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Cardboard Box Planetarium

What is it about a cardboard box? Kids love to be inside them and it’s good for them! Large boxes encourage physical play, climbing in and out. It feels good to put their bodies inside the space and they are learning about spatial awareness. Children don’t even have to make them into anything, large empty cardboard boxes naturally lend themselves to pretend play. I’m always amazed at what people come up with for creative ideas for cardboard boxes. Boxes are like an empty canvas – you can create anything with a little imagination! The idea to create a cardboard box planetarium came from Experience Preschool’s STEAM Stations in Space & Sky curriculum (March 2021). . Try our DIY Glittery Ombre Galaxy Jars and Create Your Own Constellations Art!

Cardboard Box Planetarium

What Children Learn From Cardboard Boxes

Create a Cardboard Box Planetarium

The original idea was to put a sheet or blanket over a table and string lights underneath it.

Child looking at lights and stars in black Cardboard Box Planetarium.

I’ve been saving this big sturdy box for a while now, waiting for a cool idea.

Cardboard Box Planetarium dramatic play space for young children.

The Planetarium Dramatic Play STEAM Station was fun to make and fun to play in! 

Here’s how I made it:

⭐ Spray painted the inside of a large box black.
⭐ Painted yellow and white stars with a cookie cutter dipped in tempera paint.
⭐ Strung two sets of lights across the top and taped them down with black masking tape. One set of Lights is a set of blinking stars and the other are fairy lights. The battery packs are taped with packing tape on top of the box.
⭐ Draped a piece of black fabric across the front to make it dark on the inside even in the daytime.
⭐ Added a constellation photo and Big Question poster that asks, “What do you wish upon a star?”

This took about 1/2 hour to make tops. You may prefer to let your children decorate the box themselves. This in itself is a great activity. They can paint the box (outside might be a good idea) and stamp the stars or add star-cut-out shapes. Use what you have! This is how great ideas come about – being creative with what you already have on hand.

I hoped my group would be excited and use their imagination when they looked at the stars. They were so excited to show their parents when they arrived and it’s the first place they head when they arrive in the morning.

Inside of Cardboard Box Planetarium

The box is actually holding up well to play! I think it just depends on the strength of the box and of course how careful kids will be in it.

Star string lights in Cardboard Box Planetarium

I used battery-operated string lights so they don’t have to be plugged in. The little star lights are adorable and add to the fun.

Inside of Cardboard Box Planetarium

For the cost of a can of spray paint and two strings of lights, we have a fun place to play while we learn about Space & Sky.

More Space Activities

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I received curriculum from Experience Early Learning for honest and authentic stories resulting from my daily experiences using the curriculum. As a user of Experience Preschool for many years, I am pleased to share quality educational experiences. #sponsored #ExperienceEarlyLearning