Saturday 9th October is Astronomy Day! It’s a day for astronomists to share their knowledge of outer space with us all.
To celebrate, we share 10 activities to fire children’s passion for outer space and to ignite their interest in science. With each activity we have suggested books to extend children’s knowledge. For age specific space books see National Space Day: 6 best space books for children. Local libraries also have a huge range of books about space.
- Solar system in a box
You will need a cardboard box (a shoe box is perfect), paint, white card, a pencil and glue.
To make this craft, follow Vihaan’s instructions on YouTube.
Afterwards explore the solar system in 3D by sharing Solar System by Ian Graham.
2. Play planets
Find out about the planets in our solar system by singing The Planet Song.
Once your child has learnt the song, you can play the planet guessing game. To set up the game you need eight sticky labels. Write the name of a planet (and draw a picture of it) on each label.
Put a planet sticker on each player’s back. They mustn’t see what planet they are. The players need to find out what planet they are by asking each other questions. For example, ‘Am I a red planet?’ ‘Am I the closest planet to the sun?’
Players take turns to ask the other players a question. The first player to guess their planet correctly wins the game.
If there are less than eight players, the game could be repeated until all the planets have been played. The person who wins the most planets is the overall winner.
3. Fruit solar system
Ask your child to arrange sliced fruit on a plate to look like the solar system. Type ‘fruit solar system’ into Google Images for ideas.
Encourage your child to think about the positioning of the planets and their relative sizes. Can they name the planets in the right order? Do they know which planet is the smallest and which is the largest?
4. How planets orbit the Sun
Follow this link for an activity that will help your child discover how planets orbit the Sun. You will need a round pie dish, orange play dough and a ball to represent the Earth (preferably blue).
Extend your child’s knowledge further by watching Inspire Education’s video.
5. Edible Moon phases
This is a brilliant way to teach children about the different phases of the Moon. You need a packet of Oreos, a knife and a print-out of the phases of the Moon. See the instructions on ScienceBob.
Learn more by sharing The Usborne Book of the Moon by Laura Cowan.
6. Geoboard constellations
Print out a picture of the constellations from Google Images. Then make different constellations by stretching elastic bands over geoboards.
You can buy geoboards with elastic bands very reasonably online, or you can make your own (type ‘how to make a geoboard’ into a search engine).
Find out more about constellations from Kelsey Johnson’s Constellations for Kids.
7. Space rocket launch
We love this space rocket launch activity! You only need pipettes (which can be bought online), paper straws, thin card, cellotape, scissors and felt tipped pens.
8. Why are there craters on the Moon?
In this experiment your child will find out why there are craters on the Moon. To prepare, mix 4 cups of flour with ½ cup of oil. Press the mixture into the bottom of a cake tin. Put the cake tin down on the ground outside.
Ask your child to collect small stones and drop them into the cake tin from standing height. They will see craters form as stones hit the mixture.
Find out why the Moon has so many craters and the Earth doesn’t, by visiting NASA’s website for children.
9. Design and make a space lander
See this NASA challenge for older children.
In the challenge children are asked to design a space lander that will keep two aliens (marshmallows) inside when dropped. The activity involves problem solving skills and patience as there is a lot of trial and error involved!
10. Join the NASA Kids’ Club
NASA Kids’ Club is an interactive resource where children can find out about NASA’s missions, see the best photographs from space, find out the latest from the International Space Station, learn to build a Mars helicopter and lots more!
Any child who has enjoyed these space activities for Astronomy Day will love this website!
Does your child need extra help with science?
TutorMyKids can put you in touch with an experienced and enthusiastic science tutor who can spark your child’s curiosity and interest in the subject and help them to understand tricky concepts.
To talk about your child’s requirements, please contact us on 01223 858 421 or firstname.lastname@example.org