Adventures of the Non-Creative Mom

December 20, 2011

Latest Space Reads

My daughter’s interest in the Solar System is still going strong and we made another trip to the library this past weekend.  Our latest bed time reads have been:

There’s No Place Like Space by Tish Rabe

I’ve been on the wait list at the library for the longest time and was excited when I found this at the latest Scholastic Warehouse sale.  It was one of the books I gave my daughter as a gift this morning and she couldn’t wait to read it at bed time tonight.  She loved all the other Cat in the Hat books we have read so far so I had a feeling she would enjoy this one.  For the most part it was the same old information about each planet as the rest of the books we have read but the rhyming was nicely done and made it fun to read.  The greatest part of the book was that it just fueled my daughter’s dreams about going into space one day.  If you are looking for a beginning book about the solar system for your preschooler this is a great pick!

The following books were all ones she picked out at the library.

Saturn by Christine Taylor-Butler

This is the third book we have read from Taylor-Butler and we have enjoyed them all.  They are the perfect level for preschoolers who are just beginning to show an interest in the solar system.  Each page has some basic information with wonderful images.  There is also a word hunt list at the beginning of the book for things like “orbit”, “solar system”, etc and I love that the book provides a simple explanation of what each term means.  When we read these books my daughter constantly asks “what do that mean?” when we come across a new term.  Sometimes I admit to being stumped to come up with a simple enough explanation.  The books ends with a short chart comparing things like the length of a year, day, size and number of moons between Earth and Saturn.  It always amazes my daughter when she reads about how many more moons the other planets have compared to Earth.  This is a great series I suggest for the preschool level.

Jupiter by Elaine Landau

My daughter’s latest favorite planet is Jupiter because it is the largest planet.  We have read the Taylor-Butler book about Jupiter as well but what I liked about this one was that there were a few new gems of information.  Like, in addition to the Great Red Spot every other book mentions Landau’s book also mentions the smaller storm, the Little Red Spot, that has changed color from white to red from 2004 to 2006.  I don’t recall reading about this storm in any of the other books so it was something that caught both my daughter’s and my attention.  My daughter loved all the pictures and hearing about Galileo building his own telescope.  She’s been begging me for a telescope to that maybe she can make her own discoveries in space.

While an interesting book it is a little longer and has more words that the Taylor-Butler books so my daughter’s attention did wander at times.  I would suggest this for kids a little older (my daughter’s 4).

Activities to Try

Family of the Sun song: I stumbled across this song that is posted on the Smithsonian site and is sang to the tune of the Farmer in the Dell. It sounds like a catchy tune so I want to try it out with my daughter.  Here’s how it starts off and the chorus:

The Family of the Sun,
Its planets number eight,
Plus other rocky, icy worlds
That we appreciate.

Mercury is hot
and Mercury is small.
Mercury has no atmosphere;
It’s just a rocky ball.

The Family of the Sun,
Its planets number eight,
Plus other rocky, icy worlds
That we appreciate…


October 30, 2011

Eight Spinning Planets by Brian James & Russell Benfanti

My daughter picked this one out when I took her to a Scholastic Warehouse sale and it’s become one of her favorite books.  It has cut outs and raised, plastic, colorful planets and each page gives a short informational paragraph about the planet.  The only cover image I was able to find shows the planets showing up randomly on the cover but the actual copy we had ordered them based on their distance from the Sun.  I was surprised how quickly my daughter memorized each blurb about the planets and would actually start telling me about the planet before I even finished the first sentence on each page.  We would also have discussions about why people could not live on the other planets because they are either too cold, too hot, made out of gas, etc.

She’s been begging for an activity to do with the planets so I had to rack my brain to come up with something.  I was going to cut out felt planets but I wanted something she could really contribute more to.  So I cut out circles for each planet out of tissue paper (knew I was saving them from her birthday gifts for a reason) & construction paper.  I hollowed out the construction paper and glued it to the tissue paper just to make it easier to handle once she started painting.  Then she used water colors to paint each planet.  I told her she could paint them however she wanted but she wanted to follow the book.

Once they were dry I laminated them and we used them on my ghetto, homemade light box.

She then started putting the planets in the order she thought they were from the Sun.

She did amazingly well and just mixed up Jupiter and Saturn and Neptune & Uranus.

I think this book is perfect for the preschooler or kindergartener.  It was fun to read and teaches kids the basics.  It was also interesting that they included Pluto and stated that it was no longer considered a planet.  This was a nice point since she recently watched a Blues Clues episode about planets and that included Pluto.