Space is a fun topic to explore with your kids - and, right now, it's very current with the space shuttle launches going on!
I like to read a variety of books with my kids - both fiction and non-fiction - and do all kinds of projects to get immersed in the subject! There are Curious George books and other books on space by H. A. Rey, Usborne books, even books with Dora and Cat-in-the-Hat. Visit the library or a bookstore and you can search by the subject - if you're not familiar with the process, there are people there to help you get started. If you have access to a computer at home, search for books about space and put in the grade level to narrow it down. I like "Me and My Place in Space" by Joan Sweeney - it's a great conversation starter! Read the books, talk about the books and have your child "read" to you by describing what is happening in the pictures. Each opportunity you and your child have to explore new worlds will increase vocabulary and knowledge - you'll be surprised at the connections they make!
When you have sparked some interest in the subject, you can move on to some great recyclable crafts! Paper towel tubes make great rocket ships, with a little imagination ... and some stickers, markers, paint, etc. Making sure there is a little round window for your child's picture to peek out of will make this a treasured toy!
A big favorite with my classes in the past has been assembling their very own control panels to use for imaginary flights in space! Take a piece of black posterboard or a piece of cardboard (about the size of a piece of computer paper - or any size, really!) and cover it or accent it with aluminum foil. Look for a picture of the earth ( I checked Google images) and some other graphics that you can either cut out, copy, color or print.
Save some drink container tops from apple juice or gatorade that are varied colors to attach as "control" buttons. I've also used colored stickers and buttons from my button collection on past panels. The little looseleaf hole protectors are easy to find at drug stores or stationery stores and make cool additions. Assemble all this in any fashion you wish and model playing with your child - they will enjoy counting down from 10 and blasting off on many adventures!
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-Blast off! Have a good trip!!