Sail Into Space

Books to Share

  • Dogs in Space by Nancy Coffelt.
  • Hush, Little Alien by Daniel Kirk.
  • Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle.
  • On The Launch Pad: A Counting Book about Rockets by Michael Dahl.
  • Zoom! Zoom! I’m Off to the Moon by Dan Yaccarino.

Books to Show or Booktalk

  • Astronaut PiggyWiggy by Christyan Fox.
  • I Want to be an Astronaut by Bryon Barton.
  • I’ll Catch the Moon by Nina Crews.
  • Looking Down by Steve Jenkins.
  • Man on the Moon by Anastasia Suen.

Bulletin Board

Be a Shooting Star...Read!

Cover the bulletin board with dark blue or black kraft paper. Create a space scene with rockets, stars, comets, planets and floating aliens. Have astronauts floating in space while reading a book or sitting in a rocket ship reading.


Roaring Rockets

Draw a simple rocket pattern or use a rocket die-cut. Punch a hole in the point of the rocket and string a piece of yarn through so the children can wear the nametags. As a follow-up activity, the children can take off the rocket necklace and hold onto the string to fly the rocket to music or a poem during storytime.


Blast Off With Books!

Display books, videos, DVDs, and musical recordings about space, aliens, and space travel in front of a tri-fold poster board. Display pictures of the eight planets, showing their sizes and orbits around the sun.


What the Astronauts Drink!

Serve Tang™ in small plastic cups. Tell the children that Tang™ was taken into space by the Gemini 4 astronauts in 1965.


Blast Off!

(Traditional, adapted by Debbie Brightwell Brown. Sing to the tune of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Suit actions to words as you recite rhyme.)

Climb aboard the rocket ship,

We are going to the moon.

Hurry, hurry and get ready,

We will blast off very soon.

Put on your space gear,

And buckle up real tight.

Here comes the countdown.

Let’s countdown, with all our might!

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!

Blast off!

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

(Traditional. Suit actions to words or pass out plastic fluorescent stars. Dim the light so that the stars glow as you are singing. ‘Glow-in-the-Dark’ stars can be purchased online from The Explora Store, and other craft stores.)

Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

How I wonder what you are?

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

How I wonder what you are?

Audio Recordings

“Rocket Ship Man” on Blast Off! by Ben Rudnick.

Flannel Boards

Five Little Astronauts

(By Debbie Brightwell Brown. Use the pattern provided to cut out five astronauts from felt, fun foam, or paper. Place all five on the flannel board and remove one at a time as you recite the rhyme.)

Five brave astronauts flew out into space.

The first one said ‘we should have a race!’

The second one was tired and went to take a nap.

The third one went to make the rockets go zap!

The fourth one said it was time to countdown ten to zero.

The fifth one landed safely back home, like a hero.

five little astronauts


Easy Flying Saucers


  • Paper plates, uncoated white
  • Staples
  • Crayons or markers


Have each child color or decorate the bottoms of two uncoated white paper plates with crayons or markers. Help the children staple the two plates together, top-to-top. Now the flying saucers are ready to fly.

Glow in the Dark Pictures


  • Black construction paper
  • Glow-in-the-dark paint tubes or pens
  • Pencils


Give each child a half-sheet of black construction paper. Use the pencils to draw a picture of outer space with planets, stars, and rocket ships. Use tubes of glow-in-the-dark paint to trace over the pencil lines. Parents may need to help younger preschool children. Dim the lights for the children to look at their pictures. Glow in the dark paint pens are available from craft supply stores or online from Star Magic, Be sure to check that the paint is non-toxic. Also, most paint will need to charge in the light for a few minutes before it will glow in the dark.

Games and Activities

Planet Spin

Let the children stand in a circle. Place a large yellow ball or paper sun in the center. Tell the children that the planets spin and revolve around the sun. Tell them that they will be pretending to be planets by spinning in a circle going around the sun while the group sings the “Spinning Song.”  Repeat the song several times until you are all tired of spinning.

Spinning Song

(Traditional. Sing to the tune of “Ants Go Marching.” For older children, use this song to help them learn the planets by substituting each planet name as you repeat the song.)

The planets revolve around the sun.

Hurrah! Hurrah!

The planets revolve around the sun.

Hurrah! Hurrah!

The planets revolve around the sun,

And spin on their axis, every one.

And we’ll all go spinning,

Around and around!

Guest Speakers

Invite a science teacher or astronomer to tell the children about space, space travel, or to do simple science experiments involving space.


If you have public performance rights, show these videos and DVDs, or segments of them, to the children. Otherwise, display them for home use. Times are indicated for the entire film.

Stars! Stars! Stars! (11 minutes)

Web Sites

Space Kids U.S.

This site provides information and photos about the planets and the moon, comets, stars, black holes, space travel, and astronauts.

NASA For Kids

This site provides online games, coloring pages, space slide shows and videos, science experiments, puzzles, and crafts.

Professional Resources

The Explora Store

This commercial site provides the user with a wide variety of science items to purchase such as science and construction kits, puzzles, toys, magnets, etc. for parents, teachers, and children.

Star Magic

This online store sells space age gifts and items, including glow in the dark paints.


Texas Reading Club 2007 Programming Manual / Sail Away with Books!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011