3 2 1 BLAST OFF!

Even from an early age, kids are interested in space. Both of my boys were obsessed with finding the moon as babies, and as they grew, they became interested in rocket ships, planets and stars too. Even as an adult, I find space fascinating and never cease to be humbled by the new things I learn about it every time I read a fresh article about what’s beyond our own home planet. Take our galaxy, the Milky Way, for example- it would take a modern space craft 450,000,000 years to travel to its center- and that’s just our galaxy, which is tiny compared to the whole universe! Mind. Blowing. Right? Anyway, the deep seated interest humans have with what’s beyond our planet lead me to believe a week devoted to learning about space was definitely something we had to do! So buckle up your space suit (or do they Velcro? zip?) and let’s blast off into some super fun space themed learning!

Name rocket: I cut out a colorful rectangle for each letter of my littles’ names, had them practice writing the letters in their names on each rectangle (I helped my toddler write them of course- my preschooler did them himself), then had them identify and glue down the letters in the correct order to make a rocket! (For my toddler I spread out all the letters in the wrong order, then asked him to find each one since he knows a few. If your little is just starting to notice letters, you can also do this by pointing out each one yourself and talking to them about it – ie. “Oh look! S is the first letter of your name! This is the letter S! Let’s glue that to the top of your rocket!”)

P is for planet dot page: When my preschooler was 2, I started working on letters with him, but since he didn’t have the fine motor skills to write them yet, I would have him complete do-a-dot pages (or just write the letter on a sheet of paper and have him “dot the line” to make the letter), so I thought I would start doing this with my toddler since he’s turned 2. He loves learning letters and “doing pages” like his big brother! LoL

Star counting book: I stapled together a few pages of black paper then wrote the numbers 1-5 with a number on each page. Then I told my little what each number was and gave him star stickers to put on each page that matched the numbers. I counted the stickers as he stuck them down too.

Star color match: I cut out small squares of different colored construction paper, hung them on the wall, then had my little match colorful stars to each square. As he matched, we named the colors together. (ie. “This star is red, can you stick the red star to the red paper? Good job! You found the red paper!”)

Star print painting: I gave my littles some black construction paper, star cookie cutters and yellow and white paint. Then I had them use the cookie cutters to make star prints on their papers. I got this idea from Mrs. Plemon’s Kindergarten.

Constellation art: My little loved this activity and it was great hand eye coordination practice (and so easy to set up!) You just make a constellation on a sheet of black paper by drawing dots and lines with a white colored pencil or crayon. Then have your little place star stickers on each dot! I got this idea from The Measured Mom.

Constellation light box: Another gem from Mrs. Plemon’s Kindergarten! We set up our light box by flipping a large plastic storage container over a set of battery operated lights. I covered the top with vinyl transfer paper (clear contact paper would work too) to make it “dry erase”. Then I placed a bunch of star reusable ice cubes we had on hand on top (foam stars or cut outs would work too!) and gave my littles each a dry erase marker. I reviewed with them what constellations are (pictures in the stars) and showed them how they could use the light box to make their own constellations by placing the stars in a certain way then connecting them with their marker. Then I let them play!

-“Moon dust” sensory play: I poured some flour into our sensory play cake pan then added some balls (for meteors), star cookie cutters, and a Snoopy moon buggy we had laying around (later the boys got out their toy robot figurines to add to the mix! lol) My preschooler explored how meteors can effect the moon’s surface by dropping balls of different sizes and weights and from different heights then checking out how it effected the depth and width of the crater. They both had a blast using the bin for imaginary play too- definitely a hit! I go the idea from a PBS Kids parents email this past summer- their website is great too for finding new and fun learning ideas!

Foil print moon: My littles used a ball of tin foil and various shades of grey and white to “pounce paint” on a paper plate and create a textured moon. (I showed them how to paint using this technique first- you just dab the foil ball in the paint, then dab it at random all over your page- or in this case plate!) When they were dry, we cut the center of the plates out to make moons. I got this idea from A Dab Of Glue Will Do.

DIY moon rocks: These came out so pretty and were super easy to make! First I showed my littles pictures of real moon rocks from the internet. Then, we found rocks outside, brought them in, painted them black and added gold and silver glitter. (When they were dry, I decoupaged them to lock the glitter in.) I got this idea from The Crafting Chicks.

Supply/shopping list:

  • tin foil
  • flour
  • cake pan
  • star cookie cutters
  • colorful star stickers
  • rocks
  • glitter
  • large storage bin
  • battery operated lights
  • star cut outs or reusable star ice cubes
  • dry erase markers
  • contact or transfer paper

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