Space Party -5yr- Astronaut Skills Training
Bobbie in Lancaster, PA, USA
My son is absolutely crazy about space, so we decided to have a Space Party for him when he turned 5. (Guests ranged in age from 3-9) We sent out invitations that read It is our greatest pleasure to announce that you have been selected as part of the Launch Crew for the Matthew 5 Mission to Outerspace! Mission Objective: To explore outer space and help Commander Matthew North have a Happy Birthday! Party details were listed as: Mission Launch Date: Mission Launch Time: Mission Launch Site: For an RSVP we added Please communicate with Mission Control at --- ---- to confirm your mission readiness. I used a NASA logo and NASA font that I downloaded for free from the Internet to make it look official.
To decorate the dining room, where we had cake and ice cream, I bought a bunch of cheap black tablecloths and covered them with tons of silver star stickers in assorted sizes (I mostly put them on randomly, but did include a few of my son's favorite constellations) I hung these to cover all the walls, then used black streamers across the ceiling and hung planets we made by painting Styrofoam balls. I used the black with stars tablecloth on the table also and silver plates, and spoons, and black cups with more of the silver stars.
Outside, I used helium balloons which I decorated with markers to resemble the planets (i.e. Jupiter was an ivory balloon with brown and orange stripes and a big red spot, Saturn was an orange balloon with long twisty balloon for making animal shapes wrapped around it as the rings, Uranus was aqua with a long balloon wrapped in the vertical position: they looked great, and my son knew which planet each one was right away). Around the house, we taped up assorted space picture my son drew. I set the party up with an astronaut training/space mission theme.
As the kids arrived I had them color space themed coloring pages I printed from the Internet until everyone was there. To begin, I called all the kids together and handed out astronaut training-shirts that I had made up for each. They were white T-shirts with the NASA logo and their name and mission title underneath. (I made iron-on transfers with my computer & printer with the logo and made up titles like payload specialist and mission specialist) All the kids filed outside in their shirts and the adults waiting outside thought it looked so cute-just like real astronauts!
We played some games loosely based on skills astronauts need.
(1) Astronauts need to work together: the kids had to work together to throw glow-in-the-dark balls from one bin to another on the other side of the yard
(2) Astronauts need to blast off: we made exploding 35mm film canisters with alka seltzer tablets and water-I gave each child cheap sunglasses for safety
(3) Astronauts need to be able to control the space shuttle: kids took turns throwing rockets thru a hoop into a basket
(4) astronauts need to stay connected to the space craft during space walks: we played pin the astronaut game. I printed a space shuttle from an online coloring page and glued it to a black poster board with more of those silver star stickers, then I added white life-lines using those markers for writing on dark paper. The kids had to stick their astronaut on one of the lifelines (I made lots of lines since the kids were all young and I didn't want any upset about being killed in space J) At this point all the kids had completed their astronaut training and were told that their mission was to travel around the galaxy and collect samples from various locations. Each child was given a space pack which I made by covering a cereal box with silver wrapping paper, attaching 2 silver-painted soda bottles, I glued on NASA logos I printed on my computer and added US flag stickers. I added 2 elastic straps for their arms. They each also received a collection canister, which I made from Pringles cans covered with the silver wrapping paper. I also printed the NASA logo to be the same size as the lid and glued it onto the plastic lids. The kids loved them!
I had decorated a couple of huge boxes to sort-of look like space-craft and the kids crowded into to them to blast off. We visited several different planets and each had its own unique gravity --forcing the astronauts to move around in unique ways while searching for specimens to collect. On one planet they had to hop, on another walk backwards, on another duck-walk, etc. Between each planet they got back into their spacecraft, which gave me the chance to scatter new rocks for collecting. The rocks were little treats/toys wrapped in crumpled foil. By distributing them between each flight, I could control that each child got one of each treat, so that there were no tears later when they opened it all up.
My kids think no party is complete without a pinata, so that was the final activity. I made a pinata using colored tissue paper strips dipped in a flour paste so that it looked like Jupiter. This was a lot harder than using newspaper, and I wouldn't recommend it if you are in a hurry it took more patience that the traditional method ,but it looked great! Since my 5 year old son is a walking space encyclopedia, I thought is would be fun to make up a space quiz for the adults (all relatives) to do during the party. All the questions were things that the birthday boy knew and it was fun to see the adults stumped, none of them knew the 4 Galilean moons of Jupiter (Io, Calisto, Ganymede, & Europa) and everyone laughed when the 5 year old rattled them off without hesitation.
For Goodie bags, I used black bags decorated with yet more of the silver stickers and the kids name writted in white marker. They got bubbles with space labels we made ourselves, asteroid balls, some candy, and space pencils, the goodie bags were not so big, since they had a lot of other stuff from the party (shirts, spacepacks, pinata loot, etc) Everyone had a blast and my kids still play with their space packs.
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