We have had a BLAST (🤣) learning about Space the past 2 weeks! My daughter really wanted to learn about Neil Armstrong for one of our history Who Was Unit Studies. (Read about how we complete our Who Was Units HERE.) I decided to add Who Was Sally Ride right after it and make it a large space study.
We have learned all about Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride as well as space shuttles, space suits, the moon, and the planets.
To kick off our space studies we splattered black construction paper with white paint to create tons of “stars” and put them all up on our bulletin board. Later we added our craft projects and planets so it looked like space! This is a fun, easy way to display their artwork and create their own mini solar system.
Printables: These are my favorite space printable packs.
My Solar System Field Journal from Bitty Beginnings: This pack has great journal pages to fill out for each planet, an early reader book, shadow matching, 3 part cards, and more. This pack is where I got our large planets we put on our bulletin board to create our solar system.
Solar System Unit Study Bundle from Stephanie Hathaway Designs: This set is where I got many of our fun solar system worksheets and beautiful solar system cards/poster. It also has handwriting pages, coloring pages, and so much more!
Lunar Lore from The Waldock Way: This has great printables all about the moon phases and the moon phase bingo we used. We also made the moon phases out of Oreo cookies and snacked on them while playing bingo.
After we finished reading our Who Was book for the week, then my daughter also completed the unit study pages.
Space shuttle craft: All you need is some cardboard and toilet paper roll. Cut the cardboard into a flat space shuttle shape and glue the toilet paper roll to the top (you can cut a hole in the top also so they can put small characters/toys to sit in it.) Have them paint it white and decorate it with markers or stickers. My kids played with their space shuttles for hours! — In The Who Was Sally Ride Unit Study there is a great printable to learn about and label a space shuttle that would pair great with this craft. 👍🏼
Moon craft: Draw a large circle out of white construction paper and cut it out (you can use a bowl to help trace a perfect circle.) Take a large piece of aluminum foil and form it into a ball (don’t make it too tight.) Use the foil to dip into grey paint and stamp all over the circle. This creates great texture to make a moon.
Moon sand: Create moon sand with 4 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of baby oil. It is moldable, but still soft. This is SO fun for lots of open ended play. We liked adding THESE space figurines. (Double the recipe if you want a lot. You can also save it in a large ziplock bag at room temperature and it doesn’t go bad.) This is SO fun for lots of open ended play.
We also used the moon sand for a fun experiment. I placed the moon sand in a pie dish (so it’s round like the moon.) We read and learned about craters and how they got there. I had them stand above the pie dish and drop a rock into the moon sand. This showed them how when the rock hit the moon it created a crater.
Astronaut kids: To create our very own astronauts I printed a 4×6 photo of each of my kids. I found the astronaut printable HERE. (I couldn’t find where to download the printable so I just printed it from the webpage and it makes a great size once cut out.) The kids colored their astronauts and glued the cut out picture of their head. Next take an empty applesauce or fruit cup and cut the bottom out. Glue it upside down on their picture to create their astronaut helmet. (Tip: Use the top of the applesauce cup to trace a circle on the photo to cut out so it is the same size.)
HERE is another astronaut printable craft you can do with your kids.
Solar system necklace: I bought a set of wooden craft beads and had my daughter paint each one for every planet. She put them in order onto ribbon to create a necklace. (Tip: put the beads onto pipe cleaners while painting them to make it much easier to paint all sides.)
My kids are young so I didn’t want to spend a lot of time learning about every single planet until they are older. We did read information about each one, but I wanted to focus on just knowing the name of each planet and their order. For my daughter (1st grade) I had her pick one planet to learn more about. She choose Uranus and filled out the journal page from Bitty Beginnings as well as painted the printable and handwriting page from Stephanie Hathaway Designs.
Books: I try to get a variety of non-fiction, picture books, and early readers for each of our units. Here are some great books that we used for these units! **(The books with 2 asterisks at the end are my favorite for younger kids.)
The Planets by Gail Gibbons
Who Was Neil Armstrong? by Roberta Edwards
I Am Neil Armstrong by Brad Meltzer**
One Giant Leap by Robert Burleigh
One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong by Don Brown
Daring Dozen: The Twelve Who Walked on the Moon by Suzanne Slade
The Moon by Elaine Landau
What is the Moon? by Katie Daynes**
Moon! Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy Mcanulty**
What the Moon is Like by Franklyn M. Branley
Who Was Sally Ride? by Megan Stine
Sally Ride: A Photobiography of America’s Pioneering Woman in Space by Tam O’Shaughnessy
Cupcakes with Sally Ride by Kyla Steinkraus
She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton
Free School on YouTube has tons of great videos about space and the planets.
National Geographic on YouTube also has lots of videos about each planet.
The Magic School Bus on Netflix has fun shows for kids about space:
- Season 1, Episode 1 GETS LOST IN SPACE
- Season 2, Episode 11 OUT OF THIS WORLD
- Season 4, Episode 7 SEES STARS
- Season 4, Episode 8 GRAVITY
I hope this gives you lots of fun ideas to learn about Space with your kids! If you do any together be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see all your fun! 😍
If you would like any tips on planning and creating unit studies of your own check out my post HOW TO PLAN A UNIT STUDY IN 5 STEPS.