As I said earlier, on Thursday we had an Astronaut Day, inspired by the fact that lately Iona has been very keen to go in a rocket. I told her she had to be fit to do that, so at least once a day now she runs around or does other "exercises" and says she's getting fit "so they let me in the rocket!". I didn't do as much preparation as I might have, but she seemed to enjoy the day. I encouraged her to dress in a pair of grey jogging trousers and a blue fleece, to look a little like an astronaut's casual wear. She had a croissant for breakfast, and I reminded her that she wouldn't be able to have that in a rocket, as the crumbs would float around due to the lack of gravity, and might break the rocket. After breakfast I went on the computer and found some NASA and European Space Agency logos, then made Iona some badges (using our printer, a laminator and some safety pins) and an ID badge:
While on the ESA site I let Iona have a look around, and there was a fun animation about a day in the life of an astronaut. We strapped ourselves into our imaginary rocket, ran through the safety checks, then counted down. I asked Iona where she'd like to go, and she chose Mars. When we "landed" I described how it was cold, and that the ground was red, then asked her what she could see. We practised a floaty, low gravity way of walking, and talked a bit more about space. She then said she wanted to go to the planet Crayon, which was what she had called the planet she'd decorated in her Charlie and Lola magazine earlier in the week, so we got back in our "rocket" and took off once more, to go there. Once there, she wanted me to be an alien, so I decided to talk only in alien bleeps and bloops and see if she was able to communicate with me. Surprisingly, with only a bit of sign language, she worked out that I was telling her to eat the imaginary biscuit she had asked me for, and was making significant attempts to understand my alien language. This was such a popular activity that several times yesterday and today I was also asked to be an alien, but I found it surprisingly hard work to keep up the bleeping!
In addition to our play-acting, Iona drew a picture of an astronaut, or "space lady", complete with helmet (and big hair!):
I also found a colouring picture of a female astronaut which I printed out for Iona, but she didn't show any inclination to colour it. I found some information about Yuri Gagarin, Valentina Tereshkova (the first woman in space), Christa McAuliffe (the first teacher in space, well nearly), and Helen Sharman (the first Briton in space) told Iona about them, printed out their photos and added them to her timeline. We read through "I'm Going to Be the Best Astronaut Ever", "Extreme Jobs: Astronauts" (well, selected highlights of it, as it's far too old for her), and Letterland's "Annie Apple's Adventure", which coincidentally includes an astronaut and a trip into space. The latter book was very popular, and she has asked for it to be read a couple of times since. It features lots of "a" words and has a good story line, rather than being driven solely by phonics.
By the end of the day we were both glad to come back down to Earth, although Iona still shows no sign of diminished enthusiasm for being an astronaut!