Sunday, January 26, 2014

Out of This World Fun

WOW!  I've said it before and I'll say it again (and again!), I love this unit!  Each and every day I am blown away by what my class can do!  At the beginning of our unit on the Solar System, I assign each child a planet name.  As we go through our week, I call them by their planet name and tell them something special about themselves.  By the end of the week the children not only can tell me about THEIR planet, but also about all the others.  WOW!  Make it fun and they WILL learn!

We started our unit on the solar system by talking about the center of our universe, the sun.  One of our favorite activities is "squishy" painting.  First, I cut circles out of poster board (you can use cereal boxes too).  Each child squirts on the different paints.  We used red, orange, yellow, gold and bronze.  Next comes the fun part . . . we cover the paint filled circle with clear plastic wrap (WARNING:  If you use CHEAP plastic wrap you will want to use two pieces, trust me!) and then we SQUISH!  The results are beautiful.  I have a large piece of black construction paper with a blob of glue waiting and I carefully place the very wet "sun" onto it.  This is where I end up getting messy but the children are still clean.  The children add the sun rays and the results are truly amazing!

We had to have a snack that was "out of this world" so we headed to the kitchen to whip up some fun solar system cookies. 
It was easy, but fun!  We mixed up some yellow icing and added it to a small cookie to make our sun.  Then we added our nine planets (YES, I said nine!  We decided not to leave the dwarf planet, Pluto out of the fun!).  Yummy and fun!

I really love this next art project!  I call it our name rockets.  Each child picks out colorful squares and writes one letter of their name in each square.  This is a wonderful activity to practice our writing and math skills.  I love the end result, especially the "fire" and little stars!

During our Winter Week, I took some pictures of the students to make our special snow people.  I just had two copies printed off so we could all become astronauts!

Sorry, for the big ugly square, but I have to protect the identity of my sweet students.  The moon was made with sand paper rubbings.  I love that my sweet little "S" had to make her flag correctly!

Since our letter this week was "J" we decided that we needed to fly to Jupiter!  And fly we did.  We spent all day Wednesday talking about our largest planet and making a rocket ship out of different shapes to take us there.

I especially love this Jupiter. 
Can you see the big red spot?
My surprise for the week came in the form of sweet "S" yelling from across the room.  I hurdled two children and chair to see that she had written her name with the magnetic letters!

Her planet name of course!
No fun Solar System Week would be complete without moon rocks.  On Thursday we turned "regular, old earth rocks" in fabulous moon rocks.
All you need are some good sized rocks, gray paint and scrap pieces of black tissue paper.  Instant moon rocks!  Be prepared, these take several days to dry.
Ahhhhhh . . . Friday is always the most fun day of our week and I did not want to disappoint anyone.  We started by mixing flour and white paint. 
You can see everyone got to measure and mix up their own!
Next, we added just a squirt of black paint and kept mixing!
Besides having flour everywhere, it wasn't too messy.  But then . . . . . 
we dumped our mixture onto a large circle cut from cereal boxes and moved it all around.  SUPER messy but SUPER fun!  While the children were washing their hands (PLEASE be careful of your sink if and when you do this.  This can clog up a sink.), I glued their moon down to a piece of black construction paper.  Then the children added stars made from silver and gold glitter paint.

Here is a closer view of our moon.
I was so amazed with my class this week and wanted to end with something really special.  The first thing we did was head to kitchen to make some "moon sand".  My recipe is very simple, sand and cornstarch.  I know some of you may want to know the exact ratio but sorry, I just dump it in.  The children didn't care, it was fun.
A little note about the sand.  When I bought the sand, it was wet.  No problem I thought, it will dry.  But, here in Alabama we have had multiple days below the freezing mark.  So if you buy wet sand PLEASE don't leave it in your car for several days . . . it will freeze!  Oh well, good thing we have microwaves!!!
Hang on, I'm not done.  We talked all week about gravity and to help the children understand it a little better, we ate a little treat just like the astronauts do . . .
applesauce from a bag with a straw!
FUN, FUN, FUN!!!!!
Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you check on us again because next week we will be talking about DINOSAURS!!!!!


  1. I want to use the moon for our Galaxy Starveyors VBS!! Thanks!

  2. I love your enthusiasm! This makes me so excited for Space week even though I hate messes! (Why am I a preschool teacher? :P) I'm looking forward to trying out your fun ideas :)