Inspiration

9 Early Years space activities for little astronauts

October 6, 2021

Teaching toddlers about space has never been such a blast(off).

Teaching toddlers about space has never been such a blast(off).
Join the community

It’s time to learn about space! The space activities theme is a firm favourite for lots of early years learners, because there’s plenty of space for imagination. For educators planning space activities, you’ve got a wide variety of choices to go with. Bring children’s imaginations to life with activities that are artistic, science-based, that lay the foundations of STEM learning, encourage fine motor skills, and start conversations that lead to a broader learning. Ready for blastoff?

Activity 1: Find out why the moon has craters

Activity source: We Are Teachers

Round cake pan filled with flour

The space activity in a nutshell:

What are craters, exactly? And how come the moon has got so many of them? Learning about space is always fun! This sensory lesson is a great bit of excitement for children, and helps them understand what gives the moon its pockmarked look. 

What you will need:

  • Flour
  • Small pebbles or rocks
  • Round cake pan

How to do it:

Fill the bottom of a round cake pan with a layer of flour. You can sprinkle a bit of dirt or sand in here too, to give it a bit of texture. Place the round cake pan on the floor, and tell the children that this is the moon. Each child has a few pebbles in hand, and one by one, they can take turns to drop their pebbles into the flour. With help from the little hands, take the pebbles out of the flour carefully and gently, and point out the crater-like indents. You can also talk about why we haven’t got the same marks all over the earth, as our atmosphere burns up most meteorites.


Activity 2: Bake some sparkly space rock buns 

Activity source: Rainy day mum

The space activity in a nutshell:

Learning about space can be delicious! You can bake these sparkly space rock buns yourself, or make them together with children. Combined with other space activities, these buns are the perfect fuel for aspiring astronauts.

Cookies

What you will need:

  • 100g butter
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 75 g brown sugar
  • 125 g raisins, or other dried fruit
  • 1 medium egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Edible glitter
  • Gold and silver food dust

How to do it:

Add the flour and baking powder to the butter, and show the little kitchen helpers how to blend the mixture with their fingers. While they’re helping with that, add in the brown sugar and raisins. Now, children can start to mix while an adult beats the egg and pours it into the mixture. Get messy and allow everyone to have a turn to stir the mixture and add a little milk until you have a consistency similar to cookie dough, this is also a great time to add your edible glitter. Now you can roll or clump together pieces of dough to form rock shapes, you should have enough to form 6 large buns or 12 small ones. Bake them at 180 degrees for around 20 minutes before allowing them to cool. Grab a bun and blast off!


Activity 3: Create stargazing bottles

Activity source: Pre-K Pages

The space activity in a nutshell:

Here’s a little razzle-dazzle sensory fun that is as beautiful as it is fun to touch. The star gazing bottle recreates a miniature version of a beautiful starry sky, giving you a sensory toy that inspires little ones to wonder about what they’ll find in outer space.

Star gazing bottle

What you will need:

  • 500ml plastic water bottle, or another clear container
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • Black glitter glue
  • Star sequins
  • Gold glitter, fine and superfine (optional)
  • Clear hand soap (optional)
  • Superglue

How to do it:

Stir the warm water into the black glitter glue in a large measuring cup. Fill the bottle 3/4 full with the glue and water mixture, and have your little helpers sprinkle some of the star sequins into the bottle. Close the lid of the bottle and shake it — you’ll see the glitter swirl beautifully. To make it move even faster, add a few drops of clear hand soap. To make it move slower, you can top it off with additional clear glue. Once you are happy with your mixture, seal the top closed permanently with super glue. Show the children how to hold it up to the light and shake it around to make the glitter swirl. It's absolutely mesmerising! 


Activity 4: Make your own telescope

Activity source: In the playroom 

boy holding a telescope

The space activity in a nutshell: Boxes, empty kitchen rolls and other ordinary household packaging items often make the most entertaining toys because they still leave room for the imagination. This activity piggy-backs on children’s natural love for open-ended, imaginative play. 

