Getting Lost in the Milk Way

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R was 18 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

The Planets in Our Solar System by Franklyn M. Branley – The vibrant illustrations kept R engaged while I read this long book.  Along with the many facts about the solar system, there is a description of how to make a solar system mobile, a planetary distance activity and a variety of other activity ideas.

Activity:

1. Milky Way Marble Run

IMG_0801R thought this activity was hilarious.  She enjoyed placing the marble down on the board and watching it roll around while shouting “wooo”.  Sometimes she just dropped the marble into the centre and would look up at me with a mischievous grin.  I kept the board up on both of our legs and showed R how to rock the board back and forth to make the marble move.

INSTRUCTIONS:
I made the marble run by putting circular hot glue lines onto cardboard and covering the entire surface with aluminum foil before painting it.  I used my black and white paint dabbers to paint the surface and added yellow paint spots to represent stars.  I cut a hole in the centre so that it could be the target for the marble run.

Extension Activities:
a. Instead of using hot glue, the marble run track can be made with small cut up pieces of straw that get taped down.  This way, a child can be involved in the constructing process without worry of using a hot glue gun.  Before starting the construction phase, show the child photos of the milky way galaxy, a sample of a marble run using straws, a demonstration of how to tape down the straws (add a strip of tape over the straw) and allow the child to problem solve how to align the straws into a circular arrangement so that the marble can find its way all the way into the hole. Continue reading

Bursting Sunshine in Space

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R was 18 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

Mad About Rockets, Stars and Outer Space by Sarah Creese – Mad About Rockets, Stars and Outer Space is a fantastic nonfiction book about all things space. There are tons of facts, labelled diagrams, a search and find page and a clue and question page.  You also get some bonus stickers with this book!

Activity:

1. Outer Space Play Dough

IMG_0717I cooked up some outer space play dough and added tons of course and fine glitter to it (to my husband’s dismay!) to give it the look of a star-filled galaxy.  The glitter also adds a textured feel to the extremely soft play dough.  I invited R to enjoy this sensory activity by presenting the play dough in a metal cake tin with glow-in-the-dark stars and astronauts.  To stimulate her senses further, I added vanilla to the dough.  R had so much fun with this activity!  During the play, we sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” together and she joyfully played for an hour!

To encourage language development, we practiced using the word star as R placed the starts into the dough.  I pointed to and named each astronaut and R just listened as she is still unable to say this new vocabulary word.  After the initial introduction to the play dough, I allowed her to play as she pleased with only a few interruptions from me that involved adding more language to her play.

I adapted the play dough recipe from Fairy Dust Teaching.  Here’s how to make this awesome outer space play dough at home! Continue reading