Idea No.


Space Theme -5yr- Universe in a Jar



Feb. 2004


Alison in Calgary, Alberta, CANADA


Space Party

For my son's 5th birthday, we chose a Space theme.  I set out to make this a fun and educational party for all the kids. I got many ideas from this awesome website.

INVITATIONS: We found a picture of an astronaut on the internet, and then used "photoshop" to put my son's head on the astronaut's body.  These were printed on cardstock paper, and the inside read: It's a Space Party. Who: Lt. Commander Liam ______, Launch site, lift off time, Return to earth, RSVP to the mother ship (our name and phone number).  I made envelopes by printing out a rocket ship from clip art.  The "astronaut" was placed inside.

DECORATIONS: Since we are in Canada, I printed the Canadian Space Association logo from the internet and blew it up, placing several around the room.  I also purchased a solar system poster from the local teacher supply store, as well as  a space themed border with pictures of astronauts and planets that went around the whole room.  Blew up 80 black and silver balloons and let them lie on the floor.  Also had 30 balloons filled with helium.  The table was decorated in black and silver (silver table cloth, black plates, cups, and cutlery). I put small star stickers all over the black paper cups, which the kids loved. 

LOCATION AND ARRIVAL: I work for an agency that provides specialized services  to children with special needs, and I am lucky enough to have access to this facility for free.  The facility has several different specialized treatment rooms, which I adapted for use with my theme (more later).  As the children arrived, there was a sign on the door with the Canadian Space Association logo, and a sign that read: "WELCOME TO THE CANADIAN SPACE AGENCY, in preparation for our mission, we ask that you remove all outdoor footwear.  Please report to the mision specialist to pick up your jet pack and uniform.  All Astronauts will then enter the shuttle in preparation for departure.  Lift off time will be 11:45 A.M.  Re-entry into earth's atmosphere will take place at approximately 1:30 P.M.  Please enjoy your space adventure." 

As the children enterred the building, I was seated at a table covered in a Canadian Flag.  A white board easel was set up beside me, which read :"Astronaut Check in".  Each child was issued a uniform (I used the Canadian Space association logo and printed it on transfer paper, and then ironed it on to white t-shirts for all the kids.  There was also a canadian flag printed on the sleeve, and their title "Commander Joey Smith" over the left breast of the shirt), and a jet pack (I used two 2 litre pop bottles, taped them together and spray painted then silver.  Then I used the elastic you can buy at the fabric store to make straps.  I printed the logo and canadian flag(yes we are patriotic too!) on sticker paper and put these on the jet packs, I then used red and green puff paint to paint buttons on the jet packs).  Each astronaut also received a glow bracelet.  

ACTIVITIES:  After all the children arrived, we gathered everyone up for lift off.  I had placed several hula hoops out on the ground in the gym area, and asked each astronaut to pick one to be their "space shuttle".  Evceryone crouched down in their hula hoop and we started the countdown: 10, 9, 8 etc..  BLAST OFF!!, and all the kids jumped up. I directed them that we were landing on a strange planet, it was a hopping planet, and the only way to get around was to hop.  We then gathered back into our space shuttles and lifted off to several more planets (I let the kids choose different ways to move for each planet (i.e., crawling, skipping etc..).  From there the children could move to one of several different locations set up.  Many of the locations could only support thrree children at a time, so the children moved between locations as they wished.  I had a parent stay at each location to ensure that only three children were inside at any time.  Each location had a sign using graphics from clip art and a set of instructions that parents could follow.  These were lamintaed and stuck up on the door of each room. 

The first room was the "Space Station" (which is really called a Snoezlen Room and is designed for children with sensory difficulties).  This room has a light up bubble tube with a controller that can change the color of the bubbles, it also has "musical hopscotch, where the colored tiles on the floor light up a panel on the wall, and create music as each one is stepped on.  There is also a rotating projection of a rocket ship on the wall, and severl aother snesory activites.  The lights are kept off in this room, so it feels pretty spacey. 

