J has a fascination with space thanks to his love of Star Wars. It started as just an interest in the Star Wars planets but it then began to bring in our own universe too. He started to want to know about Earth, the moon, our planets etc.
We’ve been spending time exploring our world and universe, bringing in as much learning as we can but keeping it fun. Here’s a few of the activities we’ve got up to…
Space themed books (Literacy and language)
Books are expensive…I would happily fill my house top to bottom with books but let’s face it, I’d be broke in a matter of days! So we went to the library and borrowed space and science books FREE. The good thing is that you can get a few at a time so you can dip in and out the bits that interest your child. Here’s two that we’re currently working our way through:
I often gravitate to DK and Usborne books as they are kid friendly without being too ‘cartoony’. They have interesting facts written in a way that promotes learning and extending vocabulary. There’s some great experiments you can do with household items in the Weather Watch book which teach children about our own planet and the weather we experience.
Google Earth (ICT and Understanding the World)
This free app is amazing. It shows an image of the Earth and you can then explore the planet and everything on it. Sometimes J just zooms in and out looking at everything from volcanos to beaches. Other times we’ll search a particular topic and scroll through the images and facts. It’s a great way to view our own planet.
Visit local museums and exhibitions (understanding the world, expressive arts)
When you have a child under 5, museums don’t seem like an ideal place to visit. When I think museums, I think of the need to be quiet, keep hands to yourself and being sensible…things that children generally aren’t. However, now a days museums are a lot more family friendly. They often have little quizzes to do, things to touch and explore and although you can’t run riot there’s not such a ‘snobbish’ attitude anymore.
We’ve visited a few over time. One of our favourites being ‘Techniques‘ in Wales. It was full of experiments to do and things to listen and watch. They have a planetarium show too. We’ve also been to the Sea Life Centre. Yes, it’s not really space themed but it is all about our planet including ecological impact we have on the earth.
We have also been to an art exhibition celebrating the moon. It was created by Luke Jerram and given a temporary home in The Apex, Bury St Edmunds. It is a beautiful close up of the moon, with mood lighting and fantastic sensory invigorating sounds by Dan Jones. J’s jaw literally dropped when we walked in. It is as if they captured the moon and brought it indoors. We talked about the craters, the shape of the moon, what it’s made of and why we can’t live on it. We walked around it, sat watching it from the seats and laid down underneath it (very relaxing). There were others who were drawing it…I wish I’d thought of that idea as it would have been a great literacy and fine manipulative skill opportunity.
Follow NASA on Twitter (ICT, Understanding the World, language skills)
We follow NASA on Twitter and they post some amazing stuff. We have watched live launches and learnt all about how they get the rockets/probes up into space. We listen to the control room and join in with the countdown (always J’s favourite bit). The video footage is fascinating and we have a lot to talk about during it. It’s amazing seeing the technology. It’s a perfect STEM learning opportunity.
Craft Activities (Expressive Arts, fine manipulative skills)
J isn’t the most ‘arts and crafty’ child so something has to really take his interest for him to join in with activities. I found a Space themed activity pack on the Twinkl website which did peak J’s interest. We adapted some bits as J doesn’t like to get messy so often we swapped paint for pens, glue for cellotape etc.
The activities encourage you to talk about why you’re creating different bits so you can link to your space books or YouTube clips and extend the learning. You can choose a particular theme eg: rockets and then watch rocket videos before you start creating so there’s ideas and experiences in your child’s head that they can build on from.
Next on our list…
We plan to continue extended J’s interest in space.
- We want to buy a telescope to look at the stars and into space.
- We are going to buy a solar system mobile to hang up in the bedroom so we can learn the other planets
- Visit the science museum in London and any other exhibitions we find.
Update: we’ve now made J’s bedroom into a space themed room. Check it out by clicking the link here x
I’d love to know if you have any other activities or places to visit that you recommend. Is your child into ‘space’ and learning about our planet? Let me know in the comments or some find us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.