My youngest wants to be an astronaut, so much, in fact, that this summer I asked her to pack her own clothes for after swimming and this is what she packed. We visited the Museum of Science and Industry this summer and watched a movie all about space. Other than the little bit about the Challenger and Columbia disasters, which she leaned over to me and said “14 were lost, I don’t want to be lost too! That means they are dead.” I didn’t want her to focus too much on the safety risks of her dream, she’s only 5, so I threw this space playdough activity together and she LOVED it.
Gather your materials. You will need. Some fun space themed figurines we used a Safari Ltd Space TOOB (affiliate link), some glow in the dark stars and planets from the dollar store and the Aliens from our Alien Counting Mats. Of course you will also need some awesome playdough. I had some yellow playdough on hand and I used an insane amount of blue, black, and green food color to try to make it black. Then I added a lot of very fine black and gold glitter. You will also want a tray to spread it out on.
Start playing. I am always so interested in how kids play, some jump into pretend play with figurines, some go straight to squishing the dough, and there are the kids like my daughter who go straight to setting up a scene.
The pretend play came a little later with a terrible blow to the aliens. Not sure what did them in but she proceeded to lay each one down. When I asked what was up ” I see you are laying all of them down.” She replied ” Don’t worry I am not killing them, they just all fainted at exactly the same time.”
Pretend play is rad. Especially when it’s squishy too.
We ended up playing with this for a few days then taking it to the sidelines of her brother’s soccer tournament with some dinosaurs. Along with a few other younger siblings, they played happily adding grass and sticks to the scene. I took one shot I shared on Instagram here.
Books About Space
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Aliens Love Underpants: Deluxe Edition Claire Freedman was sent to me by the publisher. I am not sure if they had any knowledge of just how much my daughter loves both aliens and any book remotely related to potty training. I’ll be honest the whole potty thing has been a struggle and funny books like this that are books she’d be reading anyway have been super helpful. The book is all about aliens who come to earth on a giant panty raid, but the book is funny and cute and it’s rhyming text is wonderful for emergent readers ( and any others) like my daughter. She loves for all of us to choose our favorite pair on each page!
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 toddler’s head you can simply skip that page until they are ready for more facts. The illustrations are fun enough to grab attention but detailed enough to help explain the facts being presented.
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 make 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.
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