My 4 year old’s thematic lesson plan, this week, is space. Because we’re temporarily living in Hawaii, I’m short on supplies. It just doesn’t make sense to go buy a ton, when we don’t have much space and we’ll be leaving soon. It’s inspired me to work with what we’ve got, and one major change I’ll be making at home is re-purposing materials for art projects. I printed off preschool theme packs before we flew out. The one we’re using this week is from Homeschool Creations: Astronaut. The planet cut-outs are part of that particular preschool pack. Visit homeschoolcreations.net for different themes and ideas.
I would have chosen to call this Our Solar System Mobile, but I felt like it wouldn’t be accurate. No attention was paid to where the planets were placed in relation to one another, plus I’m working with what I’ve got here.
Prior to starting this project, I cut out 2 of each planet and gathered the supplies we would need. However, we needed more supplies than I anticipated, plus I couldn’t find several things (like usually) and had to improvise.
What you should have for this project:
- Double Print Outs of the Planets
- Glue Stick
- Hole Punch
- Fishing Line
- Small Sheet of Cardboard
First, my 4 year old glued every matching planet, back to back.
When she came to Mars, she said, “You’re trying to trick me!”. She knows that Mars is “The Red Planet”, and it clearly wasn’t red (probably because my printer was running low on ink). I suggested that she color it whichever color she thought it should be, so there wouldn’t be any confusion. So, she picked an orange-red crayon and remedied the situation.
I had her try to sound out the name of each planet. Neptune must have stuck in her mind from one of our many planetarium outings, because she new it immediately.
I lost my precious hole punch, so I used a pencil to poke ugly holes in the top of each planet.
Next, I found an old empty cereal box and cut a piece into as big of a ring as I could.
The string would have to do, because I can’t find my fishing line either (recurring theme).
I cut and tied 4 pieces of string to the top of the ring.
I had my daughter pull a piece of string through each planet, and I tied them for her. Then, I tied the other end to the bottom side of the ring.
TADA! You have a Space Mobile! (with an upside down Saturn)
But we’re not done yet…. It needed a Sun, even my 4 year old thought so.
First, I cut everything out. One circle from a paper plate and tons of tiny triangles from our cereal box.
What you’ll need for this one:
- Orange Paint
- Paint Brush
- Paper plate
- Cardboard/Card Stock Pieces
I wouldn’t recommend using super glue anywhere near a 4 year old, but I was left with no choice when I couldn’t find the Elmar’s glue. So, I put the glue around the circle and let my daughter stick on the triangles, reminding her every few seconds not to touch the glue.
(And yes, I know I need to get a less bold tablecloth for this very reason.)
Now it was time to paint the sun. We used orange, yellow, and red paint, just to mix it up.
Then to add texture, I gave my 4 year old a snack cup of salt to sprinkle on the sun.
Here is our finished product, which is functioning more as a silent wind chime, then as a mobile:
One thing that my daughter brought to my attention through this whole process, was how important it is that I let go of the reins a little and let her do her own thing. When she sat down to paint, she started to ask me which brush she could use for each color. I said, “Go crazy! Paint it however you want.”I really didn’t think that small statement would have such an impact, but she was so excited about being told she was in charge. If I made a suggestion, she would say,”You said I can do it how I want.” Yes, yes I did my independent little person.
At this age, they take in every little thing you say and soak it up. Simple phrases hold a lot of meaning.
We happened to make the sun, after my toddler was down for a nap, so when she woke up it was texture painting time. I just left everything as it was when my 4 year old was done painting, and my toddler picked up where she left off.