# Asteroid Play Dough Spelling

Many children feel that practicing handwriting is a chore, an unwanted burden and something they dislike spending time on. With all the technology and electronic devices we have today, it almost seems like handwriting is becoming irrelevant.

In our class, it isn’t. There are several ways to form letters, and in our class, we learn to construct them properly without even using a pencil!

As your children are introduced to letter formation, they benefit most from a hands-on approach using manipulatives.

Even before children can properly grasp a pencil they can practice this way and get a feel for the way a letter should be formed.

For this particular activity, we practiced creating letter A (for Asteroid) with play dough and stones. Each child first rolled their play dough into the letter A. They then placed “asteroids” (stones) into the dough!

# Asteroid Toss

Throwing is an important skill that young children acquire in their preschool years.

It involves the whole body and requires balance, as well as planning and executing movements in a sequential, coordinated way.

We love throwing because it strengthens hand-eye coordination. It also improves bilateral skills. By throwing, your little ones practice using opposite sides of the body in a coordinated way. Visual perception and control also increases.

Accurately throwing something at a target involves gauging the distance to the target, and how much power is required to reach it. Lastly, throwing requires a child to learn about gravity and the properties of objects.

It is a child’s first gravity lesson, as she learns that when she throws something up as it always comes down. For this activity, we practiced throwing asteroids!

These asteroids were constructed out of tinfoil balls. Using the large muscles in their hands, students threw their asteroids into a box!

# Shapes Rocket

Learning shapes isn’t just about teaching your child how to draw a circle or square.

When we look closely enough, we may recognize just how many shapes occur naturally in the world around us.

Not just in math, but in also reading, science, and art. For a young preschooler, learning shapes can be incredibly helpful in offering an early step in understanding how shapes and numbers relate to one another.

To tie this in with our rocket theme, students used shapes to construct rockets! They were first presented with craft sticks and a diagram of a rocket made out of construction paper.

Following this, they were asked to match the sticks to the corresponding color on the page. Lastly, they were told to put these sticks together into the shape of a rocket!

# Straw Rocket Combustion

In a rocket, fuel and a source of oxygen, called an oxidizer, are mixed and exploded in a combustion chamber.

The combustion produces hot exhaust which is passed through a nozzle to accelerate the flow and produce thrust.

To create our own rocket engines, we used straws and rocket figurines to blast off to Huntley Preschool!

The source of our engines? Our breath!

Utilizing their lungs, students blew into the straws which launched their rockets off of the ground!

# Rockets: Counting and Sorting

Sorting activities often appeal to children and many will naturally sort according to qualities and characteristics they visually notice without ever being taught.

This fundamental requisite to further mathematical understanding can often benefit children through the simple act of play.

For this activity, students sorted astronauts according to number.

They then placed different numbers onto rocketships affixed with the corresponding symbol.

# Astronaut Obstacle Course

Gross motor activities are an essential component to any preschool curriculum.

These activities build skills that aid the development of young children, and prepare them for elementary school.

Because your little ones are active and often on-the-go, it is important that they learn how to control their bodies

Comfort with gross motor skills means that your child is aware of his personal space.

By controlling his body, he can respect other people’s personal spaces as well. For this activity, we learned that being an astronaut creates intense physical demands on the body.

Comfort with gross motor skills means that your child is aware of his personal space. By controlling his body, he can respect other people’s personal spaces as well.

For this activity, we learned that being an astronaut creates intense physical demands on the body. Because of this, potential astronauts undergo rigorous training to prepare them for the challenges of space travel. Using yellow rope and our bodies, we participated in an astronaut obstacle course! This enabled your child to practice accessing both sides of the body simultaneously to get through the rope maze.

# Counting Black Holes

At our preschool, we like to help our students learn number quantities and associate those number quantities with the written symbol of the number.

In general, young children can understand quantities sooner than they can understand the number symbol associated with that quantity.

For this activity, we combined our love of quantities and symbols with this fun black hole counting project!

To do so, students rolled the dice and selected the appropriate number of “asteroids” (rocks) to be swallowed by the black hole.

Students learned to recognize the number in dots on the dice, quantities in their hands, and symbols on the black holes!

# Paint Bag Comets

Color has been an intense topic of interest for thousands of years. Mathematicians, philosophers, physicists, and poets have all contributed to our understanding of color.

To tie in an artistic element within our comet theme, we spelled the word comet using paint bags. These colorful packets contain paint, stars, and the word comet written on a laminated sheet of paper.

Using their fine motor skills, students manipulated the bags until they could see the letters C-O-M-E-T in the bags!

# Comet Spelling

Gross and fine motor skills help foster language development from infancy to early childhood.

For these two activities, we combined these skills to spell the word COMET!

Our three and four year olds spelled this word using chalk and glass beads, while our two year olds did so using q-tips and paint.

# Rocket Ship Dramatic Play

Dramatic play benefits are numerous. In addition to supporting creativity and self-expression, dramatic play can help children learn real life skills and social skills that can serve them throughout their lives.

The benefits of dramatic play include learning conflict resolution, helping children to learn creative problem-solving skills alongside their peers.

Dramatic play also allows children to explore self-empowerment, allowing kids the opportunity to make choices, act out their feelings, and find a new connection to themselves.

For this activity, students participated in a dramatic play activity where they (along with their friends) “flew” to the Kuiper Belt! Different students played different roles. Some were the passengers, some steered the rocket, some were the engineers, and some were the engine or “fire”.

Students counted down from 10 to 1 and “flew” to the music of Star Wars. Along their adventure, students faced asteroids, interference, and black holes!