5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Blastoff! Whoo, it’s time to plan tons of fun space activities and centers for your space theme! There’s just something about space that gets kids excited to learn and play. Grab your plan book, and let’s get started! Oh, and don’t forget to grab the FREE Star Constellation book in this post, too!
Grab the FREEBIE by entering your email in the box at the bottom of this post. This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a tiny commission when you use my links at no cost to you.
Just remember that preschoolers and even kindergartners will not be able to really understand many concepts about space. Sprinkle in vocabularyrelated to space, and teach those super basic concepts like night and day, the moon, the sun, and the planet Earth. I mainly use the space theme to teach various math, literacy, science, and motor concepts and skills to my little learners.
Space Activities & Centers for Literacy
Rocket Names! Create a cute space name craftivity to decorate your room, hallway, or bulletin board during your space theme. Print the squares on colored paper and let little learners cut them out. Glue them together, and write one letter of their name on each square. Then, add a rocket top and tissue paper fire at the bottom. If your students need help cutting, I always precut some of each color for tired hands.
If your students need extra support cutting out the squares, try these bounce-back (aka loop) scissors. If a student needs extra support writing letters, write the letters in pencil, then have the student trace the letter with a marker.
Spaceship Letter Match! Create a butcher paper activity with a space theme by drawing a spaceship and writing letters all over it. Students used letter manipulatives to match and practice letter identification.
Letter Match Rockets! Practice identifying uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and beginning sounds with these Letter Rockets! Put out just a handful of letters or the whole alphabet, depending on the age of your students. If you have three-year-olds, make this game easier by making it just a letter-matching game (only put out the letter cards).
Planet Letter Mats! There are so many beautiful planets in space, so why not use them to practice writing letters?Students pick a planet, write the letter, and build the letter with magnet letters! If you have older students, you can have them read, write, and build their sight words on the mat!I didn’t have time to laminate the boards before this activity, so I put them in these dry-erase pockets.
Meteor Letter Hunt! My kiddos LOVE letter hunts, so I hid magnet letters in foil, which we pretended were space rocks or meteors!Students opened up the space rocks (great fine motor work, too), identified the letter, and traced the letter. Then, they had to wrap their letter back in the foil for the next person.
Moon Writing! Use foil for a writing surface! It works just like a dry-erase board and is so much fun for little learners. We pretended it was the surface of the moon and practiced writing space vocabulary on it.
Space Writing Table! It’s fun to have space vocabulary in the writing center!A space theme needs space vocabulary words, space writing paper, space stickers, and METALIC CRAYONS or markers!The metallic crayons write on black paper, and they are sparkly, too! If you don’t have metallic crayons, chalk works on the black paper, too. It’s so important to use new writing tools to make the writing center inviting to students and to help them fall in love with writing and drawing!
Outer Space Books! In your library, you can fill the bookshelf with space books for a space theme.This Space-Themed booklistis packed with my favorite space books for little learners.
Space Activities & Centers for Fine Motor & Sensory
Space Playdough Tray! Playdough trays are one of my students’ favorite things (and mine too). Students can use their imaginations with space-themed play dough as they create and sculpt while exercising those little fingers! Grab some star cookie cutters, star pony beads, planets (marbles), space rocks (foil in a ball), and little alien mini erasers or counters, and place it all in a sorting tray.This tray is a chip and dip tray from the dollar store.To make the play dough black and sparkly, I use this gel food coloring and glitter.
Space Sensory Table! In the sensory table, make a planet for students to explore! It’s black and neon fish tank gravel, glow-in-the-dark ceiling stars, and half of a space action figures set(the other half of the set is in the blocks center).
Space Bracelets! Continue strengthening those fine motor muscles, and have your students make space bracelets!Students lace star pony beads and cut straws on silver pipe cleaners.The straws will pop all over a bit when the students cut them, but it’s so much fun!
Gears Fine Motor Activity! Grab this gear set and give students a chance to develop fine motor skills and problem-solving skills, and give them a creative outlet in the classroom. Young children can begin to develop engineering skills while playing with these gears.
Space Activities & Centers for Math
Star Patterns! Set out some black play dough and star beads for a simple pattern activity. It is hands-on and engaging for a space theme. If your students are struggling with patterns, you can have them started with a few beads, and students will work on finishing the patterns. If they are understanding patterns, they can create their own.
Space Alien Shape Clip Cards! Students identify the shape and clip the matching shape alien. Using clothespins sneaks in more fine motor work, too.
Space Roll & Count Mats! My little learners always have the option to play the game their own way.As long as they are learning something, I’m a happy teacher!Typically, for this game, students roll the dice, build a cube tower with the corresponding number of cubes, and place it on the number.One group of students decided to roll the dice and cover the corresponding number.
Number Rockets! Students count or identify the numbers to create Number Rockets.You decide what numbers and how many rocket puzzles to put out based on your students’ level. Students will be matching the number, dominoes, and ten frames.
Alien Counting Mats! Practice number identification, one-to-one correspondence, counting, and more with these alien-themed counting mats. There are mats for 1-20, so only use what your students are ready for. I gave them small manipulatives like pom poms and star mini erasers with tweezers to get even more fine motor practice.
Alien Measurement! Give little learners a chance to practice nonstandard measurement with these fun measuring cards. You can use the included moon rulers or give students another measurement tool. I also set out linking cubes for students to measure the light beam with.
Space Activities for Blocks and STEM
Space Blocks Center! To take the theme into the blocks center, I added space non-fiction books,space action figures set with space shuttles, space rocks (foil), blueprint paper, and space-themed I Can Build Cards.The photographs and books inspire little learners to build and engineer something new that they normally wouldn’t build.I posted the space blueprints my students made, too!
