NASA Space Activities

These activities are mostly designed for elementary aged kids but can probably be adapted – at least in part – for our two year olds.

What’s Hidden Inside? Activity

This NASA activity is related to learning about uncrewed space exploration which asks “Why do robots travel before people?” In this lesson, students will gather information about items that they cannot see, using limited senses. Learn how to do this activity through the website below, which links to videos, an educator guide and a student guide.

Food Selection Activity

This NASA activity is designed to mimic the real activity that astronauts do when selecting their menu before their trip. In this activity, students sample food and complete a Taste Panel Evaluation Form, rating the appearance, color, odor, flavor and texture, with numerical scores. The PDF includes the form and also lists of suggested vocabulary to use when describing the foods. The activity increases the children’s vocabulary about food as well as their willingness to try new foods and a demonstration of their power to choose the foods they would like to eat more of, as a result of their willingness to try something new and analyze it objectively.

Planning and Serving Food Activity

This activity uses the FDA food pyramid to guide children in selecting a five-day menu such as astronauts would do. It suggests children can use cut outs of food and paste them to construction paper or boxes similar to the special trays astronauts use to keep their food from levitating(!). Two year olds probably can handle doing a one-day menu with pictures or plastic food that is actually pictured in the food pyramid, so that the focus is basically on counting and compiling meals rather than sorting unknown foods into the categories first. That could be a separate activity before or after this one, not necessarily in connection with it. While a more recent standard is the FDA’s “My Plate”, the Food Pyramid is still a classic and the best visual for young children.

Cleaning Water Activity

This activity includes testing the pH of the filtered water with litmus strips. With our children, it will probably be amazing enough just creating the filters and pouring in gray water (made from Italian dressing and tap water) and seeing clean water come out the other side (regardless of pH level). The system is made from an empty 2-liter bottle and 3 of the filtration materials, which include interesting items like aquarium gravel, play sand, activated carbon / activated charcoal, marbles, cotton balls, coffee filters and styrofoam “popcorn”. It is also fascinating that astronauts filter used water including sweat and water they’ve used to shave and shower.



Finding Oral Stories

Tim Sheppard’s Storytelling Resources for Storytellers

This is a site I plan to explore as time goes by. We don’t have to hurry to another one. Children love hearing the same stories over and over. The repetition makes it easier for them to become involved. It is important to tell their favorite stories, so finding a new one isn’t the priority for the child’s education or interest. But it helps the storyteller – variety is a good motivator for the adult. 🙂

Andrew Lang’s Fairy Book series

The Blue Fairy Book (1889),
The Red Fairy Book (1890),
The Green Fairy Book (1892),
The Yellow Fairy Book (1894),
The Pink Fairy Book (1897),
The Grey Fairy Book (1900),
The Violet Fairy Book (1901),
The Crimson Fairy Book (1903),
The Brown Fairy Book (1904),
The Orange Fairy Book (1906),
The Olive Fairy Book (1907), and
The Lilac Fairy Book (1910).


The Importance of Oral Stories

In Classroom L we LOVE telling stories. I (Candice) especially love telling stories with the children. I grew up with bedtime stories, not books: stories from fairy tales, real stories of things that happened to my parents and extended family, and stories we would make up together. When I tell stories with the children, I give the children more input than I grew up with.

I found this awesome article that talks about engaging preschoolers in stories. When I was young my dad involved my sister and I by letting us help tell the story… the “right” way. With our 2 year olds I involve them in making decisions about what will happen. They learn that stories are created and that they can create their own stories. They do this by suggesting components of the story such as what Little Red Riding Hood might bring to Grandma, what the Three Bears might choose to put in their oatmeal, etc.

You can do this at home with traditional oral stories, retelling familiar picture books without the book, and creating your own stories.

Here is a link to a great article from a teacher about how and why they do oral stories in her classroom.

Train Books

Books We Read and Loved

  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
    The kids loved this one, the pictures and the story. We told the story again and again, with and without the book.
  • Freight Train by Donald Crews
    This is a great one, too. Really simple pictures and labels for different kinds of trains and train parts.
  • Trains by Gail Gibbons
    Another great one. We had the board book, with simple pictures and labels.

