‘Space’ was one of my favourite topics to teach, but I’ve not really touched on it with the boys, wanting to wait until they were old enough to do it justice.


  • Zip lock food bag
  • Black paint
  • Dried pasta
  • Rice
  • Black beans
  • Goldfish bowl
  • Glow in the dark planets and stars with magnets stuck on the back with sticky tape
  • Large magnet with a picture of the Sun stuck on the front
  • Non-fiction books about Space
  • A Place For Pluto by Stef Wade and Melanie Demmer
  • Lego space shuttle


Finn made a ‘Space bowl’ by dyeing pasta and rice black. He did this by pouring rice in to a zip-lock bag, squirting paint in, sealing the bag and then (his favourite bit) mixing it together.

Once all the pasta was covered, we spread it out on a baking tray (lined with scrap paper) to dry.

He then repeated the process (in the same bag) with the rice.

We left the pasta and rice to dry for a few hours, mixing it every now and again to stop it all sticking together. Then Finn layered it in to his ‘Space bowl’, along with some black beans.

He enjoyed running his fingers through it all, feeling the different textures, so I let him play for a bit. Then he hid some glow in the dark planets and stars in the bowl.

Meanwhile Ioan made a space shuttle out of Lego, then enjoyed flying it around the room.

The boys helped me set up the tuff tray. We made a Sun from bottle lids, formula scoops and some Grapat loose parts. We ordered the planets and talked about the scale of them all.

We linked it with ‘A Place for Pluto’, one of Finns favourite books, which is about the declassification of Pluto as a planet. He likes acting the book out with the drawing he’s done.

Once the tray was ready, we stuck a picture of the Sun on to the large magnet.

We talked about the Sun’s gravitational pull, using the magnets to pull planets out of the bowl.

We finished off by looking at some non-fiction books about Space.

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)

Communication and language

ELG 03 – Speaking:

Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Understanding the world

ELG 14 – The world:

Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another.

Expressive arts and design

ELG 17 – Being imaginative:

Children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.