Isn't outer space amazing? Even as a grown-up, you can still feel inspired and in awe when you gaze into the wild unknown of the night's sky. Just think how amazing outer space can seem to your toddlers and preschoolers! Make outer space even more tangible by creating a few fun crafts and activities that are space-related for your little ones to work on.
1. Outer Space Crafts
So you make arts and crafts with your little ones all of the time anyway, so why not make the crafts space-related? Not only are outer space crafts easy and fun to make, but they give you an opportunity to teach your toddler or preschooler about the basics of different space objects, like the planets. You can help your little one paint large foam craft spheres with tempera paint or decorate them with markers to look like the planets in the solar system. Or, use different colors of salt dough to form the sun and all of the planets by hand.
2. Outer Space Pretend Play
Does your child enjoy pretend play? Use make-believe as a tool to teach her about outer space. Find a giant cardboard box for your little one to decorate with paint and markers, and she has her very own space ship. She can sit inside the space ship to pretend to be an astronaut flying up to the moon. You can also act out a space mission using different puppets. Do you have a few Halloween costumes of astronauts? Put together an outer space play date with other moms with little children where the kids can dress up and pretend to be real astronauts getting ready for a space adventure.
3. Field Trips
Field trips show toddlers and preschoolers the wonders of space in a way that is hard to get across otherwise. Contact your local natural history museum to find out if it has an exhibit on outer space, which most do. These exhibits usually feature a display on all of the planets, the moon and the sun, as well as small interactive activities for little ones to do that are related to space. You can also take a visit to a planetarium or an actual space center if you live near one. At a planetarium, you can sit with your child inside of a special room with a star show that will allow your child to see all of the stars and constellations visible from Earth. At a space center, you and your little one can look at a real space craft up close, and see where the real astronauts blast off from Earth.
4. Outer Space Picture Books
You know your children love to read picture books with you, so make it a point to check out books on outer space if you can see that your child has taken a special interest in this topic. Look for books that are both geared for smaller children and educational, like "If You Decide to Go to the Moon," by Faith McNulty, "The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System," by Joanna Cole or "Rookie Read-About Space: The Solar System," by Carmen Bredeson.