Complement your outer space lesson, and make a tribute to the retirement of the United States' space shuttle fleet and missions, by coming up with space shuttle craft activities. Space shuttle crafts teach children about what space shuttles were used for, the kinds of advanced technology they relied on and how the shuttles operated. To kick off your craft activities, take kids to a space museum to see real shuttles or show them pictures or movies of shuttles in action.
Cardboard Space Shuttles
Let kids recreate their own space shuttles by making them out of cardboard paper towel rolls. To begin, kids paint the paper towel roll with white tempera paint. Then, cut two long triangles out of white card stock and glue them to the sides of the roll. The triangles resemble the shuttle's wings. Crumple black tissue paper and stick it into the top of the paper towel roll. For the back side of the roll, cut strips of red tissue paper and glue them into the cardboard to look like flames. Allow kids to embellish their space shuttles with stickers, glitter glue or silver sequins.
Toddlers and preschool children may be too young to put together three-dimensional shuttles, but they might be expert colorers. Give young kids a craft activity to color space shuttles on a worksheet. Then they can cut out the shuttles and glue them onto a large sheet of black construction paper to simulate outer space. Metallic star stickers can be placed in the background to make the dark sky twinkle.
Space Shuttle Invention
In response to the retirement of the United States' space shuttle fleet, have kids invent the next generation of spacecrafts. Allow kids creative freedom to come up with their own designs for their inventions. Provide drawing paper and colored pencils, and then have them share their spacecraft inventions with the rest of the class. The children must explain how the craft operates, such as how it flies, how the engine works and how the astronauts fly it.
Seltzer Space Rockets
Under adult supervision, kids can construct rockets using seltzer tablets and plastic film canisters or similar containers with lids. Cut a straight line through the side of a toilet paper roll and insert the canister in one of the ends. The lid of the container should extend beyond the toilet paper roll. Tape the canister to the toilet paper roll securely. Then cut a circle out of construction paper and fold it into a cone-shape to be glued to the other end of the toilet paper roll. Allow kids to decorate the cardboard tube as this will be their space ship. Go outside -- wearing eye protection -- and open the container's lid. Add water and the seltzer tablets, then place the lid back on the container and stand back to watch the rocket take off! This experiment illustrates how the rockets that were attached to the space shuttle worked during launch.
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