Friday, July 5, 2013

Exploring Space - Punching Constellations

Day 5 - Punching Constellations

While it's fun to teach Hannah things, the knowledge doesn't resonate with her until she's able to connect it to her everyday life.  The concept of space and planets is hard for her to fully grasp, but stars is something she understands.  Today I focused on turning those seemingly random smattering of stars  into constellations - stories and figures that create a veritable fairytale in the night sky.

Cost - Low

I already had the star punch and thin blue scrapbook paper, but even if you had to go out and buy them, this project should be under $10 - especially if you use a 40% off JoAnn or Michael's coupon.  The book used in today's project was loaned from the public library but is available on Amazon for under $6.
A sidenote that the actual punch I used in today's project was from the June 2013 Kiwi Crate.  It was included so that the child could create a lantern with star punched side panels.  I'm continually impressed with the create projects designed by Kiwi Crate and love the craft tools that they include for you to keep.  For $20 a month, I think they are a great value and resource.  If you use My Link then you'll save $10 off your first month.  Honestly - even my husband loves the crates, and that's a huge endorsement.
Messiness - Low
I provided a little bowl for Hannah to place the punched out stars, so clean up was very quick.

Prep Time - Medium
In order to prepare for this activity, I read the book to Hannah just before bedtime and then we looked at stars from our back porch.  The next morning we revisited the constellation drawings in the book and tried to recreate them with the hole punch and paper.

Educational Value - Medium
I can't rave enough about this book - The Big Dipper written by Franklyn Branley and illustrated by Molly Coxe.  Not only does it use toddler friendly vocabulary, but the parents will learn something too!  Not only does it teach you how to find the North Star, but then how to locate the constellation from it, and then the names of all the stars that create the constellation.  Hannah really enjoyed it and has asked to read it again.

We incorporated counting by figuring out how many stars were in each constellation, and fine motor skills while punching out the constellations.  

Expansion Ideas: This would be a great time to introduce a telescope and look at the stars up close.  You could also use the glow in the dark stars from the sensory box to recreate the constellations.
Once we had finished a few constellations, I suggested that Hannah create her own constellation and then I asked her to tell me all about it.  She informed me that her creation was a bunny that was eating carrot soup out of the big dipper.  

See the two ears, body, and tail off to the right?  I was seriously impressed.


Come back on Monday for more SPACE themed toddler / preschool activities.  Make sure to follow me on Pinterest and check out my Space themed board.

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