What you will need:

  • Cardboard kitchen rolls
  • Coloured tissue paper
  • Sello tape / clear tape and scissors
  • Foam stickers and cutout shapes

How to do it:

Cut the tissue paper to be the same length as the kitchen roll, and wrap the paper around so that it fully covers the kitchen roll tube. Tape it down firmly to secure it in place. Have your decorations set out in little bowls, so that the children are able to choose what they want with ease. Show them how to use the glue safely by applying it to the foam sticker or cutout shape, and then applying the decal to the roll. Once the rolls have all been decorated beautifully, allow them some time to dry before they’re included in free play games or activities. They’re a great prop to let your little astronomers dive into the creative world of exploring space!


Activity 5: Make a squeezy rocket launcher

Activity source: Rainy day mum

The space activity in a nutshell:

This fun experiment is all about space travel, discovering how different angles affect the way the rocket launches. Using some recycled materials, you can launch rockets over and over to discover the best angle for launch by observing how it flies.

What you will need:

  • Empty squeezy water bottles with a sports cap
  • Cardboard
  • Two different widths of drinking straws
  • Scissors
  • Glue/sellotape
  • Blu tack or Plasticine

How to do it:

Lift up the bottle’s cap and push your thinner straw halfway down inside. Seal the space around the straw by packing plasticine around it, or using glue. Test your seal by squeezing the bottle — you should only feel air coming out of the straw. Now seal up one end of your thicker straw, using tape and glue to ensure no air escapes from the sealed side. Children can draw and cut out a cardboard rocket and attach it to that sealed thicker straw with double-sided tape. The thicker straw should fit onto the thinner straw, thereby placing the rocket on your bottle/launch pad. With a good hard squeeze, you have liftoff! Point the rocket in different directions to see if it flies better when positioned sideways, upwards, or downwards. 


Activity 6: Craft a moon phases spinning toy

Activity source: Happy to shelf

The space activity in a nutshell: This toy makes for an interactive little demonstration of the different moon phases. It’s simple to put together, and uses everyday household items you probably already have on hand. 

Moon phases spinning toy

What you will need: 

  • 2 large clear plastic cups
  • Black permanent marker pen
  • 1 yellow circle, it can be a sticker or yellow paper 
  • A piece of black construction paper
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Ruler

How to do it:

Cut a rectangular piece of black construction paper to be as tall as your cups. Stick the yellow circle on the black construction paper, to show the bright side of the moon. Roll the paper up, and put it into the cup and secure it with tape or glue — you should have a blacked-out cup, with one yellow circle facing out. This cup now goes into the second cup. Then, using a black marker, colour in different phases of the moon on the outer cup. This way, as you turn that inner cup, you’ll move the yellow circle to be covered by the different markings, making an interactive map to explore how the moon changes as it orbits our earth.


Activity 7: Make a space sensory bin

Activity source: Pre-K Pages

The space activity in a nutshell:

Sensory play invites children to explore textures, stretch their imaginations, and build up their motor skills. With a space-themed sensory bin, you can encourage children to process all that outer space learning through self-guided play.

Space sensory bin

What you will need:

  • 12 cups play sand
  • 6 cups corn starch
  • 8 tablespoons coloured powder paint
  • 3 cups water
  • Silver glitter to your liking
  • Space-themed toys and figurines
  • A tuff tray or similar tub or tray container

How to do it:

Add the play sand to your container along with corn starch and the powder paint. Finally, add the water and silver glitter and mix it all up. You can invite the children to help you mix the ingredients together and squeeze out any lumps. Now you can add in a few space figurines, glow-in-the-dark stars, large pebbles, or any other items you might want. The children’s natural curiosity and imagination will take over, and they’ll enjoy digging in the glittering sand and creating space scenes. 


Activity 8: Craft a space helmet from a cardboard box

Activity source: rainy day mum

The space activity in a nutshell:

Every space explorer needs a helmet! This space helmet encourages imaginative play, inviting little learners to really think about what they have learned about space, and to put themselves in an astronaut’s shoes (or moon boots). 

Kid with a space helmet from a carboard box

What you will need:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Glue
  • Coloured paper
  • Cardboard cutouts - stars, planets, suns, moons 
  • Cardboard boxes large enough to fit over a child’s head

How to do it:

Cut a large hole in one side of the box, to use as the helmet’s viewport. Covering all sides of the box with glue, apply a layer of foil to turn your box into a shining bit of space tech. Once this is done, children can use some of the cutouts and shapes and stick them around the visor as decorations. Leave the helmets to dry for an hour or two before using them. One of the greatest ways to start children on a game is to first read a space story! You can encourage your children to act out the storyline and repeat what they know about space. 


