space activities

Preschool Activities to Support Children’s Fascination with Outer Space

Like the timeless and classic song says, “Zoom, zoom, zoom! We’re going to the moon”. Outer space has been a constant fascination for humanity – not only for adults, but for tiny humans as well. Maybe there’s a correlation between the vast expanse of the universe, and the seemingly unlimited potential in a preschool child. Or perhaps the natural beauty of the cosmos is mirrored in the charming innocence of the little ones. I can remember a time, on a camping trip, when I asked my then 3 year old niece who she was talking to, and she turned to me to say: “I’m talking to the moon” (Adorable, right?). Whatever the case may be, there has always been an apparent connection between children and outer space which should be supported in a learning environment.

Including Preschool Space Activities To the Entire Programming

It can be easy to relegate outer space curriculum to the classroom’s science or book centers. However, if the children have expressed interest in space, incorporating it into the entire program will maintain a higher level of engagement. With some creativity, the learning experiences can cover a number of domains and skills.

Keep reading for a list of preschool space activities that can be added to the classroom.

Pipe Cleaner Constellations

Stars and patterns? What a great child-friendly combination! This activity is easily created with items that are readily available (pipe cleaners, beads). It is also suitable for a number of age groups. Younger toddlers can develop their fine motor and cause-and-effect exploration skills as they bend the pipe cleaners. Preschoolers can broaden their cognition through understanding 2D and 3D shapes. There is also a potential for literacy skills to form with new vocabulary words: “constellation” “astronomy” “solar system”.

Counting Stars Activity

Numeracy skills such as counting and determining quantity are a staple curriculum in preschool classrooms. This activity adds a novel and fun factor for the children through the skill of peeling stickers. Plus, their identity formation and self concept skills are strengthened as they decide which stickers they want to use. If developmentally appropriate, children can even create tallies or graphs based on the numerical information the activity provides. 

Catch a Star

An advantage of being a preschooler is that learning can be loud, expressive, and rambunctious. This activity supports that as the children are encouraged to jump up and down to catch as many stars as they can! The primary learning outcome is for physical/gross motor skills. However, with a few tweaks and twists, this curriculum can enhance letter or word recognition (placing letters and words on the stars), seriating (using differently sized stars), and color identification (using differently colored stars). As a bonus, this activity can easily support social distancing if that’s a need for your classroom.

Tin Foil Moon Craters

This engaging activity provides an element of sensory learning and plays into your program, as the children use tin foil to create the craters of the moon. Their cognitive skills develop via many ways:

1)  Representation – as they use different art media tools to express ideas.
2)  Measuring money – by incorporating coins of varying values.
3)  Comparing quantities – determining how many of each coin was used.

Space Rocket Shapes

If children are meant to explore outer space, then they most certainly need a rocket ship! The strength in this activity is in its open-ended nature. All that’s needed is a large amount of pre-cut shapes and some glue, and children can create the rocket ship of their dreams. Cognitive skills will flourish if they are encouraged to create and identify patterns. By providing books about rockets, their communication and literacy skills will grow as they re-tell stories through their art. As an added benefit, granting the children creative freedom will also develop their identity formation. The activity is simple, yet the potential is abundant

Marshmallow Constellations

Creating constellations from marshmallows and toothpicks is a wonderful, interactive, and entertaining way to enhance learning as it covers a number of domains and skills. Fine motor skills are supported through the manipulation of items in order to recreate constellations. Additionally, their communication skills will be displayed by using new vocabulary words to converse with peers and adults. This activity also provides a level of persistence, and with proper guidance, the children will feel a positive attitude towards learning and mastering new skills. And after all the learning has taken place, everyone can simply enjoy the feeling of squishing marshmallows between their fingers.

Preschool Activities All Year Round

The benefit of preschool space activities is that there is no specific time of the year for them (unlike seasonal-based curriculum, for example). So these activities can be taken out of your educator toolbox whenever the preschoolers show an interest in outer space.

And much like the expanse of the galaxy, the potential is boundless. So as their knowledge deepens, and their interests grow more sophisticated, the activities can evolve. Have fun! And may the force be with you.

Here are some more space-themed activities and free printables to you to save!

Fuzzy Planet Art

As an adult, there is still something so exciting about watching baking soda react with vinegar, so imagine how that looks and feels for a child to experience. This curriculum is heavily rooted in science (chemical reactions, cause-and-effect exploration), and has a large potential for cognitive learning. Children can count and determine quantities by measuring the baking soda and vinegar. In addition, by engaging them in questions, they can hypothesize on the outcome of mixing different materials. And after a few attempts of this activity, they can use logical reasoning skills to identify actions and outcomes. A word of caution: this activity can be messy, so be prepared!

Oreo Moon Phases

The first rule of this activity is DO NOT eat the Oreos… yet. Once that’s been established, then the fun and learning can begin. This activity develops fine motor skills through tool use, cognitive abilities through identifying the position of events in a sequence, and the use of new vocabulary words to describe their play experience. Keep in mind that as with any food activity, allergies and dietary restrictions should be given extra care and attention. Okay. Now you can eat the Oreos. 

Astronaut Glove Box

This is an easy-to-set-up activity that will bring on a sense of discovery and exploration! Create a box for your kiddos to explore space artifacts from the comfort of your own home or classroom.

Name Constellation

Have a blast with this cute and fun art activity! Children will love creating the splatter effect on paper and once it’s dry it creates a gorgeous background for them to practice writing their name. Bonus – children can practice learning what letters look like with regards to lines and curves by adding stickers on top of their name cards.

Our free printable space coloring pages will spark your child’s imagination on the universe beyond our planet Check them out:

Moon Coloring Page – Free Printable

Stars Coloring Page – Free Printable

Space Coloring Page – Free Printable

Moon Bingo – Free Printable

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TJ Borile

TJ is a registered Early Childhood Educator with 5 years of experience, aspiring children's book author, and apple cider vinegar connoisseur. He loves hiking, meditation, watching animals in their natural habitat, and dancing to 90s hip hop and RNB. He currently lives in Toronto with his husband, where they have been bickering about whether they should get a dog or not for the past four years.