Saturday, June 30, 2012

Alien Handprints

Our last Space craft has to do with aliens! I saw these cute alien handprints over at Red Ted's Art Blog. As each child got dropped off in the morning, I painted their hand. They got to choose how many fingers would be painted. Within an hour or so they were all dry and the kids could add wiggle eyes and draw the rest of their alien.

They turned out so cute, and what kid doesn't like talking about and creating aliens?! I also brought in astronaut ice cream for the kids to try. (I bought it through Amazon.)
They all loved it. I don't think adults would feel the same way, though. And before I officially end my space unit posts, I wanted to tell you about a couple books I read.
Space Robots and Why Isn't Pluto a Planet? Pluto hasn't been a planet since before the kids in my class were born, but I still told them all about it. And the books are geared toward older children (ages 6 and up), but I read them anyway because they are written by my brother! I already mentioned I have a brother in Houston that designs robots for NASA, but I also have another brother in Tucson, AZ, who is an astronomer. He's written several non-fiction children's books about space (through series like First Facts and Incredible Space). You can find them here. They aren't the cheapest books (my brother donated a bunch to me and other family members), but maybe you can find them in your local library.
I hope you enjoyed my space unit!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wishing Stars

Star Light, Star Bright.
First star I see tonight.
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.

You remember that poem, right? I recited it for my kids and only a few of them recognized it. After learning about the sun, our closest star, we painted our own wishing stars. I drew several stars using a template I had.
The kids used fingerpaints to paint their star. We used paint brushes with the fingerpaint because it's so much brighter than the regular paint. I couldn't resist taking a picture of the spoons after I scooped out the paint!
Maybe it's just me, but I think it's so pretty!
After painting the stars, the kids used my little glitter shakers to add a touch of sparkle.
When they were dry, I cut them out.
Then I asked each child what their wish would be. I'm not going to lie to you. It didn't go well. And it took FOREVER! Most of the children didn't really understand, and it was so hard to explain it without giving an example. (I knew if I gave an example, they would just use that as their wish.) The best I could come up with was, "If your fairy godmother came down and used her magic wand to give you anything you wanted, what would it be?" But even that's not great because it leads them toward picking an object, when a wish could really be about anything. So anyway, I wrote down their answers on a little card and displayed them next to their stars in the hallway. (I wanted to write directly on the star, but with the glitter and all I didn't think it would work that well.)

I also printed out the poem and hung that up with the stars.
I think another cool idea would be to use glow-in-the-dark paint on the stars! It just might be dark enough in our hallway during nap time that it would work!
I have one more Space craft to share with you tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Glittery Moon Dough

I've been seeing lots of moon dough recipes out there and since we are learning about Space this week, I thought I would finally give it a try. I used 8 cups of flour and 1 cup of baby oil. Boy, were my hands soft and smooth after mixing it all together!! I also sprinkled in some silver glitter. It didn't quite make as much as I wanted, so I made a half batch more, but this time instead of baby oil, I used vegetable oil. The vegetable oil batch wasn't as silky and smooth as the baby oil batch, but I really could only tell if I was touching both at the same time. So I mixed the two together. I have little PlayMobile astronauts and I got some aliens from a cake decorating store, so I put those in the sensory bin with the moon dough.
The kids LOVED this stuff. Even I enjoyed playing in it! I put down a plastic table cloth to catch anything that fell out, but I still had a big mess on the floor. But it all vacuumed up easily.
The moon dough sticks together just like wet sand so the kids could make all kinds of things with it. It supposedly never dries out. We'll see about that!
I must warn you, though, that if you have little ones who still put things in their mouths, make sure you use the vegetable oil instead of baby oil. My kids are old enough to know that, but I still watched them like a hawk. And I made sure they washed their hands after they played in it. If you are going to use baby oil, try to get an unscented kind. I was overwhelmed with the smell when I made it, but the kids didn't seem to mind! At least, none of them said it smelled like a baby!

**Linking up to For the Kids Friday!**


I taught the kids all about rockets and space shuttles yesterday. We even watched a video of a rocket launch! And then we headed to the art table to make our own rockets. It was a simple craft. I cut out big rectangles, big triangles and smaller triangles in red, white and blue. The kids put their rockets together on black paper.
Once it was glued down they added a bunch of glue to the bottom of the rocket to make the fire.
Then they sprinkled orange glitter on the glue. I had two shades of orange from which they could choose.

