Child’s play helps discover new planets? Well, that’s a bit of a stretch but what we do as adults often grows from how we loved to play as kids. Many of the scientists at NASA were fascinated by space as children and on a radio show, one of them was quoted as saying she has been intrigued with searching for new planets since an early age.
February is friends and heart month. Following a passion is following your heart. Did you have an interest or a favorite way to play as a child that gave clues about what you are doing today? Of course, child’s play has been a lifelong interest of mine. Being a kindergarten teacher means being able to play at work. On the blog, I’ve included many posts about careers adults choose and the clues we find when we look at their play. This excerpt is from the post Child’s PlayReaches to Outer Space from a couple of years back:
Astronaut Chris Hadfield adventured far beyond Earth to the International Space Station Endeavour. He played the guitar and sang the first song ever recorded in space. He was inspired at the age of nine as he watched Apollo landing on the Moon, but his interest in flying began much earlier than that. Along with others written about in this series, an artist that drew on the wall about the age of 2, a nurse that played with Dr. Barbie, a mathematician that enjoyed numbers, a designer that always liked to draw, a scientist that took apart her toys and dolls, a crafter who created and sold products to her childhood friends, and a chef who wanted an Easy-Bake oven as a young boy, Chris Hadfield extended his play to a career. How can we so trivialize children’s play when time and time again, we hear stories like these?
The question is even more relevant with the discovery of these seven exoplanets. In a way, the curiosity to explore and the drive to discover are the fuel of play. We see from the time they are wee babies, the immense hunger young children have to find out all they can about the world. They do this each and every time they play. That’s how we can say child’s play helps discover new planets.
Although we mean well, we cannot fill our children’s days with activities that we plan and organize for them. We must give kids time and space for unstructured play and trust them to direct it. When we do, could we say the results are out of this world?
These couple of nutritious and playful ideas for some space snack fun do not need a lot of space in your kitchen, just some imagination and creativity.
Nut Butter Planet Wraps:
To make these planet wraps, you can use either pita bread, tortillas, or another kind of wrap. Put a spoonful of peanut or other nut butter in the middle. Kids can spread this all around getting close to the edges. Peel a banana and place it across the circle. Roll up the edges and cut off any parts of the banana that stick out. It looks like a banana hotdog. If the flatbread is thin enough, kids may be able to cut the roll into small circles. These circles are the planet with a ring around it. (This part might need imagination as the circles aren’t exactly round.)
Cream Cheese Moons:
During the full moon, we can see the round moon shape and white color with darker patches. An old joke is the moon is made of green (unripened) cheese. Pita bread, tortillas, wraps, or rice cakes are round too. Big hands can put a spoon of cream cheese in the middle and little hands spread it all over, getting as close to the edges as possible. To make the dark patches on the moon, try blueberries or blackberries. The cream cheese is a little sticky but the berries may need to be tapped down so they don’t roll away. Sure doesn’t taste like green cheese.
This space snack fun is tasty and nutritious. The planet wraps don’t have to be rolled up and cut, they can be flat, especially with mini pitas. Try different toppings and spreads, like humus and cucumber or mashed avocado and cherry tomato slices. Kids may have their own suggestions for combinations.
Cooking with kids helps them be more aware of what they are eating and how food tastes. They learn how to make things themselves instead of just opening something already prepared. Best of all, isn’t it fun?
Two of the most ordinary ingredients and a small plastic container combine for some science fun. Have you tried baking soda vinegar rockets? This activity is best done outside. Once the rocket is fueled up, stand out of the way. It shoots off with quite a pop and can hurt if it hits a body part.
Scrounge through your junk drawer for a small plastic film canister, the kind where the lid fits inside. Pour some vinegar in a dish. Your child can measure out three spoons of vinegar and carefully pour them into the film canister. Spread out one or two squares of toilet paper. Using a dry spoon, have your child scoop out two spoons of baking soda and mound in on the toilet paper. Fold this up to make a small packet. Have the lid right close. Kids can put the paper and soda ball into the container and adults quickly snap on lid. Turn it over, place on the ground, and step back. Start counting down.
Likely, the rocket will shoot up into the air with a loud pop before you even get to the words blast off. Watch where the plastic container lands so you can do it again. Proportions do not have to be exact, but generally a bit more vinegar than soda.
Here’s a link to a pdf about the Film Canister Rocket from PBS Kids. Kids can draw and color on a piece of paper and wrap it around to make a rocket. There are several other variations on the Internet to try too.
The kids liked hunting for the film canister. It usually wasn’t too far away. After doing this simple rocket science for awhile, we were hot and sticky. Fortunately, we had another kind of rocket for cooling down—a water rocket.
The water rocket is a sort of sprinkler. A switch with a button to push attaches to the garden hose. The switch has a short tube that feeds into a plastic rocket. When a foot presses on the button, the water from the garden hose blasts into the rocket and sends it up in the air. The rocket then dumps a small amount of water onto delighted kids. There wasn’t a lot of water at a time, but somehow the kids were soaked quite quickly.
Two kinds of blasts offs, baking soda vinegar rockets and a water one, made for great fun. Is there some rocket play in your child’s day?
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