Stars , space and rockets are a theme that has never really lost it’s luster at our house. My son who is 5 1/2 is not as keen on sensory tubs as he once was ( or so I thought) so I set this one up with a little reading and matching activity. If I was doing this for younger kids I would have a few rocket ships and a few cups for pouring and transferring and skip the matching activity completely. As it turned out I misjudged my son and you will see that even at 5 1/2 that simple is wonderful.It’s great for space themes, learning about shapes and even fine motor practice!
- Gather your materials. For the sensory tub you will need dried black beans, bright star buttons and some tools like spoons and containers to dig and pour. For the matching activity I also used a chocolate box liner, some paper, scissors and marker.
- Pour the beans and the buttons in. You could add sparkles but you will never be able to use the beans for another non sparkly tub again and cleaning it off the buttons if you want will be impossible. I like to re-use my sensory tub innards so we kept it simple.
- If you want to make the matching container you can do it a few ways. For my son I wrote the words including light and dark blue and hot pink because we’ve been talking about different shades of colors. For pre readers simply use a marker in each color to write the word.
- Other than setting up I just let him go. He read all the words to start.
- Then got down to business sorting and matching. Don’t be surprised if they start counting while they sort. Everything is a competition at our house right now and so as he was sorting he was keeping me updated to which color was in the lead.
- After he’d had enough he filled the extra squares with beans using his hands , then grabbed a spoon, dumped the buttons out and and started carefully scooping the into the little squares one by one.
- Then we got a big container and filled it ( with the pot from our play kitchen) so his little sister could enjoy the stars too. She loves rolling it around and how loud it is when she does.
So even though I had a more directed activity ready I am thrilled he used it as a start but then directed the rest himself. I am just glad we had all the tools he needed.
- Gather your materials. You will need a piece of yellow and a piece of black construction paper. Some contact paper, gold sequins, glitter glue, glue , markers and scissors.
- Start by drawing ( or tracing) a star on the yellow paper. Draw some tails too.
- Have your child color the star and tails with markers.
- Cut a small piece of contact paper, peel the backing off.
- Add sequins to the contact paper.
- Squeeze some glitter on.
- Fold in two and press. Cut to size. I made this large for my son to add the sequins to , but then had to cut it so small to fit inside the star. I’d make a larger star next time.
- Cut the star and tails out . Cut the center of the star out, make sure the hole is big enough to show off the glitter but not too big so there are any gaps.
- Glue the glitter packet on the paper.
- Glue the star over it and the tails on. Let dry.
“Our Stars” by Anne Rockwell is another wonderful non fiction book from this author illustrator. The book shares the most basic facts about stars with the reader as well as more complicated facts about constellations, comets and meteors. I love that the facts are shared pretty independently on each page, so if something is above your toddlers head you can simply skip that page, until they are . The illustrations are fun enough to grab attention but detailed enough to help explain the facts being presented.
Stars are my favorite shape and I couldn’t resist making our letter of the week into a starry creation, we were also eager to test out our new glitter. This craft is a great add on to a shape or better yet a space theme! Bet you thought it was going to be a shamrock S , not today but we still have a few St. Patrick’s Day activities to come !
- Gather your materials. You will need 3 pieces of construction paper ( 1 black, 2 neutral) , markers, glitter paint, scissors and glue.
- Start by having your child paint the black paper with glitter glue.
- While they do that draw a large S on the lighter paper
- On the 2nd piece draw some stars. I used a cookie cutter for one, and free styled the others, hmmm perhaps I should have traced the cookie cutter for all of them !
- Time to color the S, use the markers. We didn’t use the glitter but you can if you want .
- When they are done with the S, add glitter to the stars. Our glitter was a little hard to get out so I squeezed and my son smeared.
- Let everything dry.
- Cut out the S and glue it onto the black paper.
- Cut out the stars
- Add them to the S
- Let dry.
“Draw Me A Star” by Eric Carle is often not read in classrooms simply because of a beautiful depiction of a naked man and woman. It’s not what most parents expect to find in an Eric Carle book but it is very fitting in this beautiful and really touching book. The story although very similar to a biblical creation story isn’t necessarily reflective only of a christian view point , rather as I read it is was the author’s own creation. It begins and ends with a star , and hits all the right points in between.
” How to Catch a Star” by Oliver Jeffers is a sweet story about a little boy who wants a star of his own. I loved the bright and simplistic illustrations and the message about holding on to your dreams, working for them and figuring out that sometimes things come to you in packages you don’t expect! Great book!