No-Sew Superhero Cape

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Superhero play – and any type of dramatic play – can help children build their self-esteem, overcome fears, work on social skills, and act out real life scenarios so they can learn how to take charge of their own worlds. In this week’s at-home activity, you and your child will make a simple, no-sew superhero cape using materials easily found either at home or in thrift shops.

What We’re Learning & Skills We’re Building

  • Dramatic play – pretending to be a superhero can help build children’s self-esteem so they can feel powerful and capable of solving problems 
  • Communication – expressing ideas, needs, and emotions through pretend roles 
  • Gross motor skills – using the large muscles to run, jump, and climb as a superhero 
  • Creative expression – expressing personal creativity by making individual choices when decorating a cape


  • Cotton T-shirt (for most preschoolers, use L or XL children’s T-shirt, or S or M women’s T-shirt. (Larger shirts may need to be trimmed at the bottom so they don’t drag on the floor) 
  • Adult use only: Scissors that can cut through fabric (or vinyl if using iron-on transfers)
  • Thick, permanent markers or fabric markers/pens 

Optional Materials

Making the Cape 

(Note: Adults: larger sharper scissors work best for cutting the shirt. Your child can help draw lines on the shirt where the cuts will be made.)

  1. Cut the sleeves off the T-shirt.
  2. Open up the side seams by cutting from each armpit down to the bottom of the shirt.
  3. Lay the shirt flat with both the front and the back spread out. Leaving the collar intact,    cut off the front of the shirt completely (only the ring of the collar and the back of the shirt will still be connected once the front is cut off).
  4. Have your child slip the collar ring over their head to check the cape’s length. Cut the length so it doesn’t hang below the back of their knees no superhero wants to accidentally step on their cape when they’re standing up!

Ideas for Decorating 

• Draw on the cape with markers or paint. If you’re using washable markers or paint, your drawing will stay on only until it is laundered. If you’d like a more permanent design, you can use fabric markers or fabric paint.

• Create a homemade stencil out of heavy cardstock or cardboard. Your child can either choose a design or draw one, then you can cut out the shape using scissors or an exacto knife. Place the stencil on the cape, tape down the edges, and use a marker or paint to fill in where the shape was cut out. (Examples: the first letter of your child’s name, a lightning bolt, a heart, etc.) 

• Add decorative fabric scraps to the cape using fabric glue or hot glue. Regular school glue will work, but it’s not as durable and it will disintegrate when put through the wash. 

• Use iron-on transfer designs as decoration. These can be found online at Etsy or Amazon, or in craft stores like Michael’s. Or you can make your own iron-on transfer designs by cutting out shapes from heat transfer vinyl sheets or by printing images onto heat transfer paper.


Help Your Child Become a Superhero!

  • Talk about what a true superhero is: Superheroes are helpers. They rescue people, they save the day, and they do good deeds. Emphasize positive superhero behaviors and help guide these behaviors into your child’s play. 
  • Tell your child that some of the action “heroes” you see in movies, TV shows, and video games are violent, and they might take actions that hurt instead of help others.
  • Superhero play can help your child explore moral values and dilemmas. 
  • Superhero play can also help spark your child’s imagination and help them feel less scared about things that make them feel powerless.

Read through this article to learn more about positive superhero play. 


The Importance of Dramatic Play

Young children learn many new and challenging skills, and they often feel helpless and unable to accomplish what they want to do. That’s one reason superheroes are larger than life for many young ones – they’re courageous, powerful, and seemingly able to overcome obstacles with great physical prowess while often protecting the small and weak. Early childhood educators understand that superhero play – and any type of dramatic play – helps children overcome fears, work on social skills, and act out real life scenarios and emotions so they can learn how to take control of their own worlds.