Activity 9: Easy torn paper planets

Activity source: 3 Dinosaurs

The space activity in a nutshell:

This artistic, open-ended activity with a fun space theme also helps little ones develop fine motor skills, and gives children a very personal work of art to take home and share.

Torn paper planets

What you will need:

  • Crayons
  • Paper plates
  • Black glittery cardstock
  • Scrapbooking paper
  • Glue sticks
  • White paint markers

How to do it:

Use the paper plates as a template, and mark out a circle outline on your black background paper. Now each child can choose their favourite scrapbooking paper, a variety of colours and crafts, and fill in that circle to create the colourful surface of their own fantasy planet. Tear up pieces of scrapbooking paper and stick the torn pieces down onto the black glitter paper, which makes the perfect space backdrop. Everyone can decide for themselves how their planets might look, and you can talk about why planets look the way they do. Why have some got rings around them? Is your planet hot or cold? What colour is the surface, and what’s it made of? At the end, you’ll have your own solar system built from your children’s imaginations.

Official Danish Government Reopening Advice

Guidance from the Danish Health Ministry, translated in full to English.

UK Nursery Covid-19 Response Group Recommendations

The full recommendations from a working group of over 70 nursery chains in the UK.

You might also like

No items found.

Learn more about Famly

Find out below how Famly helped Tenderlinks in recording child development, and see what we can do for you in a personal demo.

“Famly’s strengthening our parent partnerships as staff can quickly note down meaningful observations and then come back to them later ensuring they can stay focused on the children." - Vicky-Leigh, Manager, Tenderlinks Nursery

Show me Famly

Learn more about Famly

Find out below how Famly helped Tenderlinks in recording child development, and see what we can do for you in a personal demo.

Sign up now

9 Early Years space activities for little astronauts

Teaching toddlers about space has never been such a blast(off).
9 Early Years space activities for little astronauts

Categories

Connect with us

FREE GUIDE

The EYFS Activity Library: 50 EYFS Activities

50 unique EYFS activities, from water play and composting, to LEGO towers and giant bubbles.

By
and
Tove Eriksson LindInspiration
October 6, 2021

It’s time to learn about space! The space activities theme is a firm favourite for lots of early years learners, because there’s plenty of space for imagination. For educators planning space activities, you’ve got a wide variety of choices to go with. Bring children’s imaginations to life with activities that are artistic, science-based, that lay the foundations of STEM learning, encourage fine motor skills, and start conversations that lead to a broader learning. Ready for blastoff?

Activity 1: Find out why the moon has craters

Activity source: We Are Teachers

Round cake pan filled with flour

The space activity in a nutshell:

What are craters, exactly? And how come the moon has got so many of them? Learning about space is always fun! This sensory lesson is a great bit of excitement for children, and helps them understand what gives the moon its pockmarked look. 

What you will need:

  • Flour
  • Small pebbles or rocks
  • Round cake pan

How to do it:

Fill the bottom of a round cake pan with a layer of flour. You can sprinkle a bit of dirt or sand in here too, to give it a bit of texture. Place the round cake pan on the floor, and tell the children that this is the moon. Each child has a few pebbles in hand, and one by one, they can take turns to drop their pebbles into the flour. With help from the little hands, take the pebbles out of the flour carefully and gently, and point out the crater-like indents. You can also talk about why we haven’t got the same marks all over the earth, as our atmosphere burns up most meteorites.


Activity 2: Bake some sparkly space rock buns 

Activity source: Rainy day mum

The space activity in a nutshell:

Learning about space can be delicious! You can bake these sparkly space rock buns yourself, or make them together with children. Combined with other space activities, these buns are the perfect fuel for aspiring astronauts.

Cookies

What you will need:

  • 100g butter
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 75 g brown sugar
  • 125 g raisins, or other dried fruit
  • 1 medium egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Edible glitter
  • Gold and silver food dust

How to do it:

Add the flour and baking powder to the butter, and show the little kitchen helpers how to blend the mixture with their fingers. While they’re helping with that, add in the brown sugar and raisins. Now, children can start to mix while an adult beats the egg and pours it into the mixture. Get messy and allow everyone to have a turn to stir the mixture and add a little milk until you have a consistency similar to cookie dough, this is also a great time to add your edible glitter. Now you can roll or clump together pieces of dough to form rock shapes, you should have enough to form 6 large buns or 12 small ones. Bake them at 180 degrees for around 20 minutes before allowing them to cool. Grab a bun and blast off!


