Our Project for the Spring Term is “Space”
So why is it important to teach children about Space?
It sparks imagination and ignites curiosity – learning about space is all about the unknown, the ‘what ifs’ and the fascinating questions. It helps children become creative thinkers. It’s exciting, engaging and enthralling and helps ensure our future generations of adults can think for themselves. It also provides us with endless opportunities for covering all areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum.
Space captures children’s imagination with its rockets, moon landings and different planets and stars. It’s also helped with its popularity by the many cartoons and toys that feature rockets and space craft. Even Peppa Pig has been to space!
Teaching young children about space and space travel, creates our future scientists. Who knows, the young child engaged in small world play with space men and rockets in nursery today, may one day become an astronaut or a rocket scientist.
Our initial aim is to ignite their curiosity, and then a child’s imagination can take over and make all things possible.
So where do we start?….. looking at the moon and the stars in the sky is often the best way to begin to talk about space to the very young child. We can show children pictures of the earth and the planets in our solar system.
Our discussions can be extended further by talking about day and night and the differences between them.
Stories and songs are also a great way to introduce this project. There are lots of popular children’s books and nursery rhymes that can be incorporated into our space theme…..
‘Twinkle twinkle little star’, ‘5 Little Men in a Flying Saucer’, ‘Zoom, zoom we’re going to the moon!’, ‘Aliens love Underpants’ and many more popular classics.
Role play and dress up opportunities help the child express their ideas and set the scene…
One of the biggest questions is of course …. ‘Are we alone?’ The thought of extra-terrestrial life forms and alien beings is exciting and conjures up images of antennae and lots of boggly eyes! A very popular activity with the children is designing their own alien. These can be made with lots of different types of arts and crafts media, and then we watch those creative juices flow!
In fact, this project lends itself exceptionally well to a very wide range of arts and crafts activities…
The moon is always particularly fascinating to children, as it’s so easy for them to see it in the sky and notice it’s changing shape.
A great activity you can do with your child is to get them thinking about the craters on the moon and what they are.
What are craters, exactly? And how come the moon has got so many of them? This sensory lesson is a great bit of excitement for children, and helps them understand what gives the moon its pockmarked look using flour, small pebbles or rocks for meteorites and a round cake tin.
Fill the bottom of a round cake pan with a layer of flour. You can sprinkle a bit of dirt or sand in here too, to give it a bit of texture. Place the round cake pan on the floor, and tell your child that this is the moon. The child takes a few pebbles in hand, and one by one, they can drop their pebbles into the flour. With help from the little hands, take the pebbles out of the flour carefully and gently, and point out the crater-like indents.
Mark making in ‘moon dust’ helps budding writing skills…
Cookery activities such as making sparkly space rock buns are always extremely popular and incorporate mathematical concepts such as weighing and measuring. Edible glitter gives the cakes a ‘space’ theme and provides a visual sensory stimulus that the children love!
….and small world play, can also be easily incorporated into this topic…
Teaching children about space also teaches the importance of looking after our planet. This helps them to realise how fragile our own planet is, and hopefully gets across the message about looking after planet earth. Whether it be through recycling, protecting our wildlife or reducing pollution – children can start from a very early age to contribute to making a difference; establishing it as an integral part of their lifestyle.
We’re really excited to be taking our young astronauts on some galactic space adventures this term. If you have any items at home that would be interesting to the children and complement our theme, please do speak to a teacher.
Be prepared for lots of excellent counting opportunities as we count down to blast off!
5….4….3….2….1 and we’re all aboard the Children’s House rocket!