This is one of my all time favorite thematic units! I get so excited each year when the time comes to pull out the aluminum foil and start wrapping up my playhouse. I love to see the children's imaginations come alive as they think about what it would be like to be an astronaut or travel to an alien planet--all while learning necessary academic concepts.
Dramatic Play: Rocket
This is one of my student's favorite dramatic play themes and it's so easy to put together! All I do is use aluminum foil to make the outside of my playhouse look like a rocket, if you don't have a playhouse, you could use a large cardboard box, or make a shiny rocket outline on the wall.
Inside the rocket, I have astronaut costumes, as well as toy rockets, books about space, space words, and plenty of writing material. It would also be fun to find some old technology from a thrift store (typewriters, record players, cassette tapes, keyboards) and add them to the dramatic play area as the rocket's control center. The children learn so much from participating in this center: oral language skills, cooperation, social skills, vocabulary, story structure... Additionally, I can't tell you how much this center helps my classroom behavior. Here kids learn to be a team as well as empathy through role play. They learn to problem solve and practice self control. Did I mention I love the rocket ship?
Science Center: Space
Next to my playhouse I have my space science center. Here I have my sensory table full of moon sand and astronauts where children can recreate the moon landing. I also have planet models, books, and pictures for the children to explore.
Space Language Arts
At the writing center, children use space words to write stories of exploration and adventure.
Children practice reading sight words by finding them on stars with flashlights.
At the art center, children draw the moon using the facts they've learned about it.
At the manipulative center, children learn about shape and geometry while building rockets.
After the children finish their moons, we make a mini astronaut version of them with their picture, add a rocket, and then they write about a visit to the moon. These turn out adorable and make a great portfolio sample!
Space Math Lesson
I love to integrate our scientific theme into other areas of the classroom. Here is a space themed math lesson you can try out to teach the part/whole relationship of the number 5 as you help children learn to add and subtract fluently within 5.
Space Themed Products
Want more space themed ideas? Try out one of our space themed products, available here at our website or at our Teachers Pay Teachers store.