Happy 🚀National Space Day, which is observed annually on the first Friday in May, and International Astronomy Day (which is celebrated annually on April 28)! Below, I am sharing our hands-on Space and Cosmos inspired educational activities for preschoolers. National Space day is dedicated to the extraordinary achievements, benefits, and opportunities in the exploration and use of space, promoting math, science, technology and engineering education in young people. I hope below you will find some activities helpful or even inspiring to ignite the love of space exploration!
See here DIY ☀️Solar 🌎System Craft From No-cook Natural 🏡Homemade Play Dough.
When you look up at the sky, if you have a good imagination, you might see much more than just twinkling lights! You might see a swan, a bear or even a pot (The Plow). These imaginary lines connecting star to star and bringing images to life are called constellations ~ like maps in the sky! The Big Dipper is probably the most famous group of stars (not to mention the brightest and most visible in the northern hemisphere), which is actually an asterism ~ a group of stars smaller than a constellation (Ursa Major ~ The Great Bear). And, to make learning hands-on, we are using marshmallows and toothpicks to bring our constellations to life. (We are reading National Geographic Big Book of Space as a reference ~ great for ages 3 and up.)
In the Sky (My First Discoveries: Torchlight) book, will reveal to young readers the planets of our solar system and what lies beyond our galaxy. Constellations, satellites, spaceships, and other flying objects will magically appear on dark pages with a help of a torchlight, and transparent overlay pages will add an excitement to a traditional reading. (Suitable for children 3 yo and up.)
Did you know that the Moon and planets move against the background of the stars because the stars are much more distant? The nearest star (Proxima Centauri) is more than 50,00 times farther than the planet Jupiter. The Eyewitness Visual Dictionary of the Universe is a full-color photographic dictionary depicting the wonders of the universe and explaining subjects: such as the solar system, galaxies, and nebulae in great detail. (I suggest this book for 8 yo plus due to its complexity and depth.)
See here DIY 🌌Galaxy Baking Soda Borax-Free 🏡Home-made ❌Non ♨️Toxic Slime • Kids 🙌🏻 Sensorial ⚗️Science Experiment.
See here DIY 🌘 Moon Craft • Baking Soda Acid-Base ⚗️Science Experiment.
There is something fascinating, captivating and intriguing about the Universe! Although Cosmos appears empty and dark, it sparkles with thousands of mysterious glittering lights. Also, while purportedly having an infinite nature, the universe keeps expanding! It holds billions of galaxies, each containing millions of stars, and although the space between stars and galaxies is largely empty, it contains particles of dust, radiation (e.g. light and heat), as well as magnetic fields and high energy particles (e.g. cosmic rays).
- Julia is holding In the Sky My First Discoveries: Torchlight (buy here). Discover a torchlight which brings empty black pages to live revealing images and messages!
- There’s No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library (buy here) delivers content in a fun rhyming way. Totally amazing introduction to our Solar System for little ones.
- The Visual Dictionary of the Universe Eyewitness Visual Dictionaries (buy here) is a comprehensive edition which will keep your preschooler, as well as an elementary child, totally captivated.
- [on the right] Ravensburger Outer Space Puzzle, 60 Piece, (buy here) with its bright illustration of our Solar system and astronauts entices Adrian to assemble it over and over again (Adrian first assembled it at 44 months).
- [middle] Round Kids’ Puzzle of the Solar System, 50 Piece, (buy here) also features the Milky Way, galaxies, quasars, asteroids, and more. The color of each planet’s elliptical orbit matches the color of the planet to enhance the educational experience.
This puzzle (buy here) features an astonishing 2×3 feet illustration of our Solar System.
Read here about this Solar System floor jigsaw puzzle in a “National Puzzle Day” post where Adrian assembled this puzzle for the first time.
Children also love reading National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Space (buy here). This book, with its colorful illustrations and simple text, introduces young children to the wonders of Space, explaining basic concepts of the universe, beginning with what is most familiar and expanding out into the cosmos.
These flashcards about Outer Space (buy here) are amazing! They feature full-color photographs, many taken from NASA’s own spacecraft. The back of each card offers young space explorers easy-to-understand facts about planets, stars, and spaceships in our Solar System.
Our “Solar system” – what does it mean? “Solar” means “of the Sun,” and a “system” is a collection of objects that interact with one another to form a whole – that is the fundamental interaction for each object being the one it has with the Sun. There are many different types of objects found in the solar system: a star (our Sun), planets, moons, dwarf planets, asteroids, comets, dust, and gas. The Sun comprises over 99.8% of the Solar System mass (being the biggest object in our system), with Jupiter (The Gas Giant) accounting for most of the remaining mass. All objects in our Solar System orbit the Sun – that is move around in elliptical paths. The Sun exerts enormous gravitation pull, keeping orbits of these objects, called the ecliptic planes, roughly the same, thus preventing a collision or any object going astray.
The Universe is incomprehensibly huge: it would take a modern jet fighter more than a million years to reach the star nearest to the Sun. And, traveling at the speed of light (300,000 km per second), it would take 100,000 years to cross our Milky Way galaxy alone. Adrian used Imagination Magnets (buy here) to assemble a rocket ship. The set contains colorful pattern cards which are numbered in progressive order of difficulty, ranging from beginner to expert. As each pattern becomes more challenging, patience and confidence are gained through trial and error. (See here a post “Imaginets, Magnetic Pattern Geometric Shape Blocks & HAPE Wooden Mosaic Puzzle.”)
This hand-crafted ✨Solar System set (buy here) has been children’s favorite hands-on material to go along any solar system discussion! These needle felted planets, made from wool and organic cotton, are proportionally sized to each other with names embroidered on the back. Adrian loves how 🙌🏻hands-on COSMOS study can be! He can basically hold the Solar System in his hands.
What about skip counting by 2s while learning 🌌constellations! 👦🏼Adrian first 🎨dot-painted the constellation using pop-poms with clothespins and then he had to color match the ⛳️golf tee with the corresponding 🔢number and 🔨hammer it to the matching dot in the sequential order skipping 2s. Thank you, Krystle, for these amazing printables (find the free pdf here)! (And while you are there, check amazing themed room 🚒transformation ideas! I absolutely love Krystle’s 📃blog!)
See here the post ✨The Universe 👋🏻Sensory Bin (🌌COSMOS Unit Study).
No one knows the exact size of the Universe since we simply cannot see the edge (if indeed there is one). All we know is that the visible Universe is at least 93 billion light-years across. (A light year is the distance light travels in one year – about 9 trillion km.) However, scientists believe that the Universe was not always the same size. They propose that before the birth of the Universe (the Big Bang which took place nearly 14 billion years ago) time, space and matter did not exist. However, one of the theories is that since the Big Bang, the Universe has been expanding outward at a very high speed, meaning that the area of space we now see is billions of times bigger than it was when the Universe was very young. Such would also imply that the galaxies are also moving further apart as the space between them expands.
See here 🌑Lunar Craters No-Cook 🏡Homemade Play Dough 🌙 Moon 🙌🏻Sensory Bin.
See here 🌘 Solar Eclipse Play Dough Craft DIY Big 🌞Sun -Small 🌑Moon Science Experiment.
Stay tuned for more from our 🌌COSMOS Unit Study …