Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Outer Space for Preschoolers - Part 2

Outer Space is a HUGE topic to cover, even for preschoolers. Moon, stars, planets, moon dust, moon rocks, and all. I was full of ideas when I brainstormed last week's activities. Here are a few more I came up with...the remainder to be presented later this week.

Lunar Soil

I recently "splurged" and bought a "special" case of PlayDoh featuring metallic and neon colors. My kids love Play Doh and I still haven't found any time to make my own so that was my reason to buy a new case of colors. To my greatest joy, there was a can of metallic grey in it! Shiny, glittery grey that was simply perfect to mimic lunar soil! So I thought I'd show Adrian pictures of the moon from afar and then close ups and then of its craters. Then, using a marble, I asked him to make him own lunar soil. Picture cards used are from a set I bought at B.J.'s last year at the beginning of the school year.

How many Moons does this Planet Have?

Children love the moon and don't necessarily know that there are many other moons out there. Adrian was surprised to hear that if he lived on Mars for example, two moons would keep him company at night and that over 60 would surround his planet if he lived on Jupiter! Using silver marbles from a marble maze we have, and planet cards (purchased at Target at the beginning of the school year in the dollar bins), Adrian had to distribute the right amount of moons for each planet. I stuck to the planets with less than 20 moons but informed Adrian that some had over 20.

Hunting for Stars

Here's an activity we have done in the past (during our "In the Woods" unit) that was well loved and worth repeating. I cut up some stars and stuck them on the walls in a darkened room. I gave Adrian a flashlight and told him how many stars were awaiting him on the walls. I wish I had taken the time to make the stars yellow as I had in the past but I was all out of yellow construction paper. :(

Matching Phases of the Moon

A yummy activity. Adrian loves the moon and has been wondering why it changes so this strip was a good way to show how the moon changes through the month. I thought that introducing creme sandwich cookies (Oreo Style...ours were from Back to Nature) to match with the phases would make it a bit lighter...and yummier! :) I must admit the idea of the cookie wasn't entirely mine. After looking for various ways to engage Adrian with the phases of the moon through Google Images, I saw so many "Oreo" phases of the moon that I just had to find a way to include it as well. I thought matching pictures and a more tangible item (the cookie) would make it easier to"digest"! :)

Cutting Strips featuring Planets

Still working on our scissor action here. Although the motion is getting better, it is still hard work so I still like to put cutting strips out there. I'm thinking of putting real metal scissors too now that the maneuvering is not as dangerous awkward for Adrian's fingers. These Melissa & Doug plastic scissors work well but not as well as a real pair. I printed these "strips using a generic planet collage I printed on simple paper (not even cardstock). You can print your own by visiting a page maintained by the University of Oklahoma's Dept. of Astronomy.

* * *
Loving the Outer Space Unit? Here's a little extra for you and your little ones: A short version from IMAX's 2006 's Roving Mars found on YouTube by my uncle who happened to send the link at the most appropriate time. Adrian has been watching the video everyday since. Enjoy!

I'm linking up to Montessori Monday today... 

Montessori Monday

as well as I can Teach My Child!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Kylie! You better believe Adrian loved it too! :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! I try to include cutting strips at least monthly to strengthen the hand muscles. Adrian loves cutting now that he's gotten better at it.

  3. Love the Oreo moon activity! These are really good ideas. My preschoolers will love learning about outer space! Thanks for sharing.

    1. You're welcome. Outer space is such a great topic to discover with preschoolers. I'm sure your little ones will enjoy it thoroughly.