I will never forget how empty my mind was when I was first given the theme of Space to do with infants. It was as empty as space itself. I didn’t know where to start with five-year-olds. How much will they know? How much of the information will be way beyond their comprehension? Will it be fun? I needn’t have worried. Every June when we look back on the year, Space is the most memorable topic! If you’ve not tried it yet with your class then what are you waiting for?
I always start a new topic with this type of discussion. It is great for learning what the pre-learning the children have, for introducing language and key vocabulary and to get the children’s minds engaged with the topic.
The Space Station
The Space Station. Oh the space station! The boundaries are limitless with a roll of black paper and some tin foil! The images here are some of the space stations that I have made over the years. All a little different but all achieve the same positive reaction from the children.
I used to use black backing paper (when I was in a lovely school that supplied that stuff!) but I then discovered plastic table cloths! Much cheaper, slightly more durable and do the same job! I normally pick them up in a good party shop or discount shop like Mr Price. Silver paper comes in handy but tin foil will be your best friend! Wrap everything in black or silver! Get an old laptop, a phone, make some button control panels (I used the casing from a tray of buns, I spray-painted it silver and stuck some coloured card on it for each button) and you’re ready for launch.
It is important to try and incorporate as many literacy, numeracy and other learning opportunities into your roleplay as possible, and a space station is full of learning opportunities!
Measuring moon rocks – from length to weight – these balls of tinfoil are a great hands-on imaginative resource. Other numeracy opportunities can be brought in from entering codes into control panels, recording the number of launches, blast-offs and space missions that have taken place. Children can count their alien encounters and the days they have been in space.
From drawing flight maps to writing (or drawing) space observations, there are plenty of writing opportunities in a space station. Reading mission launching checklists, control panel instructions and having fun with the keyboard on a laptop are all playful ways to introduce literacy to your space station. Don’t forget your labels, signage for various areas and, of course, make sure to have some space-related picture books to hand! Some journeys will be long and will come in handy to pass the time!
Other Items & Resources
Some other items I have picked up along the way are spacesuits. You can get them in a few places but I would recommend these ones from My Little Uniform. They are absolutely unbelievable quality. They are made with incredibly durable cotton, strong zips and nice wide legs so that they go on easily over the children’s shoes and clothes. My Little Uniform also have loads of printable resources on their website which you can access and use to support your topic.
A large portion of my printed resources for my roleplay area have come from Pocket Of Preschool on Teachers Pay Teachers. It is, without doubt, the most comprehensive roleplay pack I have ever come across and is filled with so many printable resources and great ideas. You can can click here to have a look!
My Small world for the theme of space usually stems around a moon landing theme. A plain tuff tray with props for small world play is all you need, or if you want to be a bit more adventurous, you can cover your tray with foil for an added space feel!
Super Smelly Alien Play-Doh
What infant class doesn’t like making a mess? And what better way to make it than by making play-doh? We used the book ‘The Super Smelly Alien’ as our inspiration for making play-doh and while it wasn’t (thankfully) super smelly, it was lots of fun.
How we made it:
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup of salt
Few drop of food colouring
Mix the salt and flour together. Add 1/2 the water and some food colouring and kneed well. Gradually add the rest of water and food colouring until you have the desired consistency and colour. Mix in some glitter (optional)
We used some extra accessories to help us make aliens!
Even if you’re not making your own play-doh, regular play-doh and a few simple additions can make for very interesting alien creations!
There are lots of directed drawing videos on YouTube and this one is our favourite when learning about space. It is a step by step video modelling how to create a picture of an alien in a spaceship! I normally watch it through with the children first and on the second watch, they follow along with the instructions! The results are always amazing and the children are so proud of their drawings!
Here is the YouTube video if you want to give it a try yourself!
Paper Plate Craft
Our favourite Spacecraft is making alien space ships from a paper plate, a plastic glass and a lollypop stick alien puppet! It’s really simple!
- Paint a paper plate in whatever colours and patterns you like
- Cut a hold in the centre, big enough to pass a clear container, like a plastic glass, through, but not big enough that it won’t hold it in place
- Secure the clear container in place and seal it with some sticky tape. You can wrap a pipe cleaner around the ridge of the container for extra decoration if you wish
- Decorate the rim of the plate with jewels, stickers or glitter
- Make an alien (small enough to fit inside your clear container) from card and attach it to the end of a lollypop stick.
- Enjoy your space adventures with your alien and spaceship!