Between illnesses and just being busy, our space-themed activities ran about three weeks. I choose this topic because Diego has a genuine interest in space. While doing my research I found a TON of great activities to do about constellations, comets, rockets, etc. I finally decided to narrow it down to two topics that Diego loves planets and astronauts. We started by reading several books about the planets.
These first books are a set that we own that covers each planet individually. They are appropriate for older preschoolers and younger elementary. There is no fun story here, but a lot of good facts and pictures. Diego has been asking me to read these to him for months at bedtime so he already knew basically what planets are and their names.
We checked out several other books from the library in Spanish but most were too difficult and technical.
We completed a chart of information about each planet comparing size, color, and number of moons.
We put our Melissa and Doug Solar System puzzle together several times. The only complaint that I have with this puzzle is that the planets are shown as if you are standing on the moon. This, of course, makes the Earth look larger than all of the other planets. Diego already knew that Jupiter was the largest planet so this was confusing for him.
We made a toliet paper roll astronaut. This activity and several space-themed coloring sheets can be found here.
We decoded some more secret messages with the answers being the names of planets.
Finally, we completed a Solar System kit that my husband bought for Diego months ago. It is basically foam balls and wooden dowel rods. You could certainly put this together without a kit but he found it on a clearance rack so it was very cheap. First Diego had to paint the planets.
Next we had to cut the dowel rods so that the planets with different distances from the Sun.
The last step was to hang the Solar System in the boys' room.
This was a really fun unit and I am glad that we didn't rush it. We had plenty of time to pretend to be astronauts and explore the planets. We did this outside flying around on our spaceship (a.k.a. the swingset) and jumping on the couch cushions on the living room floor trying to avoid the lava of Venus. I am sure that we will revisit this topic several times and add a little to it each time.