This week #playfulpreschool theme is all about Night Time, as the days are getting shorter and the nights longer we’re finally seeing the night sky again after the summer break and the children are fascinated by it. At the moment we’re only seeing it first thing in the morning as it’s dusk when they head to bed but by the end of the month we will be able to explore it with our telescope and see first hand what we have been learning about this week.

Shoe Box Constellation Maps - create your own star maps to view inside any day of the year

Stars and the moon fascinate T and she likes waking up early and making patterns with dot to dot’s with the stars in the sky. J who is first grade has been long fascinated with space and all things related and has some great children friendly non-fiction books on the topic. With J’s help this week we worked on introducing non-fiction books as well as looking at what constellations were and making some of our own.

Materials needed to make shoe box constellations

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Shoe Box Constellation Maps - create your own star maps to view inside any day of the year

A Shoe Box
Torch
Black Paper
Needle
Plastic food tray to help with piercing
Masking Tape
Scissors
Pencil

Non-fiction book about the stars which includes some diagrams of constellations – we used the Big Book of Stars and Planets

More Space themed Books for preschoolers that want to explore off this world.

Preparation in Advance

Cut a hole in the base of the shoe box that will form the “frame” to hold in your star maps that you and your child will make.

Shoe Box Constellation Maps - create your own star maps to view inside any day of the year

On the shoe box lid cut out a hole that the torch will fit through and masking tape the torch securely in place.

Shoe Box Constellation Maps - create your own star maps to view inside any day of the year

Cut the black paper so that it fits securely inside the bottom of the shoe box

Create a Moon Cycle Banner as a simple craft that would be perfect to go with this shoe box constellation activity.

Learning Objectives

This week the learning that we focused on on the topic of Night Time were

  • Non-fiction books – contents and fact finding
  • Learn what a constellation is
  • Make our own star maps and constellations inside

Shoe Box Constellations

Start out introducing the non-fiction book, explain that it is a fact book where you can find information, J helpfully explained to T that non-fiction books have contents and some have index and glossaries. Looking at our book they found together the pages about constellations.

Shoe Box Constellation Maps - create your own star maps to view inside any day of the year

Having an older child who is fascinated by space really helped up as he took over and read to T the information from the book, as he read she asked questions about words – and they looked at the pictures together saying what they thought each constellation looked like and then we read about the official names for the constellations and why they are called it – some like the Plough T thought looked like a saucepan, The Hunter Orion was a crab, but others like Sirius and the southern cross were easily recognisable as a dog and a cross.

Once we had read the information we set out making our own star maps that we could then use to display the constellations on the walls in the house. On the black paper I quickly marked the stars with a pencil copying the rough positions from the book – if you wanted to be accurate you could print out constellation maps from the internet and then use these to mark the stars on the black paper.

Shoe Box Constellation Maps - create your own star maps to view inside any day of the year

With the stars marked we then pricked them out of the paper. Placing the plastic meat tray underneath the paper marked with the stars using a needle prick out each star.

Shoe Box Constellation Maps - create your own star maps to view inside any day of the year

Taking the shoe box fix the star map to the bottom – T made a Big Dipper/The Plough star map and J made a Sirius star map – with some masking/low tack tape that you can easily remove and allow you to make multiple star maps and put them into place.

Shoe Box Constellation Maps - create your own star maps to view inside any day of the year

Switch on the torch and go into a dark room – the stars will show up on the black paper and you can aim the box at a wall or celling to show the stars.

Shoe Box Constellation Maps - create your own star maps to view inside any day of the year

We also found out that holding the box towards a window during the day we could see the stars clearly outlined – but of course the kids preferred to play with the shoe box constellation maps.

Space Themed Printables in Store Now!

Try these other easy Science Experiments to do at Home

Chromatography Experiment – Separating Ink

Exploring Plant Structure with Celery

Seeing how roots grow with beans in a jar experiment

Testing Materials – what makes balls bounce

Energy transfer with a cotton reel car

Growing Crystals

Exploring how colours are made (no mess experiment using light)

Sea Turtle Conservation Lessons away from the Beach

Night time themed Activities

This weeks theme for playful preschool is all about night time, pop on over to the other educational and parent bloggers sharing learning and creative ideas on this theme to inspire you for the week.

Nighttime Alphabet Treasure Hunt at Growing Book by Book

Glow in the Dark Letters Sensory Bin at Mom Inspired Life

Shoe Box Constellations at Rainy Day Mum

Nighttime Sky Sensory Bin at Life Over C’s

Find the Big Dipper at Tiny Tots Adventures

Nocturnal Animals KWL Chart at Still Playing School

Night Time Musical and Dance at Learning 2 Walk

Create a Cricket Habitat and Do a Fun Science Experiment at Capri + 3

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh for ?#?PlayfulPreschool? at The Preschool Toolbox Blog

Studying Bats with a Hide and Sonar-Seek Activity at Raising Lifelong Learners

Night Time Sky with Playful Preschool at Powerful Mothering

Book-Inspired Preschool Owl Craft at Fun-A-Day!

Night Owl Painting and Books at The Educators’ Spin On It

Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

11 Comments

  1. Now this is wonderful. When I read torch my mind went all over the place forget the actual language difference.

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