Lunar Landscape Sensory Small World Play

Create a sensory, small world play scene to replicate the moon’s surface and provide hours of space imaginative play for your little ones! Using recycled materials and homemade moon dust, it’s easy to set up and can lead to plenty of learning opportunities and creative story-telling too.

Make your own moon dust!
6 cups fine salt
large squirt of liquid black food colouring (or 1/2 tsp gel colouring mixed with few drops water)
2-4 tbsp baby powder or flour
generous sprinkle of silver glitter

We also used this moon dust to practise early writing skills in this previous post.

You also need:
empty egg cartons
tin foil
bubble wrap
a large tray or tub

We lined a large, under-bed storage box (our sensory tub of choice at the moment, from Ikea!) with some sheets of tin foil. Then we stuck down some large egg cartons, some bumpy-side up and some the  right way up, using doubled over sticky tape. In some of the empty areas at the bottom and sides,  we glued down a few pieces of bubble wrap to create some variety in texture.

Then we tipped in the moon dust, making sure it covered all the recycled craters and shiny foil, and added in some moon buggy and space station toys, complete with little astronaut figures! This set had previously belonged to the girls’ boy cousins and is what has prompted a sudden interest in all things “spacey” recently!

The moon dust feels so wonderful and is begging to be raked, sifted and dug into with little hands and the scoop on the moon buggy. They spent a while just feeling it and building mounds of it in the moon craters, then driving the vehicles over the bumpy surfaces and making the little astronauts go for walks. We talked about what they might be doing on the moon and Cakie began to invent stories about collecting rocks and dust samples to send back to Earth for further examination. 
Cakie then declared that she needed aliens as part of her story, so together we found some green pom poms and googly eyes, and she independently created some and added them to the craters to peek out at the astronauts. I love that she added her own ideas to the play and was able to solve the problem of how to make them by herself!

This sensory small world play has proved popular with their friends too, and has been played with for a few weeks now! When we are finished with it, the moon dust will be stored in a glass jar  and used for more sensory writing tray sessions in the future.

Here are 5 great books about space to read with this project!

Learning Links:
fine motor skills, sensory exploration, new vocabulary, language skills, story telling, positional language, creativity, creating art in 3-dimensions, combining materials, creativity, imaginative play

Cakie: 4.2
Pop: 2.7
Bean: 8 mos

See all our sensory tubs ideas here
See all our small world play ideas here

Never miss a play idea again! Sign up to receive new posts in your inbox.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


  1. says

    What a truly brilliant site! And I love the ethos of learning through creativity and play – something very close to my heart as an ex-teacher and home educator of our two lovely children grown and flown now. We did so many creative activities through their years at home which I believe enhances educational achievements enormously, although many parents don’t see that! You can read about our adventures here; but I shall share this site among the home education community as I know many will find it very useful.
    It’s lovely to read here of you enjoying your parenting, as we did. Long may it continue. All the best. x

    • says

      Thanks a lot for such a lovely comment! I’m determined to enjoy as much as I can as I’m sure it passes so quickly! I have huge respect for home-schoolers. I look forward to seeing your blog!
      Thanks, anna

  2. says

    It’s 3am here in Australia and browsing whilst feeding the baby. I’m so excited to find this idea as it’s given me a great activity to do with Mr 4 during nap times later today. Thanks so much! X

  3. says

    I know that this is a family blog and all that but you’re a bloody genius! I was wondering earlier what I could do with a now redundant pirate island cardboard box! I’m repainting it grey with him and turning it into a moon landscape like you say! Pinned, thanks!

  4. says

    Absolutely love this and have spent all night looking around the rest of your blog! So creative and you’ve given me lots of ideas to use in my classroom for the rest of the year!
    Keep up the good work!