Activity 3: Create stargazing bottles

Activity source: Pre-K Pages

The space activity in a nutshell:

Here’s a little razzle-dazzle sensory fun that is as beautiful as it is fun to touch. The star gazing bottle recreates a miniature version of a beautiful starry sky, giving you a sensory toy that inspires little ones to wonder about what they’ll find in outer space.

Star gazing bottle

What you will need:

  • 500ml plastic water bottle, or another clear container
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • Black glitter glue
  • Star sequins
  • Gold glitter, fine and superfine (optional)
  • Clear hand soap (optional)
  • Superglue

How to do it:

Stir the warm water into the black glitter glue in a large measuring cup. Fill the bottle 3/4 full with the glue and water mixture, and have your little helpers sprinkle some of the star sequins into the bottle. Close the lid of the bottle and shake it — you’ll see the glitter swirl beautifully. To make it move even faster, add a few drops of clear hand soap. To make it move slower, you can top it off with additional clear glue. Once you are happy with your mixture, seal the top closed permanently with super glue. Show the children how to hold it up to the light and shake it around to make the glitter swirl. It's absolutely mesmerising! 


Activity 4: Make your own telescope

Activity source: In the playroom 

boy holding a telescope

The space activity in a nutshell: Boxes, empty kitchen rolls and other ordinary household packaging items often make the most entertaining toys because they still leave room for the imagination. This activity piggy-backs on children’s natural love for open-ended, imaginative play. 

What you will need:

  • Cardboard kitchen rolls
  • Coloured tissue paper
  • Sello tape / clear tape and scissors
  • Foam stickers and cutout shapes

How to do it:

Cut the tissue paper to be the same length as the kitchen roll, and wrap the paper around so that it fully covers the kitchen roll tube. Tape it down firmly to secure it in place. Have your decorations set out in little bowls, so that the children are able to choose what they want with ease. Show them how to use the glue safely by applying it to the foam sticker or cutout shape, and then applying the decal to the roll. Once the rolls have all been decorated beautifully, allow them some time to dry before they’re included in free play games or activities. They’re a great prop to let your little astronomers dive into the creative world of exploring space!


Activity 5: Make a squeezy rocket launcher

Activity source: Rainy day mum

The space activity in a nutshell:

This fun experiment is all about space travel, discovering how different angles affect the way the rocket launches. Using some recycled materials, you can launch rockets over and over to discover the best angle for launch by observing how it flies.

What you will need:

  • Empty squeezy water bottles with a sports cap
  • Cardboard
  • Two different widths of drinking straws
  • Scissors
  • Glue/sellotape
  • Blu tack or Plasticine

How to do it:

Lift up the bottle’s cap and push your thinner straw halfway down inside. Seal the space around the straw by packing plasticine around it, or using glue. Test your seal by squeezing the bottle — you should only feel air coming out of the straw. Now seal up one end of your thicker straw, using tape and glue to ensure no air escapes from the sealed side. Children can draw and cut out a cardboard rocket and attach it to that sealed thicker straw with double-sided tape. The thicker straw should fit onto the thinner straw, thereby placing the rocket on your bottle/launch pad. With a good hard squeeze, you have liftoff! Point the rocket in different directions to see if it flies better when positioned sideways, upwards, or downwards. 


Activity 6: Craft a moon phases spinning toy

Activity source: Happy to shelf

The space activity in a nutshell: This toy makes for an interactive little demonstration of the different moon phases. It’s simple to put together, and uses everyday household items you probably already have on hand. 

Moon phases spinning toy

What you will need: 

  • 2 large clear plastic cups
  • Black permanent marker pen
  • 1 yellow circle, it can be a sticker or yellow paper 
  • A piece of black construction paper
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Ruler

How to do it:

Cut a rectangular piece of black construction paper to be as tall as your cups. Stick the yellow circle on the black construction paper, to show the bright side of the moon. Roll the paper up, and put it into the cup and secure it with tape or glue — you should have a blacked-out cup, with one yellow circle facing out. This cup now goes into the second cup. Then, using a black marker, colour in different phases of the moon on the outer cup. This way, as you turn that inner cup, you’ll move the yellow circle to be covered by the different markings, making an interactive map to explore how the moon changes as it orbits our earth.


