One way to prompt conversations between a child and their grown-up during your craft time is to include some written questions as part of the project materials. For example, if you are handing out a coloring sheet, can you write in an open-ended question or two before you photocopy it?
This very simple rocket craft adds an “outer space” coloring sheet with a couple of prompts for the grown-ups to read as the children play.
First, the rockets!
Start with a toilet paper tube for each child. On one end, make two slits opposite each other, about ¾” long. At the other end, make two more slits opposite each other, about 1 ½”.
Make the slits at 90 degree angles from each other: In other words, if the slits at the top were are at “North” and “South” on an imaginary compass, then make the bottom slits at “East” and “West.”
Cut construction paper in a variety of colors in 3” squares. Set out the toilet paper tubes, the colored squares, and some crayons.
To make the rockets, children can decorate the tubes with their crayons. Then fold the squares into triangles, and push them into the slits at the top and bottom of the rocket. The rocket will stand up by itself on its bottom “fins.”
While the children are working on the rockets, you can hand out the outer space coloring sheet. Remind the parents that when they ask their child open-ended questions while they play together, their child has an opportunity to practice their thinking skills and reinforce their growing vocabularies. Tell the grownups you’ve included a couple of sample questions on the coloring sheet.
Can you land your rocket on a star?
Can you land your rocket on the moon?
Where is your rocket going to fly next?
What will it find there?
When the children are done with the rockets, they may color the moon and stars, then use their drawing as part of their play.
How Is This Craft Literacy-Based?
Children who have an understanding of how stories work have an easier time making sense of the stories they encounter as beginning readers. Children who understand what they read are more motivated to keep reading! Before children become readers, they can practice telling their own very short stories using simple toys such as tea sets, toy cars, and stuffed animals as props and characters.