Paper Plate Planet

Creating your very own planet can be a quick art project or a much more involved one with reading and writing too. This simple  project combines so many lessons including shapes, space, as well as writing and spelling. Oh and for those of you afraid of mess , especially glitter mess – stick on glitter foam was made for you. It’s all the bling with none of the mess.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, various shapes of peel and stick glitter foam ( I pre cut a whole bunch for easy projects), markers, a piece of plain old paper, pencil, and tape.
  2. Make some shapes out of the foam.
  3. Start by creating your planet with the foam and markers. My thought when I brainstormed this activity was that  my son would make a mosaic like planet with all the pieces. Instead as he was making it he was deciding what each piece of foam would be . Rivers, lakes, a pit of lava, and an dark and scary forest were all added among other things.
  4. While they create the look of the planet write out a short questionnaire for them to fill in about their planet. I asked 3 simple questions , keeping it short to entice him to write the answers himself. The questions included naming the planet, how many moons it has and how long it takes to get to the planet from Earth.
  5. It worked  he was excited to try ,he asked me to write the words after. Do not correct your child if they are at the beginning stages of writing especially if they are at all reluctant. Correcting them can be seen as a further proof that writing is too hard and their attempts may become fewer and further between, which is not what we want! If they ask for you to help jump in slowly .
  6. Tape the information on the inside . When he showed it off to his dad at dinner, he read the inside and said ” I didn’t write Cybertron, it was too long and I didn’t have enough room, but I did the numbers!” Oops, next time I will make the writing area even bigger, to make it more welcoming for big emergent writer handwriting.

Books About Space

If You Decide To Go To The Moon by Faith McNulty was not what I expected, but what is that they say about judging a book by it’s cover? Yeah. I enjoyed the book but it was really long, even I was sorta wondering ” How much more?” half way through. However when I finished the book I was glad I read it all and the huge amount of information inside. The book is truly packed with information about space travel and the environment on the moon, for 3-4 year olds I would read it in parts, perhaps throughout the same day but I don’t think many would sit with full attention for this whole book. Older kids should have no problem especially if they are interested in space. Older children will also appreciate the message that we need to keep Earth healthy so our planet remains vibrant and full of life and not cold, dusty and still like the moon.

Another Day in the Milky Way by David Milgrim made me giggle. The story is about a little boy who is stranded on a weird planet where things are very strange and he doesn’t know how to get home. It’s never scary because it’s simply too weird to ever get scary. People with too many arms, donkeys and chickens dressed as horses and finally the realization that it’s all a dream.  The humor was rather dry although kids will probably take it as goofy . My favorite part was the little alien dog that transforms into a regular one in the end of the book when the little boy wakes up.

A Is for Astronaut: Exploring Space from A to Z by Traci N. Todd is a typical themed alphabet book that is atypically funky. The vintage illustrations and historical photos from NASA makes this book stand out from other similar books. Each letter represents a number of space related items and the historical photos are so powerful in this because it bridges the gap from being a story to being information that children are eager to dive into further. There is something so powerful about a photograph to make that connection that this really happened, these guys really walked on the moon in ” the olden days” as my son calls any time before his birth in 2006.

Paper Plate Emotion Masks

Getting kids to talk about feelings is not always easy, one way to do it is to make it into play. These emotion masks can be elaborate  with colors or simple and black and white like ours . The goal of this activity isn’t to have award winning art work, instead it’s to play with and open up a dialogue about feelings with your kids. We had a great chat about feeling sad which would have not otherwise come up. Have you blogged bout emotions? Ways to teach about them? If you have one link your post up below!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 1/2 a paper plate per mask. We made only 4 emotions because my son at 4 is still pretty basic about how he feels and most emotions get lumped into these 4 : happy, sad, angry and silly. You will also need popsicle sticks ( or tongue depressors), crayons or markers , scissors and tape. I had crayons out expecting my son to want to color them… but alas he went minimalistic with this one.
  2. Start by cutting the plates in half.
  3. Write the emotion on the back, if your child is beginning to read have them help you read it, if not make your face look like the emotion and ask your child if they can guess. Talk about each emotion, but don’t lecture.
  4. I made the noses as per my son’s request and made two emotions.
  5. He made the other two. Yes that’s a permanent marker, my heart was skipping a beat while he used it.
  6. Tape the sticks on.
  7. Play with the emotions. We had fun making our eyes one emotion and our masks another.

Book

Inspiration for this craft came from The Way We Feel , we read it on my iPod and you can too with  MeMeTales’   Free Mobile Reader App .  We are celebrating e-books from this brand new app  all week !

The Way We Feel
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The Way We Feel

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