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Young children, who love learning about new theories and ideas enjoy preschool science. Space exploration is another favorite. Here are some great ideas for preschool science and space themes, including circle time inspiration, recommended reading, and activities to try out. There are even ideas for discussions to start, trips to take, and some great songs which make learning about science both fun and educational.
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Space Circle Time
There are many preschool science books on Space, so it might be worth borrowing a few to read during circle time.
Space Poems by Gaby Morgan is full of excellent yet educational poems on Space, and these can be a great way to introduce the theme to the children and start discussions on what they think. Space: My Early Learning by Chez Picthall and Christiane Gunzi is a basic fiction book that contains fantastic explanations and amazing pictures, and Stanley’s Space Adventure by Tony Fraise is a great storybook.
Space is a great preschool theme because the children can really get into the subject, so talk to them about what they know, and allow them to lead the discussion.
Some children may want to know about aliens, and others might be more interested in certain planets. Encouraging discussion on the topic will help the children to develop their social and communication skills, and learn to have a diplomatic discussion.
Space Song (Sung to the theme of “Eency Weency Spider")
Climb aboard the spaceship,
We’re going to the moon,
Hurry and get ready,
We’re going to blast off soon,
Put on your helmets,
And buckle up real tight,
Here comes the countdown,
Let’s count with all our might.
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Make A Moon
Introduce the moon to the children by reading through the related chapters of the books introduced during circle time. Ask the children if they have ever seen the moon, and show pictures of the moon in all its stages, explaining why it’s shape changes. Then ask the children if they want to make their own moons. This activity can be messy, so it’s better to do it in small groups, and wearing aprons!
You Will Need:
- Plaster of Paris
- Round plastic molds
- Bubble wrap
Note: The plastic molds can be anything, as long as they will create disc-like shapes. I usually use packaging from boxes of biscuits.
Allow children to help to pour the plaster of Paris into their mold, and quickly place bubble wrap over the wet mixture. Leave to dry for two days, and then peel the bubble wrap off. The shape should look like a moon, complete with craters. Talk about craters with the children, while allowing them to paint their moon. You could also use tissue paper, and googly eyes.
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Glow In The Dark Pictures
Use 'glow in the dark paint' to paint space pictures onto construction paper. Dark paper will work better. Once the pictures have dried, turn off all the lights and close the curtains, and watch the pictures glow! This makes great wall-art, or artwork for the children to take home.
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Nutritional Science Circle Time
Start by reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar", by Eric Carle. Read through twice, first allowing the children to enjoy the story, and the second time documenting which foods he eats and what happens as he eats so much.
Talk to the children about which foods they like. Introduce the food plate, and teach the children which foods are grains, vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy products and fats. You could use plastic play food to help the children sort food into groups.
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A fun preschool science activity is taste testing. Collect different types of foods, belonging to different food groups. You should collect a mixture of common and rare foods. Send permission slips home with children to check their parents are happy for them to take part.
Cut the foods into bite-sized amounts, and place in bowls. Sit in a group with the children, and encourage them to sort the foods into the correct group on the food plate. Explain that as the groups get smaller, we need much less of them.
Allow the children to taste the treats as they categorize them correctly, and ask them what they think. Not only does this make categorizing foods fun, but it also allows the children to try new and different foods.
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Where Food Comes From
Make flash cards with a letter of the alphabet on each one. Scramble the cards up, and pick one at random. Ask the children to think of the first food they can that starts with that letter, and where that food comes from. See how much the children know! You may be able to demonstrate apples growing by going on a trip to a local apple tree, and it’s usually easy and cheap to buy vegetable seeds to plant with the children.
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Make Fruit Salads
Making fruit salads with the children is a great activity for preschool science! Buy plenty of varieties of fruit, and lots of fresh fruit juice. Pre-cut the fruit into bite-sized chunks, and collect enough plastic bowls for each of the children. Help them to half-fill their bowl with juice, and add some pieces of each different type of fruit. Then refrigerate for an hour, and enjoy together, talking about how healthy fruit is, and which types the children like and don’t like. Discuss how the children could get their five-a-day, and which fruits are their favorites.
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More Space Time Fun - Making Rockets
Rockets are often a favorite topic in preschool science, and children will love the chance to make their own. Introduce the activity by talking about the distances between the planets, and why we visit other planets. You could also mention satellites.
You Will Need:
- Toilet roll
- Paper cup (or your own cone made from paper)
- Red tissue paper
- Cellophane tape
- Decorations – sequins work well!
Give children a toilet roll, and help them glue their cone to the top. Cover the rocket in foil, and sellotape the red tissue paper to the other end of the toilet roll, to look like flames. Allow the child to decorate the rocket, by drawing on windows, adding sequins etc.
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Musical Trip To Space
Get the children to sit in a long line, and sing the Spaceship song. Blast into space, and turn on some space-like music. Then get the children to follow your lead...tell the children what they must do on each planet. Hop on one foot, crawl, dance, walk backwards...play music while they explore, and then turn the music off and line up to blast off to a new planet. This is a great way to burn some pre-school energy, and to increase spatial awareness, and physical development.
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You Will Need:
- Black paint
Before class, write an alien message in chalk on a white piece of paper for each child. You could also draw space-related pictures. Then get each child to paint their page using black paint, and uncover an alien message just for them!
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As a teacher, I love teaching preschool science. Space exploration is another topic children really enjoy learning! This range of activities, stories and songs are perfect for teaching the key concepts of preschool science and space, while still ensuring the children have fun and promoting development.