As many of you know, I am very passionate about incorporating children’s storybook into learning activities. If you take that same love and passion for books and tie it in with my daughter’s love of animals and my son’s love of space then you will have a perfect fit worthy of a Cinderella glass slipper moment. When we were at the library recently we stumbled across the storybook Mousetronaut by Astronaut Mark Kelley. This book not only holds a wonderfully “partially true” story about a mouse going into space; but it also has a fantastic afterword section of the book written by the author astronaut Mark Kelley.
Space anything is sure to be a hit in our household, but I wanted to make a fun hands-on sensory bin game for my kids to play to help focus in on key space facts shared in the book and reading comprehension questions from the storybook. This sensory bin was inspired by the book Mousetronaut by Astronaut Mark Kelley. This adorable storybook follows along with the tiny mouse Meteor on his first space mission where he proves to his fellow mice that bigger does not always mean better. There are two sensory bin game variations that I have created since I feel that the main story line would be perfect for any child, but the afterword section, which is a must read, is so jammed packed with important facts that it may be better suited for grades 3rd and up.
To create this sensory bin you will need the following space themed materials:
- Sensory bin (HERE is the one that we use since it is compact and easy to store)
- Bubble wrap cut to fit your sensory bin (which will become your game board)
- A miscellaneous key (which is a key element from the story)
- A toy mouse (we only had a rat from our Ratatouille play set lying around so that is what we used)
- Space TOOB
- Space Playset
- Handwritten or typed game pieces
First, grab your bubble wrap and trim it to fit your sensory bin. I wanted this element to give a sensory experience to the child playing the game by having the plastic creaking noise that your child will experience when moving their playing piece or touching the “game board”. Although the small bubble wrap is pictured above the kids found that the larger bubble wrap air pockets are better and make the game more fun to play. My son is extremely sensitive to loud noises; however, so he used the small air pocket bubble wrap while my daughter used the larger air pocket bubble wrap. They both loved the puffy texture and compared the bubble wrap to walking on the moon.
Next, you will need to make a free handed “Life Off!” piece. I made mine out of an index card cut into a start shape and then highlighted the outside of the shape to make it look like what a child would visualize a blast off to be. Then you will need to type out, print or hand write the question pieces. Here are my question recommendations for the two different versions of the game and what we used:
Game 1 (under 3rd grade):
- What are your curious to find out about in this book?
- Why did the other mice think Meteor would not be selected?
- Describe the setting of the story.
- What were some of the problems the crew encountered?
- Describe how Meteor changed throughout the book.
- What part did you like most about this book? Why?
Game 2 (3rd grade and above):
- What parts of this story are based on true real life events?
- What is zero gravity?
- Who were the earliest space travelers?
- Tell me about Sputnik.
- What President committed to have a man on the moon?
- What did the plaque say that was placed on the moon?
- Name 5 space shuttles.
- Why is space travel not for the fainthearted?
- Tell me about Ham.
Once your have your question pieces completed scatter them throughout the sensory bin. Each question will represent one space to move forward with the ultimate goal being the lift off button. Then, decorate the rest of the sensory bin with space pieces and a key. Using the mouse toy as their playing piece, ask each question and allow them time to discuss their answers. When you child has completed all of the questions have them jump onto the lift off piece and push down for a surprise life off noise “Pop!”
Allow your child some free time to explore the different textures and sounds that can be found in this sensory bin once they have completed the game
If you like this storybook activity then please be sure to check out all of the other storybook activities here on Enchanted Homeschooling Mom. Then you can follow along with the FREE monthly virtual book club for kids of all ages with the Poppins Book Nook!
Clip art used in images found in this post by: