In a Bonus Room Far Far Away…

‘M’ is for Mars! We are taking our cues from the  Mars Curiosity Rover and spending the rest of August exploring Space! The images and information coming from the Red Planet will play a big part (Twitter handle @MarsCuriosity .) NASA does a fantastic job explaining their work in terms that I understand and Crowley gets excited about! Outer Space here we come!

We’ll use books, art, sensory activities, math and science to explore the “Final Frontier.” Our journey begins in the Adventure Room (which is what I’ve named that… ummm… awkward bit of architecture called a bonus room.) Our ocean and beach simply need a night sky, so here we go!

We are making a crayon-resist mural. This is a super fun way to bring the heavens to life. Whether you do this on an 8 x 11 inch sheet of paper or 18 feet of contractor’s rosin paper, the effect is the same: fun for the whole family and a wonderous moment for your little one. One of my boys is three and he loved this project but it’s suitable for children of all ages. You can make it as complex or as simple as you wish.

We are making ours large enough to run the entire length of the adventure room to set the stage for our weeks-long adventure through the solar system.

YouTube provides plenty of visuals of comets, planets, stars, etc. I had my iPhone on hand while we populated our mural with stars.

Reading The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen also helps connect our art project to what’s actually happening in outer space. Netflix also has the companion DVD to the book, which we will watch this week. C. LOVES these Magic School Bus DVDs!

Let’s get started!


  1. Crayons
  2. Paper (you can make this project as small or as big as you like – we used contractor’s paper so that we could make ours run the length of the room.)
  3. Black tempera paint (washable and non-toxic) cut with water. We went with 1 to 1 ration
  4. Paint Brushes or sponges
  5. Paper towels

INSTRUCTIONS: (you can do this in a day or over a period of a week or longer – whatever works for your schedule and your pumpkin’s attention span)

STEP ONE: Fill your paper with stars, planets, meteorites, comets and don’t forget the moon.

For Crowley, we also added many “Space” words to help with letter and word recognition. We also added the Italian words in many cases. NOTE: The harder you press with your crayon and the more densely you fill in the object, the better your planets/stars/moon will resist the black paint later on.

STEP TWO: Paint your paper with the black paint. C has never used or seen the crayon resist technique so we took the time to ask him what he thought would happen when we covered our crayon drawings with black paint. He, of course, was certain the black would cover every star and planet completely. Having this conversation created a moment for him when the crayon repelled the paint and became even more vibrant. It was like a magic trick in his eyes. This was the best part for his dad and me!

STEP THREE: Use a paper towel and wipe it across the drawing or mural to sop up excess paint.

STEP FOUR: Let dry!

STEP FIVE: Hang it (we used blue painter tape to attach the mural to the wall and covered that up with black gorilla tape. This will make it easy to take down without damaging paint on the walls.)

Wonder if all of this is capturing Baby Q’s imagination, too?

You are done! Fun! Fun! Fun!

TODDLER TAKE AWAYS: Creative exploration of the Universe, support in letter and recognition, vocabulary expansion, foundations for science and technology.

Back tomorrow with more tales of our Galactic Journey!


P.S. I’m searching high and low for great Space books that have strong and engaging story telling as opposed to just plethora of factoids. Do you have any favorites?

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