Friday, July 8, 2011

Salute to the Space Shuttle

Today is the scheduled launch of the last space shuttle, Atlantis.  Mark this historic day with some fun activities.  Or save some for when the shuttle lands!

Upload your photo to MY FACE IN SPACE so you can go along with the mission. You can print out a Flight Certificate when the shuttle lands, as a souvenir!

What would your face (or the astronauts) be viewing? If you have little kids, try this chalk on black paper solar system here.  My sensitive kiddo can't use chalk without being covered in goosebumps, so he made his with crayons, which works just fine!

The darling little origami space shuttles in the above photos came from here.  They fit in the palm of your hand. I had to make an extra so I could put in on my sun hat.  Just for today. Ok, maybe when the shuttle lands, too.  :)

Build a scale model of the space shuttle and see if you can get it to fly farther than your brother...  But an easier construction paper/towel tube shuttle can be found here, and maybe even a hubble telescope while you're at it.  A milk carton/dixie cup version of a space shuttle is here

Don't forget the snacks, all astronauts need to eat!  Here's a shuttle out of bread, peanut butter, and veggies.  We made space ship rice crispie treats:

In case you don't recognize the ingredients, the wings are fruit leather, the tips are swirled nestle morsels, and the rockets are mini marshmallows with food coloring penned letters.

NASA astronaut shirt, anyone? It has a free template for the front design.

Build a space shuttle pinata and launch/open it when the shuttle lands.

Build a space vehicle out of cardboard boxes and pretend you're on your own missions.

And don't forget the picture books!  We love, Me and My Place in Space, by Joan Sweeney, book for getting the kids to think about space from their perspectives...

Anne Rockwell's Our Stars, gives a very simple, yet enjoyable overview for young readers (through first grade).  It tackles questions that curious little minds have about stars and planets by using words that they will understand.
For up to grade 3, try The Best Book of Spaceships, by Ian Graham.  This fact and picture filled book tackles subjects like satellites and space suits in detail. Great for car rides!

For preschoolers, our favorite space FICTION books were Roaring Rockets, by Tony Mitton, and Sheep in Space, by Nancy Shaw.  Cute illustration, fun rhyming text in both!

For readers, we give our highest recommendations to Lucy and Stephen Hawkings space fact filled novels, George's Secret Key to the Universe and its sequel, George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt.  Space enthusiasts will learn all sorts of space details while being entertained by a clever space travel story.  You can't go wrong with that combination!


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