Today was one of those days where the weather is grey and miserable and our runny noses have us staying home from our usual activities. However, my kids aren't about to let a little sniffle stop them from playing so, inspired by the topic of children’s show we saw this morning, I set up an indoor field trip : Astronaut Training!
I used things I found around the house to create a morning of astronaut training. I made a list of all the stations on the easel and we used this as a “schedule”.
1. Astronaut Equipment Outfitting:
I used a pair of boots I pulled from the next size up clothing bucket, a pair of mittens, a helmet fashioned from a plastic mixing bowl, a winter hat and a strap from a high chair (use paper bags, hockey helmets, bike helmets etc). Trainee helps with the dressing process as much as possible. The large clothing simulates the awkwardness of working in space. Real astronauts in training wear gloves in their training as well.
2. Repair and Re-location of space blocks:
Using a couple boxes, some blocks and two benches, we set up a task that requires both fine and gross motor skills. Our blocks open and close so the trainee's task was to close each block, climb onto the space walk (benches) and deposit the repaired space block into the box at the other end. You could change this task by using a wooden puzzle where the child would take the puzzle pieces across and put them in their correct spots.
3. Motion Training:
All you need is a spinning office chair. Spin the trainee round and round. Stop the chair and have them walk to a target (make it a soft one in case they stumble). Repeat, but end this training task before the trainee feels ill!!
4. Telescope Building:
We used a toilet paper tube, tissue paper, star stickers and an elastic band. Using an elastic band secure a generous square of tissue paper over the end of the tube (we did two layers of a light blue paper). Use stickers to decorate, placing a few stars and a moon shape on the tissue paper covering the end. Then you can look through the open end and see the stars and moon silhouetted against the transparent blue tissue.
5. Space Snack
I put bits of snack into the opening blocks that were used in activity #2, but any variety of small containers would work. We ate Marshmallow clouds, moon rock raisins, Animal cookie aliens (the ones with various body parts already broken off), stars (commercial baby puffs shaped like stars) and a rocket ship strawberry (left the green leaf on as the fire). Some other snack/lunch ideas:
make astronaut food by using instant pudding powder divided into resealable sandwich baggies. Add the milk and have kids mush it up until it starts to thicken (around 2 min). Cut a hole in the corner and suck it out like real astronauts do.
Make a bagel space ship. Spread sliced bagel with cream cheese or peanut butter, put a small round food such as cherry tomato or boiled egg etc in the hole. Decorate the edges of spaceship with things that will match the flavor of your sandwich (raisins, sliced pickles, banana or apple slices, shredded carrots etc)
6. Water Training:
Astronauts do a lot of training underwater to simulate the weightlessness of outer space. Our water training was simply a mid day bath which is a treat around here. After our water training we had some darkness training aka NAP TIME. Our field trip did a wonderful job of keeping my son focused and having fun all morning and tuckered him out for a good nap.