space activities

Child’s Play Helps Discover New Planets

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.

planets child art play

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?

Lego space playThe 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 wars science fun for kids

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?

Space Activities #22: Space Snack Fun – Cooking with Kids

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:

space snack fun

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:

space snack fun

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?

Space Activities #21: Baking Soda Vinegar Rockets and Water Rocket 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.

baking soda vinegar rockets

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.

water rocket funThe 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?

Space Activities #20: Fun and Learning With Space Puzzles for Kids

Parents and caregivers can give kids outer space in something just a little bigger than a piece of paper. How? With some space puzzles for kids. We might dismiss puzzles as a rather old-fashioned toy that isn’t all that relevant anymore. After all, puzzles have been around for more than two hundred years. But they … Continue reading Space Activities #20: Fun and Learning With Space Puzzles for Kids

Space Activities #19: Space Yoga for Kids

Space yoga for kids combines yoga and imagination to give both young, developing bodies and brains some stimulation. Together, it’s out of this world. Outer space is full of stars. Our sun is a giant star. An easy yoga pose is the star pose. Kids stand with legs apart and arms outstretched. Two hands, two … Continue reading Space Activities #19: Space Yoga for Kids

Space Activities #18: Aliens Help Kids Learn Body Parts

For today’s space activity, aliens help kids learn body parts. Knowing the names of parts of the body is really important for kids’ health and safety. To create an alien, kids can use items and ways that appeal to them. Some might like to color or paint space creatures. A search in the recycling basket … Continue reading Space Activities #18: Aliens Help Kids Learn Body Parts

Space Activities for Kids #17: Moon Rocks Bottle Activity

Space activities do not have to be elaborate to be fun for kids. This moon rocks bottle activity was engaging and simple, full of learning and play. It appeals to any child who likes rocks, and that’s most, if not all of them. Finding a pile of small rocks is usually easy. Rocks have a … Continue reading Space Activities for Kids #17: Moon Rocks Bottle Activity

Space Activities # 16: Kids Space Jokes Develop Humor

Kids space jokes develop humor. How many times a day does your child laugh? No matter the number, it’s likely much more than you do as a parent or caregiver. Q. Why did the cow go in the spaceship? A. It wanted to go to the mooooooon. Q. Which planet is Mickey Mouse’s favorite? A. … Continue reading Space Activities # 16: Kids Space Jokes Develop Humor

Space Activities #15: Planet Playground Fun

The cloudy weather cleared up and the sun came out so we headed outside for some Planet Playground fun. This can happen at any playground in most weather, but warmer days often mean more time outdoors. Since we’d been talking of outer space with the Jupiter probe Juno and the anniversary of the landing on … Continue reading Space Activities #15: Planet Playground Fun

Space Activities #14: Chalk Moon Footprints

Is it really the 47th anniversary of the moon landing? We couldn’t walk on the moon so instead we made chalk moon footprints on the patio. What a fun play-of-the-day and space activity idea. When he walked on the moon, Neil Armstrong said, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Because there … Continue reading Space Activities #14: Chalk Moon Footprints