Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Let's Fly to the Moon (or Jupiter?)!

I know I say it all the time but . . . "I LOVE THIS UNIT"!  This is truly one of my favorites.  It still amazes me to see how much my little sponges can absorb.  The sky was the limit (literally) this week as we discussed our solar system.  We started out the week with a big surprise - a rocket ship in our classroom!
Our square snowman got a weekend makeover!  Everyone loved pretending where the next rocket would go.  Since we quickly learned that the sun is the center of our universe, we started off our week by doing a wonderful art project of the sun!  This is one of my personal favorites because even though everyone uses exactly the same material, the final results are all different.  We started with a BIG round circle and added our paint.  Next, we covered it with clear plastic wrap -

Here comes the fun part . . . next we squish it!

Everyone of course has their own technique.  Some are gentle while others literally beat the daylights out of it.  Either way, the results are amazing!  We quickly plopped the wet sun onto a LARGE piece of black construction paper and added the sun rays.  OH MY!

At this point I realized these were something special!

One of my favorite things to do during "Solar System" week is to assign each child a planet name.  This year I have 10 children in my classroom, so everyone got a planet name and we even had earth's moon!  The entire week we called everyone by their planet name.  I added new facts each day and by the end of the week my entire class could not only locate their planet on the diagram, but most could locate and name the entire solar system!

Since the big rocket was staring at us all week, we decided to "fly to the moon!".  I found this amazing astronaut over at Crayola and I knew he/she would be perfect.  I tweaked him just a little by cutting him out, adding details to the flag and removing his face (we will add ours later!).  Then we started painting!
I was amazed at how insistent my class was about painting the American flag "the right way".  Everyone wanted the little square to be blue and it had to have stripes on it!  Needless to say, I was proud!  I told everyone that they could do any planet they wanted.  I guess they really WERE listening in circle time because each and everyone of them knew that men had already been to the moon, so off the moon we went.  We made our moon by doing a good old fashion sand paper rubbing.
Finally, it was time to put it all together.  We added our rocket ship (with hand print flames), some stars and WOW!

I hope the parents loved it as much as I did!

Our Fabulous Fun Friday was SO EXCITING!  First, we are lucky enough to have an amazing Dad who is a landscaper.  I put out an S.O.S. for some rocks and he came through BIG time.  They were perfect for our moon rocks!  Everyone used silver paint to stick on some black and white tissue paper.  
After they dried we added a little silver glitter glue and . . . . 

instant moon rocks!  SWEET!

To me the most exciting part of the week happened when we headed to the kitchen on Friday.  First we made a rocket cookie for our snack.

Next, we made our very own "moon sand"!  The recipe is very simple -
                 4 cups of sand
                 2 cups of corn starch
                 1 cup of water
                 Mix together and have fun!  

Before we knew it we had been in our kitchen area for over an hour!  We even sent everyone home with their very own bag of "moon sand".  

Our "Solar System" week was only four days because of the "Martin Luther King" holiday on Monday.  We voted and decided that we needed ONE MORE DAY, so on Monday of the following week we savored the last sweet day of our solar system with the most amazing project, a name rocket.  First everyone wrote the letters of their names on little squares of paper.  Next, we lined them up in the shape of a rocket, added some stars and more flames AND  . . . . . .

another WOW project!  And, before you ask, YES! the children wrote their names BY THEMSELVES!   I AM SO PROUD!

It was great week.  I hope you visit us again.  Next week we will be talking about the circus!

I'm sharing this at - 
PreK + K Sharing


  1. Those suns are fabulous! I'm "stealing" your idea! :) Pinning to Pinterest!

  2. So many great ideas! I just added a few of them to my space theme board on Pinterst! My favorite is the sun craft! So glad I discovered your blog from Teach Preschool Fun Friday. I'm now following you on GFC!

