Fly Me To The Moon


One wet Saturday afternoon in Scotland, several years ago, my four year-old grandson and I  spent the morning exploring the towpath on the Polwarth canal bank in Edinburgh.  I was ‘baby sitting’ while my son and his wife took a much needed over night break . Undeterred by the weather, Fin and I shared an easy lunch of  yesterday’s lasagne and  went into the living room to play. The previous day, on my arrival, Fin had asked if we could make a rocket to go to the moon and having talked about the requirements, we went in search of  the basic framework for the craft.  Eventually, we found two wicker basket chairs in a bedroom and with difficulty, carried them downstairs .  I tipped them towards each other, which left a seating space in the middle for the self-selected astronaut.  Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Fin had found an empty giant packet of soap powder to cut up to make fins and a control panel. Unfortunately,  when carrying the box into the room, he had powdered the carpet with the remains of its contents… it looks like ‘moon dust’, I said . Relieved by my positive response , he went in search of scissors.  I  followed his instruction to cellotape flat pieces of card to cover gaping holes in the side of the craft.  We folded cardboard to provide a control panel and Fin drew three circles to represent the dials before cellotaping it in place.

feather-dusterAn engine with pretend flames was required for take off and Fin went in search of a suitable container. He returned, dragging the aluminium bin from his bedroom, containing his dressing up clothes and tipped the contents onto the carpet.  We turned the bin onto its side and put it in place at the back of the rocket. Together, we looked for items to represent heat and flames. Fin found a pink feather duster in the hall cupboard which he said was ‘Daddy’s and special’ (I made no comment……) also a red anorak and an orange scarf.  Now for the nose cone, requiring more cardboard and silver paper to cover, protect and insulate it for the hot and hazardous return journey.  We raided a bag of used wrapping paper, which provided the silver paper we needed.

Fin carefully cut out eight cardboard fins which, with help, he cellotaped in pairs to the outer body of the rocket,  saying they would make the rocket go faster.  Point taken!


As ‘lift off’ approached, we spent several frustrating minutes searching for his other wellington boot with the skull and cross bones on the toe to wear for the moon landing. The lost boot was eventually found and our brave astronaut carefully climbed into his fragile craft.  There was limited space in the seating area and as he had tactfully told me that morning that I was his ‘widest Granny’,  I was obviously not accompanying him on this trip.  We made appropriate take off noises and within seconds he had arrived  on the moon’s surface. Fin confidently climbed out of the craft and with slow and heavy foot fall proceeded to gather moon samples of white dust (soap powder) and tiny scraps of torn paper which had been prepared earlier and scattered by his faithful R2-D2 (me)!

Having completed his mission, the intrepid four year old climbed back into the rocket for his return journey, which again took only a few seconds…  However to my horror, after a full examination of the rocket , he declared that while on the moon, aliens had climbed into the engine and had travelled back with him.  Without hesitation, our brave astronaut announced that these aliens would have to be  ‘sploded out’ and he hurried off to his bedroom , returning with a miniature rugby ball ( Fin’s version of a bomb) and without warning , hurled it into the engine as I dived for cover behind an arm chair….

We held our breath for a moment before he courageously crawled into the engine in search of alien remains… I was informed that there was a lot of ‘green gloop’. Horrified by this gooey transformation, I asked what we should do and was told that he needed a pipe to ‘blow it away’.    Fin left the room, returning with a stick which he said was a pipe and disappeared again into the engine cavity…I heard blowing sounds from deep within.  Finally, he emerged red faced but triumphant, announcing that the gloop had gone! ‘Hooray ’ I shouted and congratulated him on his bravery.  Before clearing away, we enjoyed a well earned break of orange juice and biscuits .

If the aliens ever do invade, I know who I want in my corner!

Sensory Rainbow and Happy Talk are offered as free download manuals based on my experience as a speech and language specialist within the National Health Trust where I used creative play to improve a child’s confidence and communication.

You may be also interested to read  Creating Child’s Play