Space. Not the kind between the ears, but what’s beyond the earth’s hemisphere. There is a beauty in this vast, relatively unknown universe! It fascinates us, sometimes frightens us, and best of all – delights our imagination. I know of few children who aren’t captivated by the subject of space exploration at some point in their young lives. Some of us hold on to the magic of the galaxy and are fascinated by the mystery of it long after we were “forced” to study the constellations. We continue to wonder and to dream (and to watch Star Trek . . . but I digress!).
Now, my son is two and he has just recently noticed that airplanes go way up high and that there are such things are rockets. Therefore, I’ve begun my mother’s quests to find good, solid reading materials which will help answer some of his questions and satisfy his curiosity while sparking his imagination. There is a lot to choose from out there and these are just a few of the things I’ve managed to gather up.
First, of course, I looked into Usborne books because who doesn’t check there first?! They are an amazing educational book company with much to offer. On the subject of space, they aren’t exactly lacking in book materials. I browsed through a few of their titles including First Guide to the Universe. It’s still above my toddler’s head but it’s a basic start with pictures for us to learn how to identify things like astronauts and space suits, and planets. This is a handy little tool and a good “first” book with a lot of basic information on earth, rockets and space flight, sun, moon and stars, etc.
For older readers, they offer more indepth studies in two of their books which also feature internet links which are helpful if your child wishes to explore more about any given subject. I browsed through The Usborne Internet-Linked Book of Astronomy and Space and The Usborne First Encyclopedia of Space. Both are geared for kids ages 8 and up, I would say. The Astronomy book does an especially good job of detailing information on planets and the solar system. There are plenty of illustrations and real pictures to hold a young reader’s attention. The nice thing about Usbourne Internet-Linked books is that they send you to an Usborne website link where they keep an update listing of sites on the web that offer additional information. Therefore these Internet-Linked books will never become outdated as they point to a site that is kept modernized (for lack of a better word). I really liked that particular feature of these books.
Ok, then off the subjects of books momentarily, to help drive the point home for my boy, I was looking for a unique space shuttle and airplane set that would allow him some pretend play time. I came across the Mary Meyer Corporation which I’ve talked about over at Reading to Know a little. I’m a big fan of using puppets to inspire reading and learning. Mary Meyer has this awesome Night Flight set that comes with a landing strip, a rocket and an airplane. Kids can roll their rocket down the lit runway and it makes a take off noise. This has been a huge hit in our house. It’s a roll up runway and can take up a smallish strip of space, but it stores compactly and makes for very fun imaginative play when reading about these magnificent flying machines.
Update as of 6/20/09 – The Night Flight set is no longer available through Mary Meyer, but you can still purchase the set on Amazon.com.
Now best yet – I’m going to give away a Night Flight set over at Reading to Know, along with some other fun space related play items. If you want to learn about some additional books on flight which I have found recently, as well as to win the Night Flight set and another surprise treat, visit Reading to Know. I’ll see you over there.
Carrie comes by her book obsession honestly, having descended from a long line of bibliophiles. She blogs about books regularly at Reading to Know.
Michelle Nations says
Another great Usborne book is the See Inside Space (Internet Referenced) board book with durable flaps that invite inquisitiveness. Children want to learn more because of the intriguing layout of the books. They want to see what lies beneath the flaps. We love all the See Inside books at our house!!