I am fascinated with the night time sky. The planets, moons, stars and galaxies. It intrigues me and is an interest that my children also share. As a family, we enjoy late summer nights where we can watch the stars, find the constellations and dream of becoming an astronaut someday.
Ever since the launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, our love for the starry sky has been fueled. So much that my oldest son has big plans with his friends to visit the Kennedy Space Center when they all turn eighteen. They are 6 years old. So the fact that there is a week dedicated to space means we don’t take any shortcuts and we celebrate!
This year marks the 51st anniversary of the first Moon landing in 1969! Want to celebrate with us this year? Try some of these fun activities.
Visit the Cosmosphere:
This space museum is located in Hutchinson, KS and offers a unique experience to understand the history of space exploration. Although nothing compares to the in person tour, you can also check out the galleries online through their virtual tour. Click here to be taken to the virtual tours.
Visit Exploration Place:
The Exploration Place has a wonderful Sun, Earth and Universe exhibit available. You can build a model spacecraft for a mission into space and explore the universe. Click here to check out this exhibit. They also offer an Astronomical Adventure Camp-In, where you can stay the night, make a Mars Rover and explore space!
Check Out Virtual Space Tours:
- NASA has a lot of information and activities available online for kids of all ages. From Crew program tours (including the SpaceX Crew Dragon) to tours of the NASA facilities and even Space Station tours. This is one of our favorite websites to visit! Click here to be taken to at home and augmented reality tours.
- Check out Google Expedition! Take a virtual trip to the International Space Station and see inside the spacecraft modules or fly along with Juno on the way to Jupiter. This app is often used by teachers and even offers virtual reality images to make you feel like you are really there! Plus it includes questions and facts that appeal to the minds of children at all ages.
Build a Spacecraft at Home
- Great for kids! NASA shows how to design the greatest satellite and tells you the materials needed to build it. Check it out here.
- The European Space Agency has a lot of paper model options you can build. Check out the models and use their downloadable instructions and templates by clicking here.
- If you have the time and materials, try building a rocket ship out of cardboard that your children can play in. We had a great time and everyone was involved in the project as we built it, painted it and even added controls on the inside.
- Get a telescope, binoculars or even use the naked eye and spend a night out under the stars.
- Even more fun, check out the time and date of when you can see the planets in the sky. For Wichita dates and times, click here. You can also check out the moon phases and when to see eclipses!
- Every Friday, Sky & Telescope, publishes some sky maps and tips for observing the nighttime sky for the following week. We use this website to help us prepare for upcoming celestial events!
Live & Eat Like an Astronaut:
- MRE (Meals Ready to Eat): This is what Astronauts eat pretty much every day. Things you can eat on Earth today that can be found on grocery store shelves fall under this category, things that can be re-hydrated with water or freeze dried foods. These foods typically include protein, fruits and veggies. Astronauts daily food intake consists of three meals and a snack.
- NASA has some great information and videos to show your kids how to eat, spend free time and even brush your teeth in space! For a day in the life of an astronaut information, click here.
More Fun Space Activities:
- Surrey Satellite Technology – Space STEM Activities
- Find coloring pages, Lego ideas and satellite paper model spacecraft templates to download.
- National Geographic Kids – Passport to Space
- Learn about the moon landing, take a planet personality quiz, make a telescope and much more!
- The Canadian Space Agency has some great space science experiments to show you how life in space is. We love the wringing out of water experiment and how to wash your hair in space!