A is for Astronomy | Projects for Little Hands

For this unit, I decided to do three special astronomy based projects: moon sand, a cardboard space shuttle, and constellations.

Moon Sand {A Super Easy Recipe}

Making Moon Sand

rubymoonsand

Mix 4 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of baby (or vegetable) oil.

Voila! You’re done.

Really. It’s that easy. This is such a simple task that little hands can definitely help at every step of the way!

If you’re feeling fancy, try adding food coloring, glitter, small pebbles, extracts for scent… the possibilities are limitless! Adding a little black food coloring and glitter would give it a moon-like feeling.

Learning with Moon Sand

21078371_10155865611074610_2873125006600968542_nWe used our alphabet cutters to make the letter A (and others), molded the letter A out of sand, and traced A into the sand using fingers and other kitchen tools. We also used food coloring pens (Betty Crocker Easy Writers) to write on the sand!

Then, I let Ruby’s imagination run wild. She built all kinds of things and explored what she could and couldn’t do with the moon sand’s limitations.

Leave a comment and tell us what you did with it!

Storage

Unlike kinetic sand, this moon sand WILL dry out, so make sure to store it in an airtight container if you want to reuse it.

I keep a small stash of inexpensive plastic containers just for projects, so my nice stuff doesn’t disappear from my kitchen. You can find containers at the Dollar Tree or even wash out plastic food containers. I don’t recommend the latter for actual food storage (as they’re not meant to truly be reused), but for this kind of stuff, it’s great!

Cardboard Space Shuttle {A Creative Project}

Building the Space Shuttle

What You’ll Need:

  • A large cardboard box
  • Durable scissors
  • Paint and paintbrushes
  • Markers
  • Any other crafting supplies or household objects that you may desire (tin foil and random cap lids would be good ones!)

21231714_10155892348504610_5317496593823877564_nI tend to keep a stockpile of big Amazon boxes for projects just like this. We had the perfect large box, with room for both girls and low enough sides to allow them to get in and out unassisted.

We started by tucking in the shorter box flaps and cutting the longer box flaps to resemble wings. Then, Ruby painted the entire exterior white. We added a few details with paint and markers to make it more space shuttle like too.

If you want to take it one step further, you can also use another piece of cardboard (or the inside of the box) to make a “control panel”, with buttons, screens, and levers using markers, paint, and random household objects.

Learning About Space Shuttles

This is where it’s best to let a preschooler be a preschooler. Just let their imaginations lead the way as you blast off into space!

We also enjoyed watching some of NASA’s launch videos on YouTube!

Pipe Cleaner Constellations {Motor Skills Craft}

Making the Constellations

26733565_10156295039209610_3703965642611106383_nWhat You’ll Need:

  • Black pipe cleaners
  • Yellow pony beads
  • Pictures of the constellations
  • Dark construction paper (optional, for your background)

We started by discussing constellations. We have some awesome space books and have spent a lot of time at the Infinity Science Center, so the concept was familiar to Ruby. Still, it was fun to specifically talk about them and see her excitement about spotting them with her telescope later. We watched the video embedded below too. The characters are really adorable and gave a good primer!

Then, it was time to build our constellations. I pulled up a constellation map from Google Images and let her pick her favorite. She chose Gemini.

26731356_10156295039214610_7279221928615995597_n

The yellow pony beads represent the stars, while the pipe cleaners are the imaginary lines that astronomers use to connect constellations together. This is where the black paper background can come in handy, so the black pipe cleaners “disappear” into the blackness of “space”.

Ruby needed a little bit of help twisting the pony beads into place, but this was mostly a hands-off project for me! I really enjoyed watching her replicate the Gemini constellation and making some constellations of her own invention too!

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