Activity 7: Make a space sensory bin

Activity source: Pre-K Pages

The space activity in a nutshell:

Sensory play invites children to explore textures, stretch their imaginations, and build up their motor skills. With a space-themed sensory bin, you can encourage children to process all that outer space learning through self-guided play.

Space sensory bin

What you will need:

  • 12 cups play sand
  • 6 cups corn starch
  • 8 tablespoons coloured powder paint
  • 3 cups water
  • Silver glitter to your liking
  • Space-themed toys and figurines
  • A tuff tray or similar tub or tray container

How to do it:

Add the play sand to your container along with corn starch and the powder paint. Finally, add the water and silver glitter and mix it all up. You can invite the children to help you mix the ingredients together and squeeze out any lumps. Now you can add in a few space figurines, glow-in-the-dark stars, large pebbles, or any other items you might want. The children’s natural curiosity and imagination will take over, and they’ll enjoy digging in the glittering sand and creating space scenes. 


Activity 8: Craft a space helmet from a cardboard box

Activity source: rainy day mum

The space activity in a nutshell:

Every space explorer needs a helmet! This space helmet encourages imaginative play, inviting little learners to really think about what they have learned about space, and to put themselves in an astronaut’s shoes (or moon boots). 

Kid with a space helmet from a carboard box

What you will need:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Glue
  • Coloured paper
  • Cardboard cutouts - stars, planets, suns, moons 
  • Cardboard boxes large enough to fit over a child’s head

How to do it:

Cut a large hole in one side of the box, to use as the helmet’s viewport. Covering all sides of the box with glue, apply a layer of foil to turn your box into a shining bit of space tech. Once this is done, children can use some of the cutouts and shapes and stick them around the visor as decorations. Leave the helmets to dry for an hour or two before using them. One of the greatest ways to start children on a game is to first read a space story! You can encourage your children to act out the storyline and repeat what they know about space. 


Activity 9: Easy torn paper planets

Activity source: 3 Dinosaurs

The space activity in a nutshell:

This artistic, open-ended activity with a fun space theme also helps little ones develop fine motor skills, and gives children a very personal work of art to take home and share.

Torn paper planets

What you will need:

  • Crayons
  • Paper plates
  • Black glittery cardstock
  • Scrapbooking paper
  • Glue sticks
  • White paint markers

How to do it:

Use the paper plates as a template, and mark out a circle outline on your black background paper. Now each child can choose their favourite scrapbooking paper, a variety of colours and crafts, and fill in that circle to create the colourful surface of their own fantasy planet. Tear up pieces of scrapbooking paper and stick the torn pieces down onto the black glitter paper, which makes the perfect space backdrop. Everyone can decide for themselves how their planets might look, and you can talk about why planets look the way they do. Why have some got rings around them? Is your planet hot or cold? What colour is the surface, and what’s it made of? At the end, you’ll have your own solar system built from your children’s imaginations.

Official Danish Government Reopening Advice

Guidance from the Danish Health Ministry, translated in full to English.

UK Nursery Covid-19 Response Group Recommendations

The full recommendations from a working group of over 70 nursery chains in the UK.

Learn more about Famly

Find out below how Famly helped Tenderlinks in recording child development, and see what we can do for you in a personal demo.

“Famly’s strengthening our parent partnerships as staff can quickly note down meaningful observations and then come back to them later ensuring they can stay focused on the children." - Vicky-Leigh, Manager, Tenderlinks Nursery








Thanks. You made it. We will get in touch shortly.

While you’re waiting, why not take a look at how others nurseries are saving time with Famly.

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Learn more about Famly

Find out below how Famly helped Tenderlinks in recording child development, and see what we can do for you in a personal demo.

Sign up now

Learn more about Famly

Find out below how Famly helped Tenderlinks in recording child development, and see what we can do for you in a personal demo.

Note: If you’re an existing Famly customer, please click here to learn more about what we’re doing for you.