Space STEM! Check out this space station a few students built.I challenged them to build a space station that was taller than them, and they did!Giving students STEM challenges forces students to make a plan and have an end goal.Even though our little learners may not draw out detailed plans, they still are making ones in their heads and making changes as they go.
Space Activities for Science
Space Science Table! Space can be a hard concept for little learners to understand.Set up a space science table to make learning all about Space (Day and Night, Shadows, Constellations, Moon, and the Planets) fun and hands-on in your classroom!There are so many hands-on activities you can put on the science table for space. Grab my Space,Sun, and Moon science unit from my TPT store HERE. Students can practice putting the planets in order or sorting them by size or color.
Planet STEAM Project! If your students get bored with the science table, give them materials to design their own planets. I gave them oil pastels and watercolors to use on paper plates to create their own planet. They looked at the current planets and made their own creations. If you don’t want to use watercolors at the science table, you can set out paint sticks, markers, or crayons. I like to give students 2 kinds of media for more texture and creativity.
Space Activities for Art
Planet Marble Art! Students roll paint-covered marbles in a box or lid to create beautiful planets!You can have students cut out the circles using a stencil, or you can cut them out beforehand.
Constellation Art!Set out this FREE Constellation book to inspire students to create their own constellations on black paper using star stickers and white crayons!You can even sneak in some math and talk about how constellations are like maps in the sky.
>>Grab the FREEBIE by entering your email in the box at the bottom of this blog post!<<
Night Sky Cookie Cutter Art!Grab some white paint and have students stamp star cookie cutters to create a beautiful night sky. Give each student their own paper or one large piece of butcher paper to create a piece of art together.
Space Themed Dramatic Play
Space Station Dramatic Play! Don’t forget about the dramatic play center!Change it into a Space Station. Check out how I did it in THIS detailed blog post. My students love this dramatic play set up, and it is so rich with math and literacy throughout!
There are so many interesting things about space, and I find that my little learners are always intrigued by a space theme. I also think it is easy to find materials for and get creative, engaging ideas for, too! So grab your lesson plans and map out your space unit today.
Want ALL my Space-themed math and literacy printables?Grab them in my TPT store HERE!I did all the work for you.Just print, prep, and play!
Want to see these space centers in action? Check out the video.
Love these space activities? Pin this image!
Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
As an expert and enthusiast, I have personal experiences or expertise, but I can provide information on the concepts mentioned in this article. Let's go through each concept mentioned in the article:
Space Activities & Centers for Literacy:
- Rocket Names: Creating a cute space name craftivity by cutting out squares with letters of the students' names and adding a rocket top and tissue paper fire at the bottom.
- Spaceship Letter Match: Drawing a spaceship on butcher paper and writing letters all over it for students to match and practice letter identification.
- Letter Match Rockets: Practicing identifying uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and beginning sounds with letter rockets.
- Planet Letter Mats: Using planets to practice writing letters by picking a planet, writing the letter, and building the letter with magnet letters.
- Meteor Letter Hunt: Hiding magnet letters in foil and having students open the space rocks, identify the letter, trace it, and wrap it back in foil.
- Moon Writing: Using foil as a writing surface to practice writing space vocabulary.
- Space Writing Table: Setting up a writing center with space vocabulary words, space writing paper, space stickers, and metallic crayons or markers.
Space Activities & Centers for Fine Motor & Sensory:
- Space Playdough Tray: Using space-themed playdough and various materials like star cookie cutters, star pony beads, planets (marbles), space rocks (foil), and alien mini erasers or counters for sensory play and fine motor practice.
- Space Sensory Table: Creating a planet for students to explore using black and neon fish tank gravel, glow-in-the-dark ceiling stars, and space action figures.
- Space Bracelets: Having students lace star pony beads and cut straws on silver pipe cleaners to make space bracelets.
- Gears Fine Motor Activity: Providing a gear set for students to develop fine motor skills, problem-solving skills, and creative thinking.
Space Activities & Centers for Math:
- Star Patterns: Using black play dough and star beads for a pattern activity, where students can create or complete patterns.
- Space Alien Shape Clip Cards: Identifying shapes and clipping the matching shape alien using clothespins.
- Space Roll & Count Mats: Rolling dice, building a cube tower with the corresponding number of cubes, and placing it on the number.
- Number Rockets: Matching numbers, dominoes, and ten frames to create Number Rockets.
- Alien Counting Mats: Practicing number identification, one-to-one correspondence, and counting with alien-themed counting mats.
- Alien Measurement: Using nonstandard measurement tools like moon rulers or linking cubes to measure objects in the space theme.
Space Activities for Blocks and STEM:
- Space Blocks Center: Incorporating space non-fiction books, space action figures, space rocks (foil), blueprint paper, and space-themed building cards into the blocks center to inspire creativity and engineering skills.
- Space STEM: Providing STEM challenges like building a space station taller than the students, encouraging planning and problem-solving.
Space Activities for Science:
- Space Science Table: Setting up a space science table with hands-on activities to learn about space concepts like day and night, shadows, constellations, the moon, and the planets.
- Planet STEAM Project: Giving students materials to design their own planets using oil pastels, watercolors, paint sticks, markers, or crayons.
Space Activities for Art:
- Planet Marble Art: Rolling paint-covered marbles in a box or lid to create planets.
- Constellation Art: Creating constellations on black paper using star stickers and white crayons.
- Night Sky Cookie Cutter Art: Stamping star cookie cutters in white paint to create a night sky.
Space Themed Dramatic Play:
- Space Station Dramatic Play: Transforming the dramatic play center into a space station with math and literacy elements throughout.
These activities and centers aim to engage students in a space-themed learning environment while incorporating various skills such as literacy, fine motor, sensory, math, science, art, and dramatic play.