Keeping young children interested in schooling can be difficult at the best of times. Imagination and wonder are distracting, but can also be focused onto new and exciting subjects to keep a preschooler interested and engaged in learning. With aliens, stars and entire galaxies glistening just above their heads, what better place could there be to start than space?
Space can seem so far away, so incite their creativity and bring it down to Earth with these 7 Engaging Space-Themed Activities For Preschoolers:
#1 – Night-time Process Art
It’s hard to understand that the stars don’t actually leave when the sun rises, but using this little creative lesson, you can help a preschooler understand they’re never truly gone. Practice proper pencil grip by drawing stars on white card in white crayon, and when they exclaim the stars are hard to see, set them to work painting over them with black watercolours. Not only does this activity encourage fine motor skills, it’s also an exploration of art and media.
#2 – Make a Telescope
Okay, so it’s not a real telescope, but your preschooler won’t mind while decorating an empty kitchen or toilet roll tube with colorful paints, glitter, and stickers. Take the time to discuss with your child what scientists use telescopes for and look at the night sky through their creation in the evening, perhaps counting the stars they can see!
#3 – Moon Dust
Another easy one; fill a tray with flour and encourage your child to draw and make shapes in the “moon dust”, which can then easily be erased and redone. Encourage older preschoolers to try writing words like “star” or “sun” beside the images they draw and take a photo to remember the fun later! Talking about their shapes and words using a visual later will reinforce learning.
“Explorative play enhances preschooler learning, as it gives them a sense of control over what, and how, they learn, even if a parent is still guiding their choices,” says Phillip Ellis, an educator at Assignment Help and Essayroo.
#4 – Planet Matching
Print photos of planets and cut them in half, then get your preschooler to match them up again. Alternatively, if you have the time and resources, draw pairs of planets for your child to color in parts of the same color then mix them up, allowing them to find the matches. Write the planet names beneath them as well, so they learn a little about their solar system along the way.
#5 – Bake Intergalactic Cookies
You may need your artistic skills on this one, but buying a simple set of cookie cutters lets your preschooler join in on the fun; make cookie dough and cut the dough into celestial shapes, such as stars, moons and planets. Chill before baking so they don’t rise too much and once baked, let loose decorating with a variety of coloured icings and treats while you talk about all the shapes.
“Baking is great for kids. They get to see ‘things’ become ‘something’, make a bit of a mess and get a tasty snack at the end. There’s no downside!” states Hannah Gregory, a parenting blogger at Paper Fellows and Essay Writer.
#6 – Spray Bottle Galaxies
Fill spray bottles with paints, hang some paper up in the yard and let your child create their own galaxies using the misting action. Let them dry between coats for deep backgrounds and striking stars, and maybe paint on a moon or planet by hand once they’re done for extra fun. Or let their inner Picasso enjoy making a bit of a mess.
#7 Blast-Off and Spacewalk
It can be hard to explain how objects move in space. Make a game of it by running fast and loud as you ‘blast off’ into space, then super slow as you take those first steps on the ‘moon’. Discuss why you need so much energy to get into space, why walking on the moon is weird and ask your child some funny questions about their answers.
Katherine Rundell, an educational writer.