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Be an Astronaut!

2015-05-01 by Julie Kieras
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Kids can pretend to be an astronaut anytime, with these creative play and learning activities, brought to us by guest blogger Julie Kieras of HappyStrongHome.

Our family recently returned from a trip to Washington D.C., where we enjoyed the National Air and Space Museum. So I knew my boys would love exploring what it’s like to be an astronaut for a day!

We made a list of activities an astronaut might have to do, and then created our own kid-sized versions!

Be an Astronaut! *Our Be an Astronaut for a Day adventure was so much fun, we’ll likely spend the next month discussing, learning, and playing more astronaut games!

Then we began our study of the stars with a solar system floor puzzle. The boys worked cooperatively to assemble the puzzle (puzzles are a good choice for mixed ages!), while I talked about all the activities we’d have today.

Be an Astronaut! *Our Be an Astronaut for a Day adventure was so much fun, we’ll likely spend the next month discussing, learning, and playing more astronaut games!

After puzzle play, it was time to suit up and soar into outer space with a silvery astronaut costume! The boys took turns wearing various parts of the costume. Every flight gets a photo of the crew before they leave, so I hung a sheet of space printed fabric over a door to create a photo shoot opportunity. My son insisted on holding his helmet for the first round of photos, because “that’s what astronauts do in their pictures!”

Be an Astronaut! *Our Be an Astronaut for a Day adventure was so much fun, we’ll likely spend the next month discussing, learning, and playing more astronaut games!

Of course, every flight of fancy begins with a countdown, right? The boys laced counting blocks onto a string to create a countdown necklace!

Be an Astronaut! *Our Be an Astronaut for a Day adventure was so much fun, we’ll likely spend the next month discussing, learning, and playing more astronaut games!

My little astronauts rocketed into space with a little artwork. Coloring a rocket ship in a scratch art activity book was perfect for my preschooler.

Be an Astronaut! *Our Be an Astronaut for a Day adventure was so much fun, we’ll likely spend the next month discussing, learning, and playing more astronaut games!

Be an Astronaut! *Our Be an Astronaut for a Day adventure was so much fun, we’ll likely spend the next month discussing, learning, and playing more astronaut games!

Then it was time to explore the planets! Using a solar system place mat as our “space map,” we navigated through the stars and planets. The boys recreated each planet we visited with clay creations modeling compound. Then we lined the planets up in order and practiced saying their funny names!

Be an Astronaut! *Our Be an Astronaut for a Day adventure was so much fun, we’ll likely spend the next month discussing, learning, and playing more astronaut games!

Phew! All that traveling through outer space can make an astronaut hungry! Time to fuel up with astronaut food: freeze dried fruit and squeeze pouch applesauce served on “moon plates.”

To stay limber, astronauts have to do daily exercises. I led the boys in a few stretches to limber up. We talked about gravity and how it affects our body, pulling us back to the ground. The boys jumped off the couch to see if they could float… nope, not on planet Earth! But we walked our fingers across the table in big bounces, showing how gravity would affect our walking if we were on the moon.

Two tired but happy astronauts orbited back to Earth, excited about our homemade Be an Astronaut adventure!

The most wonderful part of a day of play devoted to a single theme or topic isn’t even how much enjoyment they had in the moment. It’s seeing how play encourages curiosity, inquisitiveness, and creative learning! The questions the boys had about space travel and astronauts… we’ll likely spend the next month discussing, learning, and playing more astronaut games!

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Be an Astronaut! *Our Be an Astronaut for a Day adventure was so much fun, we’ll likely spend the next month discussing, learning, and playing more astronaut games!

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Julie Kieras

Julie Kieras mothers two inquisitive boys with the support of her husband in the lovely four seasons of New England. She is often found at home interpreting toddler-speak, elbow deep in Play Dough, or behind the pages of a book. She blogs about her family life at HappyStrongHome.com.

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