    Criss-Cross Applesauce

  3. You have such great ideas Karen! Love this! Saving this for future reference.

    Alyson Levin

  4. I am currently working on a moon/star/rocket ship theme and came across your page. This is WONDERFUL. I am sharing at Squish Preschool Ideas..I copied your link address on photo and will create a live link so my Squish "friends" can come to your page to see the instructions & all your other ideas. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  5. I was in need of a space-themed craft to do at my church's "Vacation Bible School, and I came across your sun craft! It is simple, but it is also fun and unique! Thank you very much!

  6. thank you for all the wonderful ideas!!!! The children at the preschool where I teach will love these projects!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. This is brilliant. My son is doing the solar system at nursery and has come back really interested in the planets. I have been trying to think of som ideas to do with him. These are perfect. I especially like the rocket with his name because he is just starting to get the concept of letters.

  8. Thanks for the great ideas - LOVE the fire stars!

  9. Love Love Love....we are working on an outer space unit in our co-op...this is awesome for our rocket ship day!

  10. Your website not only gave me great ideas but I think I want to start my own. There are so many great ideas out there that I "steal" and I'd love to return the favor. Thank you!!

  11. Maybe I'm a bit dense but I can't figure out the steps on the squishy paint sun. I see where you squish and then plop: what happens to the clear plastic wrap between the steps? I want to do this for my K-5th summer camp but details are very important with 20+ kids in a room so I want to be sure it's perfect!

    1. The clear plastic wrap is just a barrier between the child's hands and the paint. It is a great sensory activity. We put on the paint and then cover it with the plastic wrap (sometimes you need 2 pieces). Then the child "squishes" the paint around. When they are done, lift up the plastic wrap (throw it away) and you are left with an amazing effect. One of the children's favorite parts is when they lift up the plastic wrap and see how the colors have mixed. I hope this clears things up.

  12. Amazing ideas! Thank you so much for sharing not only your ideas and plans but your enthusiasm as well.

  13. I enjoyed reading this, I am really impressed .... Thanks for sharing this with us
    Top Pre schools,
    Top Pre-school

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. FIRST OF ALL, I DID NOT MEAN TO DELETE YOUR POST!!! I am so sorry! I accidently hit "remove" or something. But, to answer your question (and thank you for it) The sun is just "squished" on regular construction paper. We just plain on washable school paint, although I'm not sure of the brand. I let the students squeeze glue onto the black construction paper and I actually lay the sun on it. Thanks again for writing and I am so sorry I deleted your post.

    2. IT'S OKAY!!! THANK YOU FOR THE QUICK REPLY AND INSTRUCTION!!! I can't wait to try it out with the class. Very creative again and thank you for making your crafty ideas.

  15. These are amazing ideas, thank you. Can't wait to try some with my Reception/ Year one class. Especially the squishy suns!
    Thanks, Liz

  16. I am teaching 3 week long art camps to kids 4-5 years old. I was actually a last minute emergency fill in - the art school lost some regular instructors, so I am having to come up with a week's worth of projects on the fly. Your blog is SO HELPFUL. Thank you so very much for sharing.

  17. Very nice project!!! Wonderful ideas!! I´ll try to do them in Spain!! Best regards!!

  18. Thanks for sharing the information to us

  19. Fabulous ideas! Will certainly do the sun n the rocket project with my son.

  20. Hello! would like to feature one of your crafts in an upcoming "Best of the Web" round-up. I've sent a FB message via your school's FB page. I'm looking forward to your response!

  21. Thank you! I received your email and have responded.

  22. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  23. My little boy is 4 years old and I wanted to do some fun preschool activities to help him get ready for school next year. I really like your idea of rocket ship cookies. He would seriously love this and the planet painting so much.
    Mia |

  24. I did the sun artwork 2 years ago and my students LOVED it. I am about to do it again with my 35 (eek) year 3's. I was wondering if you had problems with the sun curling off the black backing once it had dried? Do you have any tips to stop this happening? I had to constantly reglue the suns throughout the term as most of them had come off at least once by the end and would like to avoid that this time round.