Today we conclude our story book summer series – we’ve had 6 weeks of book based activities for kids from some fabulous bloggers around the world. This last week is Space Week and today Witty Hoots shares 2 books on the space theme The Way Back Home by Oliver Jefferies and Fat Cat The Moon so over to Witty Hoots for today’s last Story Book Summer Post.
Thank you to Rainy Day Mum for a brilliant book series and I am delighted to feature our two books about the moon today. A fiction book and a non-fiction book with some Witty Hoots fun activities to develop gross and fine motor skills, plus hand/eye co-ordination too!
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Featuring hands-on activities designed especially for mixed ages of kids.
Our first book is a fiction book called The Way Back Home – Written & Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.
This charming little book is simply illustrated and reminds me of a bygone era! The story is about a boy who finds an aeroplane in his cupboard and decides to fly it up into the sky. He runs out of petrol and lands on the moon. He then makes friends with a Martian who has crashed his UFO too. Through perseverance they both work together to get home and become firm friends as well. We love this book and makes a change from the usual ‘aliens on the moon’. This book would appeal to both boys and girls. To extend your child’s vocabulary you could ask questions about what they think will happen next and why.
‘The Way Back Home’ Outside Activities Developing Gross Motor Skills and Balance:
This is where you jump up and down on the spot moving your arms up and down and your legs in and out (Usually know as ‘star jumps’). To develop this skill make a line for the ‘jumper’ to jump along – this can be a chalk line drawn on the floor, a skipping rope laid out on the floor or an imaginary line between two points. Once the jumper can easily jump along a line and back you can introduce different things such as jump on the spot to avoid the aeroplane or hop on one leg until the Martian says ‘bloop’ and also things like walk along the line as if you are on the thinnest past of the moon. Lots of encouragement and demonstration can help your child gain in confidence with their jumping and balancing. Another twist to this game is for you to do the lunar jumps and get your child to call out the different variations. Children love it if you get involved like this and really enjoy taking the lead – don’t forget to get them to demonstrated to you exactly how it’s done as they will love to tell you what to do and how to do it!
Moon Rescue Training:
After reading this story I realised that there are variety of challenges that face the boy as he tries to fix the UFO and the aeroplane. This is an ideal opportunity to set up an obstacle course using the various toys and equipment that you have around the garden. If you do not have a garden then it is still possible to set up a similar obstacle course indoors.
In essence the boy in the story flies high up to the moon, crashes, meets a Martian, goes back home, gets the supplies needed to fix both machines, He then hikes up a mountain, climbs a rope and eventually gets back to the moon where the Martian and him fix each others machines. Taking this into account you can have a start point where your child can move towards the ‘moon’ (a designated area in the garden that you have chosen – we used the sandpit as it resembled ‘moon dust’ and it was round!) The first movement we chose was putting out arms out as it they were wings and ‘flying’ to the moon. Once at the moon we had to hop around it two times before jumping in. The paddling pool was at the other side of the garden so we dropped (rolled) from the sandpit to the paddling pool. Five splashes with our hands in the pool (it is summer so we have our pool out nearly every day and this is great fun too) we then walked in a straight line, as if we were walking a tightrope, back ‘home’.
After collecting our back pack with essential things (a few Lego bricks and a sheet of paper) we crawled back up the rope to the moon again! We did this by putting a skipping rope on the floor in a straight line and letting your child crawl along it! Using the Lego bricks you can pretend ‘repair’ the Martian’s UFO and finally make a paper aeroplane. Try launching it from you ‘moon’ and get it back ‘home’. With some imagination and lots of encouragement your child will be practising and developing their gross motor skills. You can add more activities such as catching and throwing a ball whilst moving from one place to another. If you have more than one child then you can either encourage their teamwork by working together or have it as a relay race where they have to tag each other to keep moving.
The next book we looked at was a non-fictional book called Fat Cat The Moon by Alice Harman.
Packed full of facts and brilliant lunar photos. It will appeal to both the more independent reader and children who like to have a book read to them. It discusses what the moon is , what is made of and the effect that the moon has on earth too. The moon landings are shown and then the book looks at whether people could actually live on the moon! There is a nice little quiz at the end of the book to check what the child can remember from the book.
‘The Moon’ Science Activities to help develop hand eye co-ordination:
Marble Moon Crater Science:
For this you will need some sand & flour in two separate large containers such as a plastic washing up bowl or a plastic lunch box. Take a few marbles or beads and drop them into first the sand and then the flour. Watch what happens and talk about what you think may happen next. Try dropping the marbles from different heights. Look at the craters that are made. Would using a smaller marble or a larger object make a difference? What about the shape of the object does that make a difference?
Marble Moon Fine Motor Skills:
For this take your marbles and drop/bury them in the sand/flour from the previous game. Take two spoons and two small plastic bowls. The object of the game is to time how quickly the marbles are dug out of the sand with the spoon and put into the small plastic bowl WITHOUT using the other hand. Then try swapping over hands half way through the game. This will develop fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination. Once they are confident with this introduce the other spoon and bowl. Put the marbles back into the bowl and using a spoon in each hand transfer the marbles equally to the plastic bowls.
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