with aren’t always the ones you might expect. Cohen remembers one child whose superhero had the ability to spread love – although she does note that they’ve seen a fair number of “Hulks” as well.

The month is capped by Super Alpha-Palooza from 1:30-3:30 p.m. on March 7 and April 1, in which members of the museum’s staff dress up like their own superheroes whose names correspond to the letters of the alphabet. Children find all 25 – the letter “Y” stands for “you,” so kids must devise their own super-identity – and get their autographs, in order to reinforce literacy skills,

Natalie Kreiger, director of public relations for the museum, says these alter egos often specifically are chosen by staff members according to things they want to stress to the kids.

“As the staff come up with it, we’re trying to hold to this idea that superheroes are very personal,” Kreiger says. “It’s this idea that we create these superheroes [sometimes] to counteract things we find very personal or struggle with.”

Kreiger’s super-identity, Kid Courageous, was inspired by her own childhood struggle with nervousness and fear, and a desire to help kids be more courageous. Cohen’s, on the other hand, is Vida Veggie, a character that focuses on healthy eating.

Cohen observes that kids also choose superpowers that counteract their fears or help them to deal with a situation in which they don’t have much power.

But beyond all that, Superhero Month is mostly about being creative and having fun.

“March just feels like you want to fly,” Cohen says. “You’ve been locked up all winter and now there’s a little breeze in the air and you want to take off.”

That does sound pretty super.

Kreiger’s super-identity, Kid Courageous, was inspired by her own childhood struggle with nervousness and fear, and a desire to help kids be more courageous. Cohen’s, on the other hand, is Vida Veggie, a character that focuses on healthy eating.

Cohen observes that kids also choose superpowers that counteract their fears or help them to deal with a situation in which they don’t have much power.

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