Help children learn as they play by sharing a story and building on it with a fun activity
Meet Cosmic Surfer, a super-stylish spacecraft designed and built by graphic artist Daniel Weatheritt. Cosmic Surfer is the star of Daniel's latest junk modelling project for children – there’s a link for downloading instructions on how to make it later in this blog, if you’d like to have a go!
Daniel is a graphic artist who enjoys building beautiful and surprising objects from the most ordinary things, and his studio is a treasure-trove of mechanical oddments and found objects just waiting to be re-purposed.
For this project, Daniel used readily-available household materials including juice cartons and eggboxes together with basic crafting materials like paint and glue, and his detailed step-by-step instructions (see link below) make it easy for you to construct your own models and share some imaginary space-themed fun.
And once you've built your Cosmic Surfer, why not send us a photo or tell us about your adventures in Outer Space? We'd love to hear from you!
You can contact us at Cast of Thousands HERE
The Cosmic Surfer resource pack is free to download and includes games and learning activities, plus a great selection of books to help you make the most of your modelmaking adventures - click here to download your free Cosmic Surfer pdf resource pack You can also view the resource pack and modelmaking instructions by clicking on Creative Workshops at danielweatheritt.com HERE
Suggested age range 4-9 years
Watch out - a fleet of UFOs piloted by the grisliest, most wildly-tentacled aliens you’ve ever seen is heading straight for Planet Earth! Their Admiral is planning an invasion – until he sees something REALLY scary. Who’d have thought a school photo could save the world?
This rhyming poem is illustrated in bold, humorous style and makes a great read-aloud.Which alien is the funniest? The scariest? Give them names. Where have they come from?
Look Up! by Nathan Bryon, illustrated by Dapo Adeola, published by Puffin
Suggested age range 4-7 years
The Phoenix Meteor Shower gives Rocket an opportunity to share her knowledge with neighbours in the local park. Big brother Jamal is told to mind her, but he isn’t keen. What will Rocket do if the meteors don’t appear? And will Jamal stop looking at his phone for long enough to see the wonders up above?
Strong characterisation and bags of energy drive this entertaining story, with ‘added facts’ from the irrepressible Rocket throughout.Be an astronomer like Rocket and observe the night sky.
Franky by Leo Timmers, published by Gecko Press
Stylish artwork, minimal text and lots of intriguing details encourage observation and imaginative thinking in this appealing picturebook.Design and build your own junk robot, Franky-style.
Toys in Space by Mini Grey, published by Random House
Humour and emotional depth extend the age appeal of this graphic novel-style picturebook, and there are plenty of details to explore.Which toys will you beam up into your Cosmic Surfer? What will happen once they’re on board? Draw and write their story.
Suggested age range 5-9
An exciting school trip turns into a rescue mission when one child wanders off. The Moon-creatures are very pleased, though, because crayons are involved. And no-one can resist the chance to decorate a rock!
Fun to share and bursting with curiosity and kindness, this book makes a great starting point for discussion and activities.Make your own Moon aliens from plasticine or clay.
How to Be on the Moon by Viviane Schwarz, published by Walker Books
Funny and uplifting, this beautifully written book has illustrations that fire the imagination and touch the heart.Build a rocket from the biggest cardboard box you can find. Where will it take you? Don’t forget to pack your sandwiches!
Lights on Cotton Rock by David Litchfield, published by Frances Lincoln
This bittersweet story is told in pictures with a strong supporting text and will engage older as well as younger readers.How would you communicate with aliens? Draw a picture that tells your visitors what they need to know.
Space Kids: An Introduction for Young Explorers by Andrea de Santis and Steve Parker, published by Little Gestalten
Create a playspace (under a table, behind a sofa...) and furnish with the equipment you need to pilot your Cosmic Surfer: a captain’s chair, a command deck made from a cardboard box, levers to operate your engines, a viewing screen….
Enlist your toys as crew. What will happen as you surf through space? When you’ve finished, snuggle up on cushions and read space-stories to your toys!
Observe the night sky and learn about stars and constellations. Draw maps to record your Cosmic Surfer missions and add notes explaining where you went and what happened.
Look at photos of distant galaxies and planets, nebulae and comets. Mix watercolours, oil pastels, chalks and other media to explore interstellar art effects, then use to create a space mobile. Fly Cosmic Surfer through your mobile and imagine you’re on a mission!
Move as though you’re weightless like an astronaut. Then match your movements to some starry music to create a cosmic dance.
Use a marker to draw your Cosmic Surfer on a Frisbee. How far will it fly? Chase it!
Draw planets grid-style on a flooring offcut or large piece of card - scaled so kids can stand on one planet and reach the others if they stretch! Colour and use as a PE challenge – can you stand on a green planet and touch a blue one with your left hand? Or label with exciting space-words, and use in a Cosmic Surfer-inspired story as you jump from one planet to the next...
What kind of aliens will your Cosmic Surfer encounter on its next mission? Draw your ideas, then model your favourite using plasticine or craft materials. How does your alien move? Talk? Behave? Can you dress up like your alien?
What happens when Cosmic Surfer makes contact with your alien? Pretend you’re a journalist and present a news report.
Transform a cardboard box into an Outer Space diorama, using paint, foil and other materials to create an interstellar or alien world backdrop. Hang your Cosmic Surfer from the top of your box using dark thread (or place it on the base) and take photos. Use a table lamp or torch to create exciting effects!
Draw a labelled diagram of your Cosmic Surfer. Invent some extra features – telescopes? shuttle pods?- and add them to your diagram. How is your Surfer powered and maintained? Write and illustrate a technical manual for your crew.
Click HERE to download your free Cosmic Surfer pdf resource pack
You'll find these titles on our Exploring Outer Space with the Cosmic Surfer booklist - to view it click HERE
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