Week Nineteen: STEAM Storytime: Outer Space!

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October 10, 2015 by libraryheather

Program Title: STEAM Storytime: Outer Space!

Target Age Range: Ages 3-6

Program Length: 60 minutes

Brief Description:
Half-storytime, half-lab in which we explore outer space.

Supplies:
Construction paper (2 large pieces per participant, 1 of which should be black paper)

Colorful paper, cut into squares for spaceship craft

Colorful paper, cut into triangles for spaceship craft

Colorful paper, cut into long triangles for sides of spaceship craft

Die-cut moons and stars, if available

Glue sticks

Washable markers

Cut-outs of all 8 planets

Crayons

Rubber bands

Thick foam sponges large enough for children’s feet (the number you need will be dependent upon how many participants you have, but we did about half the number)

Gray clay, formed into “moon rocks”

A large sheet either tie-dyed or painted to look like the surface of the moon

Newspaper (several sections, balled up)

Paper bags with a rectangular hole cut in one side, for “space helmets” (1 per participant)

More markers, crayons, do-a-dot paint, etc to decorate “space helmets”

18 cups flour

2.5 cups baby oil

Mixing spoon

1 large or two smaller plastic containers with lids for moon sand

Wet wipes

Planet flannels

Astronaut flannels

“Eight Great Planets! A Song About Planets” – Laura Purdie Salas

“The Way Back Home” – Oliver Jeffers

Cost: $-$$ 0-100, depending on how much you already have at your disposal

Advanced Preparation:
-Form air-dry gray clay into lumpy “moon rocks” and use a pencil eraser to dot the surface. Give yourself several days to let these dry out. Use this eHow article to guide you in making great-looking moon rocks. Our volunteers used balls of newspaper to form the clay around instead of tennis balls, and it worked great (and was much cheaper!). Of course, they were very fragile and most ended up being broken and crushed. Oh well!

-Unless you’re lucky enough to own or find a sheet that looks like the surface of the moon, you’ll have to make your own. We found a large piece of gray-and-white speckled fabric, and then had an artistically inclined volunteer paint craters onto it.

-Cut rectangular holes in one side of a paper bag (make one per participant). These will be “space helmets” that they can decorate and wear on a visit to “the moon.” Our inspiration for all of the three aforementioned pieces came from this one photo from the Oakland Public Library.

-Make two small tubs (or one large tub) of Moon Sand (double this recipe). Cover tightly until you’re ready to use.

-Cut out a bunch of squares, triangles, and long triangles for the spaceship name craft.

-Optionally, use a die-cut machine to make decorative stars and moons for the spaceship name craft.

-Make a model of the spaceship name craft for the table.

-Print out planet templates and cut out all 8 planets for each participant and separate into bowls, baggies, or piles.

-Make a model of the solar system craft. (See Special Instructions and Procedures below)

-If you don’t have some already, make flannels for the 8 planets and the Sun. We got inspiration from Miss Meg’s Storytime. To make all the planets and sun different sizes, we found 8 circular objects around the kitchen, lined them up to make sure there was some sort of size progression, and then traced them onto flannel.

-If you don’t have them already, make astronaut flannels.

-To set up for the program, ball up sheets of newspaper on the floor. Cover them with the ‘moon surface’ sheet. Set the clay moon rocks in various places on the sheet. Put the tubs of moon sand in the middle of the sheet. Have wet wipes nearby for hands that will inevitably be greasy from touching the moon sand.

Program Outline:
1. Welcome and introductions.

2. Song: The More That We Learn Science (to the tune of “The More We Get Together”)

The more that we learn science,
Learn science, learn science,
The more that we learn science,
The happier we’ll be.
We’ll know things, and do things,
And explore many new things,
The more that we learn science,
The happier we’ll be.

3. Brainstorm: Do you know what outer space is? What is outer space like? What is in outer space?

4. Action Rhyme: Climb Aboard the Spaceship (Miss Katie’s Storytime Wiki)

Climb aboard the spaceship, we’re going to the moon
Hurry and get ready, we’re going to blast off soon
Put on your helmets, and buckle up real tight  (mimic putting on a helmet and buckling in)
Here comes the countdown, let’s count with all our might  (ask them to help you in the countdown)
10 . . . 9 . . .8 . . . 7 . . .6 . . . 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . .2 . . . 1 . . . blast off!   (crouch down lower and lower, then JUMP UP HIGH when you say ‘blast off’!)

5. Flannel: 5 Astronauts Went Up Into Space (Miss Katie’s Storytime Wiki)
One astronaut went up in space
Upon the moon to play one day
He had such enormous fun
That he called for another astronaut to come!

(Repeat, counting up to five.)

Five astronauts went up in space
Upon the moon to play one day
They had such enormous fun
That they called for everyone to come!

6. Song: Outer Space Song (to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell, modified from Preschool Education)

The sun is in the sky.
The sun is in the sky.

