Tuesday, June 8, 2010


This summer some of my mom friends invited me to take part in a weekly Reading Group. We each pick a favorite children's book and host everyone's children for crafts, snacks, learning and reading fun!

I love the book The Starry Messenger, by Peter Sis. Author and illustrator, Peter Sis, grew up in communist Czechoslovakia. The Starry Messenger tells the story of Galileo Galilei in a unique, artistic way...lots of side stories in his art and style.

Here are a few activities I've planned for when I host the Reading Group:

*What do we see up in the night sky?
STARS- Tape cardstock stars onto the wall in the outline of a constellation. Guide the children as they take turns coming up to connect the stars with masking tape to form a constellation.
FOIL CONSTELLATIONS- A long time ago, people linked the stars to create pictures and stories. Let your child create her own constellation. Fold a piece of tin foil in half and crimp the edges of the foil rectangle. Let your child draw a picture on the foil. Use a bamboo skewer to poke holes all around the edges of the picture. In a dark room, hold the foil constellation up in front of a flashlight. Observe your child's constellation on the wall.
Entertain with a Constellation Dot-to-Dot sheet.

MOON- Cut out the 8 phases of the moon and scramble them on the floor. Talk about how the moon reflects the sun's light. Because of the earth and moon's rotation, we don't always see the moon fully reflecting this light. Help the children tape the correct order of the moon phases onto the wall. (Paper plates work great!)

* What did Galileo create to see the night sky?
TELESCOPE- Save those used paper towel rolls! Tape a piece of plastic wrap over one end of the tube. Let your child choose the color of construction paper to wrap around the tube. Encourage your child to decorate her telescope with markers, stickers, glitter glue...

Have your child look through her new telescope at the moon phases and constellation that you posted on the wall.

*What else could Galileo see from his telescope?
PLANETS- Create a "Universe in a Jar". Fill a small jar with water, a little oil and a drop of blue food coloring. Let your child add star confetti, small balls or beads for planets, a yellow ball for the sun, crumpled foil balls as the moon, rocks as asteroids...what else? Close and seal tightly with duct tape. Shake and observe your own little universe.

*Snack time!
RICE KRISPY STARS (with star sprinkle embellishments perhaps?)

FREEZE-DRIED "ASTRONAUT" ICE CREAM- what a fun experience to share with your child. You can explain that Galileo lived a long time ago and could only observe the moon from far away. Only recently have astronauts been able to actually walk on the moon. One food that they eat when they are in space is freeze-dried ice cream. You can pick some up online or at an emergency/camping supply store.

STAR WATER-pour a few star sprinkles into small water bottles and let your child observe how the sprinkles dissolve and their colors diffuse through the water. Regular colored sprinkles work great too, leaving a small white ball after their color coats dissolve.

*I really like the Magic Schoolbus DVD series (scholastic.com)...particularly the "Sees Stars" DVD that explains how stars are formed and die, and takes you on a tour of the planets.

I get so excited when I think about all the fun possibilities to share with these reading group kids! Can't wait!

1 comment:

Ticia said...

I love the idea of a universe in a jar.


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