Blast Off! Pretend Play Astronaut
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Young astronauts, get your rockets and space ships ready to blast off into pretend play imagination land! Lucky for me, I got to play astronaut in Leann Ausec’s playful ECE room at Aspen Academy where I took these photos. So, what can young astronauts do to playfully learn about space?
Pretend Play Astronaut
Build background knowledge and learn about space, constellations, and the phases of the moon.
Read books about space.
- Stargazers by Gail Gibbons
- I Want to be an Astronaut by Byron Barton
- On The Moon by Anna Milbourne
- Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System by Joanna Cole
Then, create your play space!
Make a rocket ship to the moon.
Use cardboard boxes of all sizes to make a rocket. Tape together with colored masking tape. Directions for a small cardboard rocket here.
Make a control panel dashboard of buttons from cardboard or old parts.
Make a space suit and helmet.
Make an astronaut helmet with a paper bag, plastic milk jug, or cardboard box covered in aluminum foil. Make your own astronaut costume. Tape together two soda liters to make oxygen tanks.
Make planets, stars and a solar system.
Make planets out of
– Styrofoam balls
– play dough
– salt dough
Directions for a solar system mobile.
Directions for a star mobile.
Directions for s to-scale solar system.
Create your own a enclosed solar system using a recycled plastic bottle, oil, small balls water, food coloring, and glitter. Directions here.
Decorate your play space with stars. Can you make the stars into constellations? Print this Star Finder game from NASA to learn the constellations.
Play astronauts and land on the moon.
Grab moon “rocks” (see above) or sort moon pebbles and rocks by size, color, or shape.
Can you walk on the moon? Try walking on Bosu balls.
Play with space-themed sensory tubs (top photo) with spaceships, planets, and astronauts sensory tubs.
Play with moon sand — you can make your own with play sand and cornstarch! Moon sand recipe here.
Take astronaut photos.
(Yikes! My head seems a bit large. –>)
Travel to a space station.
MORE space ideas:
Mommy Lab’s Space Birthday Party
2 Teaching Mommies Unit on Space
Blast Off Space Unit for Preschoolers
Have a blast (sorry, couldn’t resist) playing space!!
Want to know why Play-based preschools are better for kids than academic preschools? Read this article from Scientific American called “The Death of Preschools.
Coding for Kids, 25 Pretend Play Ideas for Kids, Nursery Rhymes, Roald Dahl Books
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