Other Recommended Books

Books about trains, some of which I haven’t read, and we didn’t read any in class. I found them on recommended on various websites.

  • Two Little Trains
  • Train Song by Diane Siebert
  • Trains – Anne Rockwell
  • The Little Red Caboose – Little Golden Book
  • Inside Freight Train – Donald Crews
  • James and the Balloons
  • Terrific Trains
  • Chugga Chugga Choo Choo – Kevin Lewis
  • I Love Trains – Philemon Sturges
  • Terrific Trains – Tony Mitton
  • The Little Red Caboose – Marian Potter
  • Train Song – Saaf Ziefert
  • Train Whistle – Helen Roney Sattler Trains – Anne Rockwell
  • Two Little Trains – Margaret Wise Brown
  • The Train by David McPhail
  • Train Whistles by Helen Roney Sattler
  • Just Me – Marie H. Ets
  • A Friend Is Someone Who Likes Me – Joan Anglund
  • The Important Book – Margaret Wise Brown
  • Peter’s Chair – Ezra Jack Keats

Thankful Tree

In Lieu of Preschool also posted this idea – a Thankful Tree – that I want to do in our classroom, and I would love for you to do it at home too – seems like something fun to do on Thanksgiving Day with the large group of people getting together – family, friends, whoever. I also like the idea of preserving some of the leaves in some way. We’ll have to see what it progresses into before deciding the best choice for that.


We’ll start the tree tomorrow then add to it over the next few weeks – talking about the additions and counting the leaves as we go along.

Thanksgiving Crafts by Kathy Ross

I found some cool eBooks from the Seattle Public Library. Two books with some fun crafts were by Kathy Ross: Crafts for Thanksgiving (1995) and All New Crafts for Thanksgiving (2005).

Crafts For Thanksgiving  All New Crafts for Thanksgiving

The crafts vary in complexity – the kids will be able to do a lot of some and only a little of the others. Some are for process, and some are for product – things to decorate the classroom or your home with. We may do any or all of the following.

  • Family Photo Dolls
    Felt or paper dolls with family photo faces
  • Soft Sculpture Turkey
    Made from a glove with stuffing and craft feathers
  • Stick Trivet
    Weaving popsicle/craft sticks and felt to weave trivets
  • Sailing Ship Cup
    Plastic cups inside each other twisting to look like the boat is sailing
  • A Moveable Feast
    Setting a table with magazine pics of food
  • Gift of Friends and Family
    An accordion card with pictures on each page


Diwali Curriculum

This week we will incorporate Diwali into our curriculum. Diwali is a Hindu celebration that this year spans from Sunday Nov. 11 through Thursday Nov. 15, with the main day of celebration on Tuesday Nov. 13. We will be celebrating Diwali in our classroom on Tuesday and then discussing it on Wednesday. Monday, Thursday and Friday we will be focusing on our first week of learning about Thanksgiving.

You can find more information about Diwali on other pages on this blog:


  • Children’s daily diaries

Addition to Learning Centers

    • Coloring pages for Diwali
      (additional to white &  colored paper, scissors, crayons, chalk & pencils)
    • Oral stories about Diwali
    • Scarves for saris
    • Colored sand and paper plates
    • Bollywood Pandora station

Daily Curriciulum

Monday – Thanksgiving Curriculum


    • Oral Stories: Diwali – Story of Rama
    • Oral Stories: Diwali – discussion of traditions of celebration
    • Coloring pages: Diwali
    • Dress up: Scarves as saris
    • Indian sweets


    • Oral Stories: Talk about our Diwali experiences (at school and home)
    • Coloring pages: Diwali
    • Dress up: Scarves as saris
    • Indian sweets

Thursday – Thanksgiving Curriculum


    • Favorite stories of the week
    • Coloring pages: Favorites – Thanksgiving/Fall, Diwali, etc.
    • Dress Up: Saris

PDF version