Space never really interested me. I mean, I thought stars were pretty and all that, but I always viewed space as this vast black nothingness. And what’s so interesting about nothingness?
But then I began studying it, both in our homeschool and in preparation for a kids’ event at our church. I was blown away, to the point I will never view the wonders of space in the same way.
And I had so much fun decorating with a space theme for our annual kids’ day! Our kids’ day is essentially a one-day VBS filled with songs and skits and lessons along a certain theme. I desperately need to share creative ideas from each of the themes we’ve used over the years, but they’ve ranged from things like a farm theme to a jungle theme to a medieval prince and princess theme.
But for some reason the space theme scared me. I wasn’t sure just how to create a big impact without going so far as to blacken windows and pull out black lights, which would have taken a lot more work than I was ready to tackle.
But I think we pulled it off! We called it, “A Saturday Space Odyssey,” and here are just a few of our ideas…
A placard with one of my favorite scriptures seemed in order, and we made a board using this Solar System bulletin board set, just to add some basic information and sneak in a little reading/learning opportunity as kids came through the door. The inflatable astronauts were a couple of my favorite touches.
Adding stars to the chandeliers seemed like a given.
But this was probably my favorite creation…
Yep. I was pretty proud of my rocket. Is it cute or what?
To make it I just used a 12 x 48-inch form tube. (A form tube is a thick cardboard tube used for molding concrete. You can find them at the big box hardware stores in various sizes for about $10 or less. Just choose the size that works best for you!)
I covered my tube in white bulletin board paper.
Yes, you can use paint, but, trust me here, cardboard can absorb a lot of paint. Usually covering with paper is lots faster and easier.
I’m afraid I don’t have step-by-step pictures for the rest, but I can explain what I did from there. I cut a cone-shape for the top from a piece of red poster board. (Here are some instructions for how to do that. Just remember, the bigger your form, the bigger your paper or poster board will have to be.) Near the bottom I added two stripes with red duct tape…just because. It looks more…rockety with the stripes, don’t you think?
I printed the letters U S A vertically and glued them to the side of my rocket. My wings I cut from cardboard…basically just a rectangle with one corner cut off, but you could make right triangles instead. Again, no painting: I covered them in red duct tape and attached them on the backside with white duct tape.
My rocket blasters? Those are large styrofoam McDonald’s cups! I painted them with silver spray paint and used duct tape to attach three of them inside the form tube. For the exhaust plumes, I hot glued sheets of yellow and orange tissue paper around the insides of the cups.
And voila! I had a rocket!
Suspending it would have been my first choice, but since I’m pretty sure the pastor wouldn’t have appreciated me drilling holes in that lovely vaulted ceiling, instead we propped it up on a tall cocktail table, which was a good height for display in our church’s foyer. By the time I covered the table and some of the space behind my rocket with black plastic tablecloths, then added the black balloons with stars and a few white and silver mylar star balloons, I felt like we had set the scene pretty well for a rocket flying through space.
This was our stage…
Our “fortress”, a.k.a. puppet stage, was a sturdy structure made of plywood and 2 x 4s. The stars and planets were just cutouts we attached with a little tape.
Our memory verse was made of felt cut in simple shapes.
But you’re no doubt wondering about the giant rocket…
It stood over 10 feet tall, which made for some good dramatic effect….
This rocket is actually 3 of these…
55-gallon plastic drums, stacked on top of one another and secured with lots of duct tape. (Obviously duct tape is one of our favorite tools!) My husband bought these for $20 apiece and he says you can usually find them priced somewhere between $15-$30 each. Check out your local Craigslist.
After hubby had constructed our tower of barrels, I covered it with more white bulletin board paper and then the accents were added, just like with the smaller rocket. Of course I added a flag to this one. And keep in mind the cone for the top took multiple red poster boards because it had to be pretty big.
The rocket was positioned over some bricks, leaving some space open so we could place a fog machine beneath it, to help us simulate smoke from a take-off. That part was semi-successful. If you decide to try something like that, make sure to start your fog machine well before you want your smoke to appear: It may not instantaneously produce an ample amount of smoke, so a few practice runs might be a good idea if you want to get your timing just right. We covered the bricks with white poly-fill to look like little plumes of smoke as well.
Our Saturday Space Odyssey was a hit, and not nearly so difficult to decorate for as I had first imagined. There are lots of ready-made items you can purchase, but with a little thought and creativity, you can create BIG impact with relatively little time and effort, and have a BLAST at your space-themed party or event!