Star Wars Straw Rockets

Star Wars space craft could travel at lightspeed and these Star Wars straw rockets are much slower but still faster than the eye can follow. They are easy and fun to make and wonderful for playing.

To make the Star Wars straw rockets, you will need paper, scissors, tape, and a straw. Cut a sheet of regular, photocopy paper in half along the hamburger fold. (If you fold a paper in half to make 2 long skinny sections, that’s the hotdog fold. If you fold it to make 2 wide rectangles, that’s the hamburger fold.)

straw rocket science funOn one half, kids can trace around a small jar lid to make 2 or 3 circles. With the other half, kids carefully roll the paper around the straw 3 or 4 times. The excess can get cut off and then the paper on the straw attached together with tape. Adult hands might need to start the rolling so the paper stays down. Check to make sure none of the paper is taped to the straw.

straw rocket science funMake sure the paper is at the edge of the straw. If possible, kids cut out the traced circles. Fold a circle in half and place over the end of the straw. Tape it to the paper rolled around the straw. Now, for the fun part. Take a deep breath, close mouth around the other end of the straw and blow. What happens? Did anybody see the straw shooting off the end? (If the rocket doesn’t go, check that kids aren’t holding the paper part on the straw. Fingers only touch the plastic straw, not the rocket.)

straw rocket science funWe made several of these and the kids colored them too. Once, testing it out, a rocket got Little Sister in the knee. After that, she decided the game was to try and blow the rocket far enough to land on a person instead of the floor. She could barely close her mouth for laughing. Big Sister enjoyed trying to make rockets land on various pieces of furniture. There was some adult help to make the rockets, but the play was definitely self-directed.

Sometimes, an idea we think kids will love, doesn’t seem to appeal to them at all. This project looked great and, as it turned out, was a big hit with the kids. Little Sister laughed with glee as she played. The rocket didn’t fly off each time but she still giggled. Isn’t it great when kids really engage?

Star Wars Math Counting and Patterning

Children’s play counts when it comes to early learning and development so an idea for a play-of-the-day is Star Wars math  counting and patterning.

star-countNot having Star Wars characters and toys isn’t even a problem. We have a few but not enough to count—pardon the pun—so instead we used some glow-in-the-dark stars that came from a dollar store. We needed something else so borrowed the round plastic pieces from a checkerboard game to be planets. Planets are certainly part of Star Wars.

Whatever you use, there are lots of ways that kids can count, such as all one color, or all of one kind. The important part is to touch each item as the number is said. Saying the numbers accurately comes with lots of repetition but this isn’t all there is to counting. To understand counting, kids need to figure out that each object goes with a number. As we count, each number means one more thing. Developing this number sense also needs practice as well as hands-on time. Lots and lots of hands on opportunities. As in countless…chuckle, chuckle.

star wars math playPatterning is also a critical math skill. For that matter, it’s more than that, it’s a critical thinking skill. Information bombards the brain in vast quantities and finding a pattern reduces it into a smaller amount. We made some simple patterns star/planet, star/planet and blue star/pink star, blue star/pink star. Little Sister made another of her own, 2 blue stars/2 pink stars, 2 blue stars/2 pink stars.

After that, she wanted to use the planets and stars as money and play that way. More Star Wars math counting and patterning and now money. Such play will help children develop familiarity with math. Math anxiety is all too common, even in the early grades. If kids have been able to play with math, they are confident and eager.

Will your child’s play today count?

Star Wars Memory Game

Star Wars memory game to the rescue. Instead of some weekend time for outside fun, we needed a quiet game that could be played from the sofa. Our plans had to be revised for sick kids. Big Sister is curled up under a blanket, bucket close by just in case, and Little Sister is sipping honey and ginger because her “throat keeps getting blocked.”

While the chance to catch up on the laundry and tidy the kitchen is welcome, with the kids quietly watching TV, it will absolutely not be on all day. Sitting down to read stories will happen a few times along with some other quiet activities for distraction.

star wars memory gameTo make and play this Star Wars memory game, it would be ideal to have a few Star Wars plastic characters. We made do with some stars and Little Sister chose 7 items to put on a tray. Ours were: a glow-in-the-dark star, a pipe cleaner star, a tiny light saber or key chain flashlight, a fake candle or tea light, a toy comb with a star on it, a tiny car with blue flames, and a Jenga block. That was Big Sister’s choice because Jenga sounds sort of like Jedi.

The kids each took a turn looking at the items on the tray. I draped a cloth over them and they tried to remember the items. Big Sister remembered 5 and Little Sister got 3. I was relieved when I did name all 7.

A different way to play is to take one item away under cover of the towel or cloth. Take the towel away and the other person gets to say what’s missing. Little Sister was able to figure out what was removed about half the time, Big Sister wasn’t ever stumped, but she is almost 3 years older.

Another variation is to add an item, again using the towel to hide the action. This was easy because the new item was quite obvious.

This Star Wars memory game was fun and provided a break when needed. It can be done with any items that are handy at your house. Is your memory as good as kids’?

Darth Vader Helps Kids Learn Facial Expressions

Toys, like Star Wars Mr. Potato Head and Darth Vader can help kids learn facial expressions. Facial expressions are a significant part of our communication with each other but not only do kids have to ‘read’ the expression, they also have to match it to the feeling. Newborns respond to smiles with delight and toddlers … Continue reading Darth Vader Helps Kids Learn Facial Expressions

Star Wars Storytelling for Kids

Today’s blog post, Star Wars Storytelling for Kids, is brought to you by the famous Google Doodle, which is another story. This doodle is for Charles Perrault, the writer of some well-known fairy stories. Why would a storyteller deserve a day? Another question could be why these stories have been popular for centuries in the … Continue reading Star Wars Storytelling for Kids