They shook off the extra glitter and that's when I remembered I punched out little stars! So they added those to the rockets after the glitter, but I would recommend doing it before so the kids don't get their hands or arms into it by mistake. In my example at the top of the post, I used star stickers. But that was made years ago and I didn't have any star stickers, so I just used a star hole punch.
While they were sleeping, I used silver glitter glue to make some stars in the background. I know, I know, the kids should have done that. But I didn't have much left and kids love to squirt huge globs of that stuff! Another idea I had was to use glitter construction paper. I didn't have enough for each child so we didn't use it. When they were dry, I hung them on our bathroom door.
When we got building centers out later, the kids were all making rockets! It was so fun to see.

**Linking up to Sharing Saturday and The Sunday Showcase!**

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Astronaut Pictures

When we learned about astronauts yesterday, I thought it would be fun to make a little project where the kids are astronauts. So first they colored a space scene on black paper using oil pastels.
Then I took their pictures in front of black paper (although that wasn't really necessary) and printed them out really small. They're called contacts and they are only about an inch big so it's perfect. I cut the heads out and put them into the heads of the astronauts. This is my example:
So I just cut out the circle on the face and replaced it with a child's face.
 And I hung them all up with the words, "Reaching for the Stars."
I can't seem to find that picture of the astronaut again, but there are several out there that would work just fine. All you have to do is google it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Marble-Painted Planets

When we learned about our solar system yesterday, I had the kids make their own planets. I cut big circles out of paper and the kids marble painted them.
I also cut out oval rings, because let's be honest, otherwise it would just look like a circle.
When the paint was dry, I added the rings and displayed the planets in our dramatic play area.
I like how the marble painting makes it look like swirling gases and clouds.

Some kids wanted me to hang up their planet like Uranus, where the rings are more up and down rather than side to side, because they liked saying they made the planet that got knocked over by an asteroid or comet! (Good to know some things I teach them actually stick!)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dramatic Play: Mission to Space

It's past my bedtime, but I wanted to quickly show you what I set up in our dramatic play area for space week.
About 8 and a half years ago, my sister and I made a rocket out of boxes, aluminum foil, and lots and lots and lots of packaging tape. And I finally get to share it with others! I'm proud to say it's still standing, as you can tell, with only a few repairs. Aluminum foil is so easy to repair! We used one big box for the bottom and cut out a little window, but only cut three sides. We turned the piece we almost cut out into a little control pad. (I just remembered that during my first year teaching, I actually brought in my Atari joysticks for the kids to use to control the rocket!!)
You can flip it up to close the window. For the top part, it's mainly one square box with 4 pieces of cardboard cut into triangles to make the point. I taped all the triangles together to make a point before I covered it with aluminum foil. We also cut out a window from the top part. On the inside, I taped on a picture of the Earth as seen from the moon (and made it look like a window), and wrote some destination buttons and count-down numbers right onto the cardboard.
I used some wooden dowels to make the box stronger. When putting the two boxes together, we cut a hole out of the bottom box's top flaps.
So then the top box just gets centered over the hole and taped on.
This way the kids can stand up inside the rocket!
I also have two soft astronaut helmets that my parents got me from a souvenir shop in Houston, TX. (On a side note, I have a brother who lives there and he designs robots for NASA. So I have a ton of space-related things from all my trips and my parents' trips to Houston!) But I have also made astronaut helmets out of paper chef hats and large popcorn buckets from the movie theater!
I hung up an inflatable space shuttle and astronaut among the stars. I also put up a couple posters.
I turned our little kitchen around and hung up some starry night fabric. Then I printed out pictures of the planets and other objects in our universe. Again, I did this many years ago and just keep using them over and over again.
The kids had a lot of fun playing in it today! And I have more surprises for them (and for you!) later this week. The best part about the rocket is that it collapses nicely for storage. The bottom is all connected so it just folds up.

Not bad, huh? The top box doesn't fold, but it's not that big.
So, what do you think of our rocket? (Sarah, do you remember when we made this together?)