~ Frances Evans
Exactly 50 years ago, on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to step on the moon. On that date, astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered the words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” These words became the most famous one-liner in history.
This year on July 16, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama will attempt to break Guinness World Record by launching 5,000 model rockets simultaneously. The Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida will welcome the United States Postal Service (USPS) as they issue the “1969: First Moon Landing Forever” stamps. These space centers, as well as many across the country, will have many other celebratory events happening.
This is the perfect time to inspire future generations, our youth, our future scientists, and astronauts with the upcoming 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Here are our favorite ways to teach kids about space.
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Space science encompasses all of the scientific disciplines that involve space exploration, the study of natural phenomena, and physical bodies occurring in outer space, such as space medicine and astrobiology. As parents and educators, we must join forces to inspire our future generation: a generation of thinkers, and doers in space science.
I’ve compiled in this post a plethora of information including pictures and a short review on our experience participating in the family space camp we attended at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.
How do we inspire our children and our youth to love space science? We can start to teach kids about space home, and it follows through school.
1. Teach Kids about Space with by Visiting a Space Center or Space Camp
If possible, visit a space center (here’s a list of all of the NASA space centers). We’ve been fortunate enough to visit both the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and The Kennedy Space Center.
Earlier this year we signed up for the Family Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. It was an intense weekend checking in on a Friday and graduating on Sunday. When you check-in on Friday you’re assigned to a team leader and you work together with other families.
Many future astronauts, scientist, and engineers from around the world have trained at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. They have on display a flag for each country that sends a future astronaut to train and that graduates from the program.
Your training starts from day one through 9 p.m. on Friday, on Saturday it begins at 7:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Saturday, and on Sunday it ends around 1 p.m. with graduation. It’s an intense, non-stop, and lots of walking.
During your training, you launch on simulated missions to the International Space Station. You train on the Multi-Axis Trainer and the 1/6th Gravity Chair. You’re assigned a position in the Mission Control. Our son’s position was of an astronaut during one of the missions.
We built and launched our own model rocket, and worked with other family members in our team to complete missions.
The breakfast and lunch menus are from around the world! No foods or snacks are allowed from outside, and you really have no time to leave training to grab something to eat. The space center also provides a menu for those with food allergies.
We learned so much about the past, present, and future of space exploration, aerospace technology, leadership, and team-building skills. It was an experience like no other and we all enjoyed the family space camp.
We graduated from the Space Camp Family Program at the U.S. Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Not everyone has the opportunity to visit space centers. Therefore, you can spark your child’s interest in space by creating crafts, cooking food, reading books, listening to podcasts, and more. Below you’ll find activities for your kids from the little ones to the older ones. There’s something for everyone!
2. Create Environments for Kids to Explore and Create
Solar System Crafts:
Facts of the Solar System + an Activity for the youngest learners from The Preschool Toolbox
Puffy Planets Solar System Craft from Thimble and Twig
Fingerprint Solar System Craft Activity for Kids from Darcy Brian
Paint Stick Solar System and Yarn Solar System Project from 123 Homeschool For Me
How To Build a Solar System Model For Kids Using Quilling Paper from Steamed Powered Families
Pie Plate Solar System from Pink Stripey Socks
Coffee Filter Crafts for Kids: Coffee Filter Solar Eclipse Craft from Look We’re Learning
Yarn Wrapped Planets from Next Comes L
Cardboard Space Shuttle from Mama Smiles
DIY Space Rocket Desk Tidy from Blissful Domestication
Easy Rocket Craft From Books and Giggles
Popsicle Stick Rocket Ship Craft for Kids from Crafts for Toddlers
Cardboard Space Shuttle Craft from Pink Stripey Socks:
Rocket Corner Book Markers and Paper Rocket Craft from Artsy Craftsy Mom
Easy Paper Roll Rocket Craft for Kids from Look We’re Learning
Teach Kids about Space through Crafts:
Outer Space Craft from Non-Toy Gifts
Glow in the Dark Stars from Kid Minds
Pipe Cleaner Constellations from 123 Homeschool For Me
Blast off to Space from The Keeper of the Memories
Moon and Space Sensory Bin from Fun with Mama
From Steamed Powered Families: Incredible Moon Dough
From The Chaos and The Clutter: Space Sensory Bottle and Puffy Paint Paper Plate Moon
From Homeschooling My Kinetic Kids: Space 3-Part Cards
From Crafts on Sea: Pom Pom Printed Moon Craft and Goodnight Spaceman Craft
From Babies to Bookworms: Moon Learning Activities
Galaxy Sensory Play:
Out of This World Galaxy Oobleck from Darcy Brian
Galaxy Spin Painting Art Project from Projects with Kids
Galaxy Slime from Little Bins Little Hands
Galaxy Slime without Borax from Simple Everyday Mom
Galaxy Slime from Crayons and Cravings
Space Yoga Poses from Pink Oatmeal
Try Space Food:
There is a lot of astronaut food available on amazon!
Make your own Galaxy Cake Pops from the Flying Couponer
Make a Rocket Pizza from Growing Book by Book
Try DIY Solar System Edible Playdough from Look We’re Learning
Teach Kids about Space with these Educational Resources:
Space Lesson Plans from the Space Science Institute
NASA’s Hispanic Astronauts Fact Sheet
Free Patterns Printable with a Space Theme from Wise Owl Factory
Space Coloring Pages from Simple Everyday Mom
Free Printable Flashcards: Solar System Flashcards and Printable Spanish Flashcards: Spanish Solar System Flashcards from Look We’re Learning
Solar System Unit on The Sun from 123 Homeschool For Me
From NASA: Space Apps and NASA Apps for your smartphone, tablet or iPad
Rocket to the Moon Sight Words from Growing Book by Book
Books to Teach Kids about about Space:
Super round-up of space-related books from All Done Monkey
The Science of Parabolas with “A Computer Called Katherine” Book from Homeschooling My Kinetic Kids
From Crafty Moms Share: Space Exploration Books and STEM Books
Children’s Books about the Moon from Growing Book by Book
Make Space-Themed Clothes and Accessories:
Galaxy Shoes and Galaxy Shirt from Everyday Best
Outer Space Planet and Galaxy Jewelry from Pink Stripey Socks
Solar System Bracelet Craft for Kids from Still Playing School
Frances is a language activist and Latina mama extraordinaire on a multicultural and bilingual journey with her son. She is raising awareness of her Hispanic heritage and language and transforming hearts and voices, one step at a time. She can be found musing at her blog Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes or on Instagram her new favorite social media platform.
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