Constellation Map Art for Kids – Goes with Mystery Science “Spaceship Earth” Unit

Constellation Star Maps - Kids Astronomy Science Activity

In the class that I work in, we use and love Mystery Science. If you have not heard of it, check it out! It’s super engaging and the kids love it so much more than learning from a textbook. I believe you can still get one free year of membership.

Each lesson (mystery) is set up with an “exploration” – usually a combination of video, pictures, and discussion questions. Followed by that is an activity – a fun, hands-on small project that the kids complete individually or in groups. Some activities require supplies that need to be purchased ahead of time, but usually they are inexpensive household items.

Following the activity, there is always a list of extras, including an assessment – usually 3-5 questions that check for understanding.

Here is what the beginning of each lesson looks like:

Mystery Science Spaceship Earth Unit

As amazing as Mystery Science is though, there aren’t enough mysteries to get through the whole year. We try stretch the lessons out by sprinkling in a few fun projects or activities to go with each unit. (And I always try to create a related reading list on Epic!)

We’re currently working through the “Spaceship Earth” unit of 5th grade science. It’s all about astronomy – the sun, stars, constellations, seasons, etc.

For a quick activity in between mysteries, the kids made these cute constellation maps to hang on the wall.

Constellation Star Map Art Project

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We put a list of constellations on the board and each student chose one to work with. I put my sample up on the board then turned them loose with half a sheet of black card stock, some gold star stickers, a white colored pencil, and a ruler.

They looked up their constellations on their computers, drew out the shape of it with their ruler and white pencil, then stuck the star stickers on. The constellation names were written on the front with the white pencil.

A simple, fun activity for any kid old enough to handle a ruler!

Does anybody else use Mystery Science? What kinds of activities do you use to go along with it?

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Mini Scrapbook Using Project Life Cards

Here is a quick and cute way to use Project Life cards to make a mini scrapbook.

I love all the pretty Project Life kits that are available and have a hard time resisting when I see them in the craft store, especially if they are on sale. Sadly, I don’t have much patience for making big fancy scrapbooks with lots of photos and journaling.

My favorite way to use up these cute, patterned cards is to make a mini scrapbook bound by a simple metal ring. This one features a few pictures of my cat when she was a kitten, made with 4″x 4″ photo prints ordered from Printiki.

I like this style because I can keep adding to it as I get more pictures. All I did for most of the pictures was to tape them down with washi tape and write the date on the paper or directly on the photo.

I put her name on the cover page with metallic cardboard letters from the dollar section at Target.

Quick and easy mini photo album using Project Life cards

easy scrapbook with project life cards

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Easy Jumbo Felted Wool Ball Cat Toy DIY

DIY Felted Wool Cat Toy

DIY Felted Wool Cat Toy

Here is a tutorial for a homemade cat toy that my cat absolutely loves. It’s simple to make, cheap, and durable (to withstand those vicious attacks!). The idea came from some wool dryer balls that I made a few years ago – once kitty found them….I think it’s needless to say they belong to her now. But I wanted one jumbo one that she could really sink her teeth and claws into, so I made a new one just for her.

All you really need is 100% wool yarn in any color. I used Patons Classic Wool in “New Denim.” I also had some of these lattice-style jingle balls laying around that don’t get a lot of play on their own so I used one as the core, but it’s not necessary.

All you really need to do is start wrapping the yarn around the ball, every which way, until it’s covered. Don’t worry about it being uneven or lumpy, it will smooth out pretty well on its own. Keep wrapping, and wrapping, and wrapping until all the yarn is gone. (Preferably do this while your cat is in a very deep sleep in a far corner of the house, or she will make it a lot more complicated.)

Wool Ball Cat Toy DIY

Tuck the end of the yarn under somewhere to secure it. I wrapped with a couple of rubber bands just to make sure everything would stay tight.

Next, it’s going to go in the washing machine, so stick it inside an old nylon sock or pantyhose. I didn’t have either, so I used my mesh laundry bag and secured the top with a rubber band.

Throw it in the washer with a load of laundry and wash on hot (I put mine in with a load of towels). The hot water, detergent, and friction in the washer will work its magic and felt the ball into one solid piece so it won’t come unraveled.

Remove the rubber bands if you used them, and run the ball through the dryer with the rest of the laundry. It should come out fairly smooth and sturdy, but if it seems like it needs more help, run it through the laundry a second time.

That’s it! You can rub a little catnip on it to get your cat’s attention. I like it because it’s big enough to bite and kick at the same time – and my cat loves to kick!

Here are some other items my cat wishes she had, or already has and loves!

cat toys - cat products

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  1. *Mad Scientist Toy for Cats – I think it would be super entertaining to watch my cat figure this one out – anything for a treat!
  2. *Our Pets Play-N-Treat Ball – I have these and my cat loves pushing them all over the house with her nose until the treats come out – we use it almost every day.
  3. *SmartCat Peek-a-Prize Toy Box – It’s like a puzzle for cats! I think my cat would love trying to fish all the different toys out of the box.
  4. *Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy – I think this will be the next one I get – simple, but entertaining (and it has good reviews).
  5. *TRIXIE Pet Products Parla Scratching Post – We have this also and it has been great – it can really take a beating and doesn’t tip over easily (plus the price can’t be beat!)
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