Help your little learner to understand what an astronaut wears.
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to teach your preschooler about astronauts. Young children begin to develop scientific thinking and may start learning about basic concepts such as Earth and space sciences at school. Space-aged classroom projects and discussions may leave your preschooler with some questions about everything from the planets to astronauts. Some children may even seem fearful when facing photos or pictures of a suited up space man, but you can answer your child's questions, and squash his fears, with an at-home lesson on what astronauts wear.
1Look at a photo of a real-life astronaut with your preschooler. Use a non-fiction book or look on the Internet for pictures. Preschoolers are developmentally ready to make comparisons. Show your little learner a photo of a famous astronaut, such as Neil Armstrong, suited up for space travel, and then show him another photo of the astronaut in regular clothes. Ask your child to compare the two outfits, listing what is the same and what is different. For example, in both photos the man has two legs and two arms and wears shoes, but in the astronaut photo he has a special helmet on.
2Talk about why an astronaut needs to wear different clothing than you do, discussing space travel and the environment of outer space. Tell your child that space is very cold, the sun is hot, there is no breathable air and that there is no gravity (or different gravity, such as on the moon). Ask your preschooler to tell you how he thinks the different parts of the astronaut's suit may help to keep him alive, then tell him how the oxygen tanks let the astronaut breathe, or discuss the ways the helmet protects the astronaut.
3Help your child to make to make a life-sized astronaut. Ask your preschooler to lay down on a large sheet of unrolled butcher paper. Trace your child's outline. Have him turn the tracing into an astronaut. Use crayons to draw on a helmet. Cut silver foil into astronaut clothes and glue it on to the body. When your child is done, cut out the entire outline and hang it up for him to see and study.
4Enhance your own explanation of astronaut clothing by letting an expert do some talking. Visit an expert website such as NASA Kids' Club with your preschooler. Learn facts, watch a video or play a game that features real-life astronauts along with kid-friendly characters.
- If your child is afraid of the otherworldly clothes that an astronaut wears, reassure your preschooler that there is a person in there. A fully suited up astronaut can at times look a bit like a monster. Go back to the photos of the astronaut in regular clothes to reinforce the human under the suit.
- Only use non-toxic, child safe art materials to make your astronaut.
Things You'll Need
- Butcher or rolled paper
- Kids safety scissors
- Clear drying school glue