Star Color Matching & Sensory Tub

space theme for daycare

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!

  1. 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.sensory play for kids
  2. 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. space theme daycare
  3. 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. matching activity
  4. Other than setting up I just let him go. He read all the words to start.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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. sensory playShe loves rolling it around and how loud it is when she does. stuff for toddlers

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.

 

Space Themed Crafts & Books

space crafts for kids

Space is such a fun theme to use for play, crafts and of course learning. Here are some of our favorite space themed crafts that we have done over the years. We have lots of space themed books too.

Sandpaper Sun
Make Your Own Constellation
Crescent Moon
Alien Headband
Puffy Paint Moon
Recycled UFO
Recycled Rocket
Hand Print Sun
Soft and Shiny Rocket
Paper Plate Planet
Shooting Star
Sponge Painted Stars

 

Click the image for detailed reviews of the space books.

Alien Dress Up

Aliens are super cool and combining a craft with pretend play is even cooler. We love dress up at our house ( and preschool) and this alien headband craft was created to use as a pretend play prop. I suggested my son glue eyes on the band but he was very adamant that they needed to be up high on antennae. Even though I have directions you can follow this is the sort of craft that is best used as inspiration for your own unique creation.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, paint, glue, sparkly pipe cleaners, sticky back sparkly foam, googly eyes, tape and glitter!
  2. Start by having your child paint the paper. This will be cut in two strips to make the headband. Tell your child you will be cutting it, this can really upset young kids if they aren’t warned. I like using either a foam paint brush or paint markers like these when we want the paint to dry fast.
  3. While they paint, trace a circle 6 times on the backing of the sparkly foam.
  4. Cut out.
  5. Glue the googly eyes on.  Let dry.
  6. Next cut the paper in half.
  7. Add glue and glitter. You want to do it after your cut  not before so that you aren’t cutting into glue and glitter. Trust me glitter is messy enough, but cleaning it out of scissors is no fun. Let dry.
  8. Cut your pipe cleaners into different heights.
  9. When eyes are dry ( or at least dry enough not to slide, peel off the backing of the 3 foam circles that do not have googly eyes on them. Press the pipe cleaners into them.
  10. Peel the back off the circles with eyes , press into the circles with the pipe cleaners so they are sandwiched.
  11. When the glitter is dry tape the pipe cleaners with eyes on the front of  one strip. You will want it near the end because you are going to tape the other strip on top to sandwich them.
  12. Size it to your child’s noggin’ and secure the two ends with tape. I like using tape for 2 reasons. It’s forgiving and it’s fast, so kids can play right away.

Books


The Way Back Home
by Oliver Jeffers is a moving story about a boy , a martian and the moon they were both stuck on. Together they figure out a way to get back home even though they are so sad to say goodbye to each other. I love this author, I love his illustrations as well, they are so unique and the emotion he manages to convey is amazing. There is an illustration of the boy and martian standing awkwardly before they have to say goodbye and it embodies the emotion. Grab anything written by this author and you will be happy!

Hush, Little Alien by Daniel Kirk is a quirky updated version of the classic lullaby. So many bedtime books are super sugary but this one is funky and bright! I love the space theme and the illustrations are great! The rhymes are funny and kept my son interested in the lullaby much longer than the traditional one which he deems a “baby song”.

Moon Man by Tomi Ungerer is an odd, heartwarming, entertaining story. My son loves this story about the man on the moon who wants to be a part of the action on earth and decides to visit himself. Of course as is the custom on earth we are afraid of outsiders and he is thrown in jail. Luckily as he goes through the phases he manages to slip out through the bars.He finds someone to help him return home where he belongs, even though he is sad to go. I couldn’t help but think of ET… but that’s just me.