Three…Two…One…BLAST OFF!

Coronet Cluster: A Neighbor of Star Formation
Photo © 2008 Smithsonian Institution | more info (via: Wylio)

Thematic units provide a great way for your students to explore different concepts in a creative, yet focused manner. If you're looking for a way to spice up your curriculum this January, consider looking up - introducing your students to ASTRONAUTS & SPACE! Here are some great ideas to get your unit started:

Sensory Bin Fun

Lisa, homeschooler and creator of the blog Cheerios Underfoot, created this spectacular outer space sensory bin using black marbles, homemade planets, and space themed erasers.

outer space sensory bin
Photo Source: Cheerios Underfoot

Mari-Ann of Counting Coconuts designed this exciting sensory bin - its navy aquarium rocks reminiscent of the night sky while the super (bouncy) balls and jacks double as planets and stars. For a complete list of items, be sure to visit Mari-Ann's full post!

space sensory bin
Photo Source: Counting Coconuts

Fine Motor Fun

For some great fine motor fun, try some of the following activities, created by Mari-Ann of Counting Coconuts:

  • Constellation Pin Punching. Print individual constellation dot-to-dots, have students complete the exercise then, armed with a jumbo push pin, have students punch a hole in each dot. [Shown left]
  • Planet Lacing. Create card stock or craft foam planet shapes, punch holes around the edges, and invite your students to practice lacing.
  • Sifting Planets. Place several marbles into a large bowl filled with rice (dyed navy to resemble the night sky). Provide students with a flat, slotted turner (kitchen utensil) and have them sift for planets.
constellation pin punching
Photo Source: Counting Coconuts

Space Math

Jo of Making Learning Fun created these countdown to blastoff cards to help your preschoolers practice number recognition and counting skills.

space themed math counting game
Photo Source: Making Learning Fun

In her Astronaut Preschool Pack, Jolanthe of Homeschool Creations provides an awesome worksheet to help your preschoolers distinguish between small, medium, and large rockets as well as practice sequencing.

worksheet with little to big rockets for sequencing practice
Photo Source: Homeschool Creations

Skill Worksheets

Also in Jolanthe's Astronaut Preschool Pack is this color recognition/matching exercise among other great activities!

space themed color recognition exercise
Photo Source: Homeschool Creations

Children's Literature

  • My Place in Space by Joan Sweeney
  • There's No Place Like Space by Dr. Seuss
  • On The Moon by Anna Milbourne
  • I Want to be an Astronaut by Byron Barton
  • On the Launch Pad by Michael Dahl
  • Curious George and the Rocket by H. A. Rey

Fun Projects

  • Make miniature planetariums using recycled paper towel rolls. Tape a piece of black paper to one end and use push pins to gently create constellations in the black paper. Hold the tube up to the light to see the constellation.
  • Cover a table with a large piece of black fabric. Use glow in the dark stars to create constellations on the underside of the table and take turns stargazing in your homemade planetarium.
  • Create stardust jars using oil, water, food coloring, and glitter in a recycled plastic bottle.

With all of these great exercises, activities, and lessons, your students are sure to love exploring SPACE from the classroom!