Reach for the Stars is the title I came up with for February's Big Play in a Box! Space-related learning and play have been Jam-packed into one box ready to be opened and enjoyed with kids and adults of many ages!
I will have to admit as a Mom of 4 adult children, Space Study was not my favorite when it came around yearly. I will not forget scurrying around the night before "The Solar System Project" was due attempting to be creative and often just trying to get it done! Either way, here is my attempt to provide all of the budding astronauts out there with some FUN, hands-on play!
First, I recommend at least skimming the activity cards provided. They will give you an overview of the contents and help you in deciding what direction you want to go in pulling out contents from the box. I always recommend finding the book and reading with your child, to begin with. This gives your child a sense of an underlying theme in the rest of their Big Play in a Box. This month's book, Dream Big My Precious One, is a well-written book encouraging your children to aspire to be anything you choose (including an astronaut). The hard-covered book has beautiful illustrations as well as message.
These building pieces make a fantastic STEM activity. Are there any aspiring engineer types out there? These will encourage your child to use problem-solving, imagination, and manipulation skills to create almost anything! A fun extension activity is to write down common items and ask your child to build a representation. Hence, my attempt above at re-creating a rocket! Give them items such as animals, buildings, letters, you name it! It is fun to watch their minds click as they come up with a final product. Plus...it keeps them busy and motivated to continue playing!
Space On-the-go Puzzle
This 36-piece puzzle is the perfect size to bring along to places where waiting is required. It even comes in a handy drawstring bag to keep it organized in your child's to-go bag. 36 pieces may seem like too many for the younger child. That is ok! Separate into smaller 2-4 pieces at a time that you know go together. Assist in lining up the pieces, allowing them to problem solve it out until the 2 (or 4) go together. Are 36 pieces too easy? That is OK! Time them in completion. See if they can beat your time! See if they can beat their own time. A little friendly competition cannot hurt anyone! Don't be surprised if your child desires to do the puzzle over and over again! Kids like the predictability, and sense of accomplishment with the completion of puzzles.
Sensory Bean Box
I have included dry sensory play this month! Black beans are an amazing sensory bin fill. They are smooth and relaxing to engage with. You can use the included box for your sensory bin. Simply empty the contents of your Big Play in a Box and dump the beans into it. Believe me when I say you will even have a difficult time staying out of this sensory sensation! Included in the beans are Glo-in-the-dark stars. Shut down the lights before bedtime and engage in "finding the stars". It is so fun!! Have you found the Solar System Cardstock in the box? Cut out the planets and sink them into the beans for additional digging means. Practice lining them up in order. Pull out the included fact sheet and Space Jokes to continue the conversation about Space. Trust me, I learned a lot just by researching these, and I think you just may as well!
Outer Space Suncatchers
Need a project to keep the kids busy while you make dinner? Bring out the 3 suncatchers included in the FULL EXPERIENCE Box. You have also been given paint and a brush. Any age enjoys a little painting time. It's calming and rewarding, especially after hanging on your window for beautiful new decorations.
Rocket Launch Craft
This is another fun STEM project. Color your 4 rockets (I recommend crayons over markers or paint). Cut around them (I would not cut out details, but rather an oval around the whole rocket. Trim off the plastic pipettes included. Glue onto the backside of your rocket. Allow dry time, and they are ready for launch. Use the included straws to place in the pipette and give them a BLOW! See which rocket goes the farthest. Try it from the top of the stairs. Aim for the Sensory Box you created with beans. This will keep your kids busy an entire rainy afternoon!
Constellation Chalk Art
The final project is a way to talk about the constellations. Show your younger child pictures when looking them up online. Take them out at night and discuss when looking out at the stars. Younger children can use the star stickers and randomly place all over their included black cardstock. They will make their own interpretation of what a Constellation is! Do you have an older child? Consider bringing up pictures online of various constellations. Have your child attempt to replicate using the stars and chalk. Any age child will have fun with creating their own versions of space using the chalk, stars and black cardstock. Perfect time for abstract OR more concrete tasks. They can decide!
I LOVE how this box turned out! So many ages/stages can enjoy this Space-Filled Box of Play! Big Play in a Box strives each month to provide NEW and Creative ways to engage in hands-on play that challenges skills, motivates learners, and encourages relationships amongst the most important people in their lives! Check us out at www.bigplayinabox.com Consider subscribing to receive your daily dose of instant play at your doorstep each month!