Friday, July 1, 2016

Space The Final Frontier

Painting the Sun
 It's mind blowing how fast and busy two weeks can come and go.  It's also stunning to me just how much we managed top pack into those two weeks!  Space the Final Frontier is the start of our Summer Programming at Maple Tree.  I like to change things up a bit for the next eight weeks for my children and give them a different space and break from their regular routine and Montessori Year.  For the next eight weeks we will be doing Camp in two week blocks.  Each Camp has a different theme.  We just finished our two week Space Camp.  It was so much fun and very, very full.  I know my children went home tired every day.
 We kicked off the start of camp with these beautiful Sun Paintings.  We had the children apply paint and then we used plastic wrap on top of the sun to smoosh the paint and blend the colors.  to finish the painting the children pulled our the rays of the Sun using their fingers.  This piece of art was one of my favourites as it was simply stunning when it was finished.
A number of years ago I made a Solar System out of felt.  I bought a large piece of black Sparkly  felt and then hand stitched the rings for planet placement.  It's not perfect but it's close enough.  I actually made two of these.  One I hand painted and I didn't like and this one I hand sewed (much nicer).  I also needle felted each planet and did my best to make them all to scale.  I did a circle activity with the children and presented this work.    It then went of on the shelf as work that the children were free to take out and use.
Working with the Solar System

We also had planets and other space themed things out at our felt board.  I watched as the children came and went from this space creating their own stories and doing imaginative play.  It was sweet.
We had many Outings, this one was to Neptune's Garden!

We had a day of RED!  We went to the Red planet for our outing (Commons Play ground) and we did all things red on this day.  We made a lot of strawberry jam for the cupboards followed up by biscuit making for strawberry short cakes!
Biscuit Making
What can you do when so many strawberries come into the school.  We made strawberry short cakes twice in two weeks!
Trip to Jupiter (York Redoubt)
This was a very full day almost entirely spent out at the park.  It was one of the best days!

All work and no play isn't much fun.  I firmly believe there is a balance and an argument for both.  I set up this play space area for one and the children came and went from it  a lot in the last two weeks.  I suspended the solar system above the play table sop it would really feel like space.
We had lego come out in the afternoons to ship making.  I love lego.  It is one of the most brilliant toys out there!

 We made a solar system out of paper with a spinning sun.
 Galactic Space Dough

  • large mixing bowl
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons of cooking oil (we used Canola)
  • 1 1/2 cups of salt
  • food coloring (I used black liquid water color.  It;s what I had on hand and it worked perfectly)
  • Lots of glitter 
  • This is a no cook play dough.  Just put everything into a bowl and mix it up.  I added the glitter lastly when all the dry ingredients were mixed in.  This was a huge hit!
We made Moons.  We used a mixture of shaving cream and glue with black liquid water color and let the children go crazy making crators.  The sensory experience alone on this project was so worthy it!

 The biggest project we did during this two week period was to make a solar system.  Each child made their own.  It took two weeks as there were many steps.  Each step was easy and fun to do and after a morning outing it was the perfect way to have some down time in the afternoon.  We started by having all the children make the planets.  I pulled out my big box of modelling clay and the children got to work making each planet.  We organized these all on wax paper and labelled each child work with their name to keep it all organized.

Close up of Planet Earth and Mars

To finish this project up the children painted card board with a mixture of black paint and glue to represent the milky way.  I hot glued a foam ball (the Sun) in the centre of each milky way and the children painted the Sun.  The last few days has been about the children using wooden sticks to attach their planets to the solar system.  It was a big project but we took our time and each step was another part of the project and an art experience on it's own.  

 We made crazy Crayons.  It's funny to me how long the children wanted to sit and peel paper off the old crayons.   I guess it makes sense as children like to pick things or pick at things.  We broke up what wasn't already broken and sorted by color and placed into a silicon baking cup tray that was star shaped.

 And now we have new crayons!  I sent two home with each child.  I love how they turned out.  So save your broken crayons.  You can make new ones again!  We baked ours in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes (until they were melted).  They need to cool completely and harden up to come out of the tray or they will break.

So that's a wrap for me on Space Camp!  I'm glad it's a long weekend~I am exhausted :-)

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