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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Space Rockets in Preschool


Here's another fun Day/Night activity that we did last week.  Actually, this really went with our Space theme.  We did a Space week because we had so many fun things to do with Day & Night that we grouped the space-type activities into the second week.

I got the idea for these Space Rockets from this Pinterest post:

Source: alphamom.com via Julie on Pinterest
The person who made these actually made them as confetti rockets, but for some reason I just couldn't get excited about the idea of confetti flying all over our classroom.  Well, now that I think about it, that could have been kind of fun, but I don't think the custodian would have been happy at all about it.  And we all know that the custodian is one of those people that you want on your side.

So we made non-confetti versions.  Which means that we used plain ole' paper towel rolls with nothing in them.

We used:
paper towel rolls
paint
glitter
metallic poster board
glue
pipe cleaners (cut in half)
streamers made out of cut-up plastic tablecloth
masking tape

Now, this is one of those projects that is a combination of child-done art and teacher-done art.  But it's about 70/30, with 70% being teacher-done.  I admit that I really struggle with that, since I usually favor projects with the highest percentage of child-done art as possible.  But I will placate myself now by saying that sometimes a balance is okay. (And after I made it, I thought of some more ways to make in more child-done, which I will share with you.)

After the kids painted their tubes, I cut circles out of silver poster board for the cones.  I actually used the die cut machine at our local teacher center, and my circles were 4" wide.


I then cut a slit in the circles from the outside edge to the center of the circle, and then pulled the edges near the cut together to make a cone shape.  You can glue or staple this.  However, if you glue it, go ahead and take your pipe cleaner or string or whatever you are going to use to hang your rockets with and place this so it sticks out the top of the cone before the glue dries.  I did not do this, and then had to tape my pipe cleaners on the top, which I didn't think looked so good.

You can then glue your already-formed cones onto the tubes.  I placed my cones upside down in some old muffin tins, placed the tubes into the cones (so the whole rocket was basically upside down) and then squeezed in ample amounts of glue to secure the cone to the body.  In hindsight, I could have just done this with hot glue at home.  It would have been much quicker, and then the ample glue mentioned above would not have pooled in the tip on the cone, preventing me from sticking my pipe cleaners in the top for easy hanging. However, if you wanted to get the kids more involved in the project and you already stuck your pipe cleaners into the top of the cone as suggested above, the regular glue would be fine.

Once the glue is dried, you can add the fire.  For this I used my favorite new material:  cut-up strips of cheap vinyl table cloth from the dollar store.

The method that I used is as follows (although I will add disclaimer here that I am later not going to recommend this method):

I first cut my pieces of streamers from the red and orange table cloth.  My strips were about 1/4" wide and 8" long. I then wrapped masking tape sticky-side-out around the lapboard that I also use while doing these kind of jobs at home.  I then took the strips of plastic and attached them to the tape all the way around the board, so it looked like the picture below.  If you do it this way, make sure and leave enough spaces between the strips and/or above the strips to keep the tape sticky.


Once you have a nice length of tape with the streamers attached, you can cut a piece off and tape it to the inside bottom edge of your rockets, leaving the fire hanging out nicely.

I would strongly recommend that if you do it this way you get your tape and streamers ready right next to where the rockets are.   If not, you might make the mistake I did and get the tape and streamers ready at home and and then have to take all of this to school to finish making the rockets.  You might wrap several already-draped pieces of masking tape (one above the other) to a single empty cookie sheet and try to transport them without disaster in your car.  Trust me: It might look like a festive Cookie Sheet-Hula Party O' Fire, but in the end, it just looks like this, which is definitely what you don't want:


Actually, if I did it again, I would attach the streamers in an easier and much-more child-friendly way.  I would put out a strip of shiny silver tape on our work surface, sticky side up.  I would then let the kids put the streamers (and perhaps some silvery ribbons) onto the tape.  Then I would cut a piece of this decorated tape to the size we needed to wrap it around the circumference of the rocket once.  We would then tape it to the outside of the bottom of the rocket, so that the silver tape covers the beginning of the streamers.  That way we wouldn't have to worry about putting the tape inside the tube, and we would be adding a nice silver stripe to the rocket.

Regardless, here is one of our rockets hanging from our class ceiling:


Despite all of the trials of learning how to do this project, the kids love them, and they ask every day when we will take them down so they can take them at home.

Now I'll just have to plan something else to hang from the ceiling so we can take these down...

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