Following the absolutely amazing experiences of the British astronaut; Tim Peak (if you haven’t watched the video of his space walk yet, check it out here), my fascination with space and our solar system has been renewed!
If I’m feeling this way, I’m willing to bet that others are feeling the same, therefore this is a brilliant opportunity to do some space themed learning with our children!
The curriculum for excellence includes a line of discovery which is directly related to space:
I have experienced the wonder of looking at the vastness of the sky, and can recognise the sun, moon and stars and link them to daily patterns of life. SCN 0-06a
That being said, as always, the experiences and activities which you offer to your children will cross into many of the curricular areas. Below are some of the ideas which I’ve come up with and how they may link to the curriculum:
Language & Literacy
- Make a ‘Word Wall’ display with the fantastic new language that you’ll be using, for example “rocket”, “planet”, “moon”…
- Stock up your story corner with Space books – both information and story
- Make up stories together about the man in the moon, astronauts or friendly aliens.
- Decorate paper plates to look like the different planets and add their names. Display these around the room.
- Add glitter/ coloured sand to your light box (and let the children know that it’s moon dust), then allow the children to mark make. Perhaps add ‘astronaut gloves’ for an extra challenge.
- Singling space songs (this also links in with expressive arts):
- Twinkle twinkle little star
- Mr moon, Mr moon, you’re out too soon
- 5 little men in a flying saucer
- Countdown (5,4,3,2,1, blast off!)
- Building up rocket pictures using shapes and colours (for example; can you make a rocket shape out of 3 squares, 2 semi circles and a triangle?)
- Comparing sizes, and using mathematical language – Jupiter is the biggest planet, the Earth is smaller.
- Add a sundial to your garden or outdoor area and observe with the children how the shadow moves. You may want to use chalk to draw around the shadow at different times so that the children can clearly see the movement. Link these observations with the idea of time. Perhaps take photos of the different shadows and display them around your clock.
- Connect the stars (like connect the dots) to make simple constellations – you can do this on paper with a pencil, or can bring in some fine motor skills by having the children thread wool through card, making a small hole at the point of each star so that the constellation becomes clear.
- Work together to create a fabulous cardboard space rocket or turn your role play area into mission control! Don’t forget to add space suits, helmets and space boots. There are loads of wonderful role play ideas on pinterest – I would encourage you to take a look! Simply search ‘Space role play.’
- Bored of paper? Paint space scenes onto tin foil for an interesting effect.
- Planet stamping (use sponge stampers or potato halves to stamp colourful circles onto black paper – add glitter/ sequins for a shimmery space result.)
- Build your own junk model rockets. As well as being creative, this activity also involves children thinking about which materials they are going to use (“should I use the square box or the cylinder tube?”) and problem solving (“how can I get this tube to stick on?”)
- Make some papier mache planets for the added bonus of sticky, sensory fun.
- Get dancing with some music and movement (why not have the children pretend to be rockets blasting off, or experiment with taking great big ‘moon steps’)
- Listen to some space themed music (why not try Holst’s Planets or Bowie’s Space Oddity)
- Try using musical instruments to imitate Sounds of a rocket (experiment with playing them loud/quiet/fast/slow)
- Build your own vinegar and baking soda rocket! Tutorial here
- Explore light and darkness with torches and lights in a Dark den
- Go out and look at the stars. If you have a real telescope then fantastic! If not, make some pretend ones with cardboard tubes – you can still go star gazing on a clear night!
- There are many wonderful websites which can be used for finding information and also for games and activities. Take a look at:
Let the children see the ISS live feed
- Watch videos of rocket launches, space walks and life in space. YouTube is a wonderful resource for this, but please always check the videos before you show your children and ensure that the ‘related videos’ bar is not showing anything inappropriate!
- Use the bee-bot or other programmable toys to learn about the space rover and remote control robots in space.
While writing this post, I also came across some other wonderful ideas which I would like to share!
Loads of space themed ideas here from Fun in Pre K-1 and Kinder (I particularly like the sounds of the ‘squishy sun’)
A lovely, visual activity to introduce children to the concept of planets orbiting the sun here from Gift of Curiosity.
I hope that I’ve given you a few ideas to inspire you when broaching this wonderful topic with your children! If you have any further ideas that you’d like to share, please comment, or tweet to me at @EarlyYearsIdeas. I’d love to hear from you!
Have a brilliant week everyone! Don’t forget to join us on Wednesday at 8pm for our weekly #childcarehour chat.