Hot and bright, it gives us light.
The sun is in the sky.

The moon is in the sky.
The moon is in the sky.
Round and ’round the earth it goes.
The moon is in the sky.

The planets are out in space,
The planets are out in space,
Round and ’round the sun they go,
The planets are out in space.

The stars are far away,
The stars are far away,
Twinkly bright, they shine at night.
The stars are far away.

7. Book: “Eight Great Planets! A Song About Planets” – Laurie Purdie Salas

STEAMouterspace8. Flannel/Song: The Planets Go Spinning (to the tune of When Johnny Comes Marching Home, a combination of a slightly modified version of the song from Preschool Education and the flannels from Miss Meg’s Storytime)

The planets revolve around the sun, hooray, hooray.
The planets revolve around the sun, hooray, hooray.
The planets revolve around the sun
And spin on their axis, every one.
And they all go spinning
Round and round they go!

Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, hooray, hooray.*
Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, hooray, hooray.
Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars,
All whirling and twirling among the stars.
And they all go spinning
Round and round they go!

*put flannels on the board as you say the planets, and then point to them as you say their names

Jupiter and Saturn are next in line, hooray, hooray.
Jupiter and Saturn are next in line, hooray, hooray.
Jupiter and Saturn are next in line,
Uranus and Neptune brightly shine,
And they all go spinning
Round and round they go!

8. Action Rhyme/Song: If You’re Going to the Moon (to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It, from Mel’s Desk)

If you’re going to the moon, wear your suit (ziiiiip)
If you’re going to the moon, wear your suit (ziiiiip)
If you’re going to the moon and you want to get there soon
If you’re going to the moon, wear your suit (ziiiiip)

…wear your boots (stomp, stomp)

…wear your helmet (pat head, pat head)

…wear your gloves (clap, clap)

…say “oh, yes!” (OH, YES!, pump fists in the air)

9. Book: “The Way Back Home” – Oliver Jeffers

10. Lab Time (see Special Instructions and Procedures for details)
We had three stations:
-Spaceship Name Craft
-Our Solar System Craft
-Visit the Moon!

Handouts: None

Special Instructions and Procedures:
Spaceship Name Craftsteamouterspace5
We found this adorable craft on Miss Meg’s Storytime page. This is a very simple craft for the kids and parents to do together if you’ve done all the cutting up of shapes in advance. Just put out the model you made and let ’em go!

Our Solar System Craft
Instead of just putting out this coloring sheet of the planets, we cut out enough of the planets for each participant and separated them into bowls. On a piece of black construction paper, we glued the planets on in order, on a diagonal. We instructed them to color the planets, as well. Again, if you make a model of this, it’s very easy for them to follow.

steamouterspace3
Visit the Moon!
steamouterspace2
Again, all inspiration for this station came from one lone picture from the Oakland Public Library. Truly, that one picture is so amazing that it made us want to do all the prep work it necessitated. At this station, kids decorated ‘space helmets’ first, put them on, and then had their parents use rubber bands to attach big foam sponges to the bottom of their shoes. Then, the kids were able to “walk on the surface of the moon,” touch “moon rocks” and “moon sand.” We didn’t have enough pairs of sponges for every child, but everyone had a chance to use them since there were other stations to rotate through. This was an absolute blast! Kids particularly loved the moon sand, and parents wanted the recipe for it.

steamouterspace4
Resources Used:
Familylicious: Sensory Table: Moon Sand

Tinkerlab: Cloud Dough Recipe

Oakland Public Library: Astronomy for Preschool Children and Their Families

eHow: How to Make a Moon Rock

Best Coloring Pages for Kids: Planets

Miss Katie’s Story Time Wiki: Five Astronauts Went Up Into Space

Miss Katie’s Story Time Wiki: Climb Aboard the Spaceship

Additional Resources:
Nuttin’ But Preschool: Space Lesson Plan

What we would do differently:
The moon rocks are cool, but easily broken by kids stepping on them. This means that you have sharp shards of clay sticking up all over the place that need to be taken off fairly quickly, lest anyone get hurt. They look really great, but it could be skipped–walking on the sponges with the helmet on and touching the moon sand seemed to be fun enough for them.  OR, if you do want the added fun of moon rocks, we would suggest just putting them out separately on a table where they can be touched and held.

Also, it was helpful to instruct the children and their parents in how to walk with big, exaggerated steps while wearing the sponges on their shoes. Once you showed them how to walk, it was very easy for them to “visit the moon”–without the demonstration, they tended to fall over!

Adaption for older/younger audience:
We would not recommend this for an even younger audience. We have done an outer space program for 1st-3rd graders, which is a good option to try for that age group.

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One thought on “Week Nineteen: STEAM Storytime: Outer Space!

  1. […] for older/younger audience: Please see our blog post about an outer space-themed STEAM storytime for 3-6 year olds and their caregivers. For a 4th-6th grade (or possibly middle school) audience, […]

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