Ruby has a love for the solar system. Space has been her jam for months. I decided to support her interest by turning the dramatic play space under her loft into a space station.
The first thing I did was gather all of our space related play stuff in one spot to look over what we had already been playing with. Then I scoured Pinterest for ideas and looked through all of our stuff again to gather odds and ends that could be turned into something cool. I tossed everything into a large box in the garage so they were all together when inspiration hit. I had this box sitting around for a month or two.
I put a call out to my friends. I asked for anything space/tech related that they were planning on ditching: keyboards, mice, cords, switches, and anything else they might be awesome for a space station. My friends came through in a huge way. My idea was coming together.
This particular dramatic play set up was going to be a Christmas surprise. While I had lots of ideas and a Pinterest board, the actual execution of these ideas was done on Christmas Eve after Ruby went to bed. It took three of us a couple of hours to make everything and set it up. Not bad if I do say so myself.
What did we do in that time?
- We flipped the play kitchen around and covered the back in black contact paper, silver duct tape and washi tape. We used a little hot glue to add the accessories. We used a calculator from the dollar store, an old phone, a muffin tin from the dollar store, a pie tin, some bottle caps, a few old CDs, an old thermostat, some old wires, buttons and circuit board that we got from friends.
- We covered the play table in several layers of aluminum foil to create a space age work station and then covered a box in black contact paper and cut out a hole the size of a pencil box we had on hand and shoved in into the hole for a “moon rock viewing station”. We cut two holes and attached dryer vent tube to dish gloves and attached them together with duct tape. We crumbled up aluminum foil to be our moon rock specimens.
- We hung a string of Christmas lights to set the mood. They became our sparkling stars in space.
- We covered the counter with some shade fabric from our garden. We put an old keyboard, a pair of binoculars from the garage, a plasma ball that was a birthday gift and a few pieces we got from friends to round out a work station.
- We added a star projector night light that was also a birthday present along with some homemade sensory bottles from a May the 4th Be With You Party earlier in the year.
- We covered two empty two liter bottles with foil and secured it with duct tape. The straps were also made with duct tape. We used felt for the flames at the bottom.
- We dug out the astronaut themed dress up clothes and hung them on command hooks.
- A friend took the time to make an amazing planetarium. There is a black light you can click on and look inside to see all sorts of stars glowing.
- We pulled out a fun solar system rug (another amazing birthday gift) to create a defined play area. We hung up two drip pan trays as magnet boards. I printed out some pictures of constellations and added star magnets. This way Ruby could use the images as guides to create constellations or simply create her own.
- We were gifted the most awesome poster of cosmic exploration that really made the space station spectacular.
- Ruby also got the most awesome remote control solar system as a gift. She opened it on Christmas and we knew it needed to be added to her space station ASAP.
The space station has been a hit with lots of little kids and even some of their parents. It was fun to create and in the end it cost under $20 as most items were found around the house or were castaways from friends. I purchased black contact paper, a muffin tray, dish washing gloves and calculator from the dollar store and dryer vent tubing from Home Depot.
I often talk with friends about just diving in and tackling an idea. Sometimes we look on Pinterest and get caught up in what people create that looks like perfection. I like to keep it real. This play space is awesome but it is by no means magazine perfect. The way I look at it is that it is going to get played with a lot. Things could get destroyed and I am going to be a lot less sad if I didn’t pour days into making something look perfect. The whole purpose is for it to get played with and for Ruby to use her imagination and have fun. I would rather do a decent job and have her have a grand time playing than to get hung up on being perfect and not do it at all. So my pictures are not Pinterest perfection, what is perfection is all of the giggles and “BLAST OFF” shouts and fun had with friends. Making fun memories, that is perfection in my book.
Our space station has been out for three months and we will soon be transitioning to a new theme. Stay tuned for another dramatic play space theme that will hopefully inspire a lot more play.
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