Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Rockets, rockets, and more rockets (and Elijah's Rocket Reading List)

So June came and went quickly (as did the Fourth of July)!  I haven't gotten anything blogged lately, even though I've started several posts.  We'll see how many I can get done in the next couple of days.

June seemed to be full of rockets for us.  Elijah has become enamored with them lately.  He can't get enough of them.  So, I went on some idea hunts and came up with a bunch of activities to start our summer with rocket play.  I wanted to share our collection, and an official reading list since it's been a while since I've done one.
  • Build a rocket out of cardboard boxes.  Big brother enjoyed adding lots of details to all the control panels inside.  Hours of dramatic play have been had with this box.

  • Blast off a real rocket outside.  We got this one for Theo's birthday and finally got it out to try.  Alternatively, you could try this design from NASA.
  • Chant rocket to the moon!  Miss K at the library does this rhyme every week, and it has always been Elijah's favorite thing during book club.  
Zoom Zoom Zoom
We're going to the moon
Zoom Zoom Zoom
We're going to the moon
We'll climb aboard a rocket ship
And go upon a little trip
Zoom Zoom Zoom
Were going to the moon
5. .4. .3. .2. .1. . Blast off.
*Then, we have another verse where we are going back home because we don't want to be stuck on the moon.*
  • Put yourself in a rocket!  Theo made this at school, and Elijah really wanted one of his own.  So, we created one and Elijah spent the most time I have ever seen coloring his rocket with markers.  He was so excited to have his own rocket.   

  • Go to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museums.  The annex located in Northern Virginia has the Discovery Space Shuttle, as well as bunches of rocket models to be impressed by.  The original museum in DC has several full size rockets as well, and plenty of exhibits on space travel.

  • Even our church got in on the action, as they are planning a space themed VBS.  The boys were so excited to see this spaceship adorning the side door.

  • Use pattern blocks to free build rockets, or fill in rocket puzzles are great spatial recognition activities.  There are many different ways to use pattern blocks:
1.  Let kids build their own rockets!!!  When using manipulatives, it's normally best to let the kids have 3-5 minutes to explore on their own before asking them to do a specific tasks.  Gets some of their curiosity flowing and helps focus them on the specific tasks you want them to complete.
2.  Full size puzzle sheets, with some or all of the shapes outlined.

3.  Full size puzzle sheets, with only the perimeter outlined.  There are often multiple solutions for these kinds of puzzles.
4.  Smaller scaled sheets showing all the pieces used, the last page of this packet has two rocket versions.
5.  Similarly, you could create your own rocket, take photos, and have students recreate them from here.
Here is Theo's:

Here is mine (Elijah added the purple piece because it needed a door).

Here is Brian's:

6.  To have your pre-schooler practice counting when finished with a specific rocket, you can use the Pattern block recording page here.

  • Finally, read lots of rocket books.  Elijah has gotten really good at finding them at the library, and I requested just about all of the pre-school age books our library system has.  Some of our favorites include: 

1.  This Rocket:  by Paul Collicutt.  This quick book has one line on each page, with most pages containing opposite statements (ex:  This rocket travels by day.  This rocket travels by night.)  On the end pages there are plenty of detailed information about rockets for older kids too.
2.  I Want to be an Astronaut:  by Byron Barton.  I like this one for it's simplicity, as the illustrations and text are very simple and can be memorized fairly quickly by an interested two year old.
3.  Space Boy and His Dog:  by Dian Curtis Regan. This one has the most "story" out of these books, about a boy looking for a missing cat, with or without his sister.
4.  Zoom, Rocket, Zoom!  by Margaret Mayo.  The teacher in me really likes the vocabulary in this book.  Multiple nouns and verbs are used in the sentences describing what rockets do.  Satellites, orbiting, astronauts, command module, lunar module, space station, weightless, and rovers are some of the vocabulary Elijah has heard or picked up during this rocket obsession.
5.  If You Decide to Go to the Moon:  by Faith McNulty.  Fans of illustrator Steven Kellogg will be drawn to this book about what it would be like to go to the moon.  And return to Earth, which we should be thankful for.  There seems to be a bit of an earth conservation theme at the end of the book.
6.  On the Launch Pad:  A Counting Book About Rockets:  by Michael Dahl.  This beautiful counting book starts at twelve stars in the sky, and counts down until the rocket blasts off.  A great book for those learning to count.
7.  Roaring Rockets:  by Tony Mitton.  Another cute book about astronauts going out into space, though these illustrations are animal astronauts rather than human ones.  There is a nice glossary of rocket parts on the last page. 
8.  DK Readers Level 1:  Rockets and Spaceships:  by Karen Wallace.   This little non-fiction book is a good addition to a rocket collection, and introduces young readers to features of informational books that will be important as they start reading more of them.  (This one missed the photo, it is probably hiding under a bed.)

Hope you can enjoy some of these ideas if you ever have a rocket-obsessed guy (or girl) in your house!

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