In the Older Class we often enjoy doing projects that combine elements of art and literacy together. Building rocket-ships, a project we completed this month, is a perfect example of what I mean. We began by reading several favorite books about imaginary trips to outer space. Regards to the Man in the Moon, How to Catch a Star, and You're a Genius, Blackboard Bear were just a few. Then we decided it would be fun for each child to build their own rocket-ship. We all agreed that lots of imagination would be important!
“It has lots of windows.”
“My spaceship flies fast!”
“It blasts off with hot lava.”
“The point on top makes it go out to the moon.”They also dictated what things they thought they would need to build their space-ship. We had to point out there would be no real fire for blasting off (since that seemed to be an important ingredient) but we would provide materials to help us imagine it!
“I'll need plastic for the windows.”
“Maybe some wood for building.”
“Some fire for the rockets.”
“I'll need some markers and scissors and glue.”
Then it was time for the actual construction to begin. The children referred back to their plans and tried to make their space-ship look like their original idea. This took a couple of days to complete. The parents working at this activity did a fantastic job of helping the children turn their plan into a reality!
The next step was to decorate their rocket-ships. They used paint, foil, markers, crepe paper and tinsel (for the fire, of course), stickers, etc.
“My rocket-ship is going to the moon!”
“My spaceship is taking off! The astronauts are waiting to go into Outer Space.
The process of building space-ships provided an opportunity for creativity, problem-solving and imagination. It also helped to show that writing can be a useful tool by helping you remember what you want to do and to tell stories (an important step in the road to literacy). And, as could be seen by the enthusiasm of the children as they came over to work on their projects, it was also a fun and exciting activity. In other words, just another example of what goes on in the life of a busy preschooler!