The secomd room was the "MOON WALK" Room.  This room is really called a Sensory Integration Room.  This room has several different kinds of swings, a ball pit and a large air mat.  The instructions indicated that the kids could ride on the space ship (Swing), jump in a crater (ball pit), and "walk" on the moon (Air matress).  I had also set up this room for a "moon rock hunt", I had taken small treats like mars bars and starburst candies and wrapped them in tinfoil.  The room was kept relatively dark and the glow bracelets really lit up for the children to search the room. Each child was given a plastic bag, a set of tongs ($1 each at the dolar store, and told that they needed to retreive 8 moon rocks each.  The kids LOVED using the tongs to pick up the moonrocks. 

Another location was a craft center, where the kids could make a "Universe in a Jar".  Materials needed included baby oil, water, glitter, blue food coloring, and I was also lucky enough to find beads shaped like different planets at Wal-Mart>  All these items are place in the jar, and when you shake it, you can watch your "universe" spin around.  I found this idea on the NASA KIDS web-site. 

Another station was the Planetarium.. In this room, I had the "Star Theater 2" set up.  It's a mini planetrium (about $30) from a company called Uncle Milton.  It needs to be set up in a dark room.. It is a globe shaped thing that projects the plantes and constellations onto the ceiling and walls around you.  It also comes with a detachable meteor maker and a DVD containing an "audio tour" of the night sky.  It's awesome, and the audio component reaaly is educational for the kids.  The narrator has a great voice which makes you feel like you are in a real planetarium.  The final location was "Pin the Alien in the Spaceship".  I had found a picture of a spaceship in Clipart, and taken it to a copy center.  They enlarged it to poster size for me and laminated it.  I then use clipart to find pictures of aliens and cut out and laminated them.  I placed sticky tack on the back and the kids had a blast putting on the blindfold and seeing who could get their alien the closest to the drivers seat.

FOOD:  I made a menu again using clipart which read: 
ASTRONAUT"S MENU: 1. Flying Saucer pizza, 2. Tang, 3. Asteroid chips, 4. Astronaut cake.  The cake was made with an Astronaut shaped cake pan lent to me by a friend (it had been used by her mother in law when her husband was little).  I used white icing, and black licorice strings to make the details on the astronaut suit.  I also cut out the Canadian flag from red fruit roll ups, and made buttons and knobs etc. with different samll candies.  I used grey icing for the mask, boots and gloves.

TREAT BAGS:  I covered Pringles cans with black construction paper, and placed glow in the dark star stickers all over them, as well as a CSA logo sticker.  I then used white craft foam to make the rocket points and used metallic gel markers to write each child's name.  Inside were: pop rocks, a small packet of kool-aid Blast offs (blue moon berry for the boysm and strawberry starburst for the girls, Buzz lightyear candy, glow in the dark stars, metallic sunglasses, glow bracelets, mars bars, star burst candy, mini aliens, glow in the dark UFO tops, star stickers, UFO yo-yos, and glitter bouncy balls.  I also included a "Make your own rocket" kit.  I had found a great idea for making a film canister rocket on the NASA KIDS website, but because they need to be launched outdoors and it was February in Calgary, it wasn's such a good idea to plan this as an activity.  I liked the idea so much though, that I made a kit for each child including a film canister, an Alka Seltzer tablet, and printed instructions to take home.

THANK YOU CARDS;  We had used our digital camera to get a picture of each of the guests wearing their t-shirts and rocket packs.  We printed these off as thank you cards for each of the kids, with a note on the back saying:  Thanks for joining us on our mission Commander Joey Smith.  We hope you enjoyed your Space adventure.  I of course hand wrote a more personalized thank you for the gift etc..  A fun time was had by all.  Each of the children got to take home their t-shirts, jet packs, tongs from the moonrock hunt, and Universe in a jar.  All of the decorations have now been transported into my son's bedroom.  He uses his "star theater" before bed each nite, and we frequently play a quick game of "Pin the Alien in the Space ship"  I can't wait to plan another party next year.

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