Children learn better when topics are presented in a fun, hands-on manner. Here are some of our favorite space activities for kids.
We’ve created a collection of space printables and free worksheets to help. You can download your FREE space printable pack and join our mail list for more freebies and updates. You’ll find some fun activities for preschoolers through elementary (and yes, I had fun doing them with the kids as well!)
Once you’ve downloaded your printable pack, you’re ready for the activities below. Print them out and let’s blast off for some outer space exploration.
Phases of the Moon Activity
When we look into the night sky, the moon can take on different appearances. Sometimes is a sliver of a crescent, and sometimes it’s bright and round. There’s a pattern and rhythm to the moon’s appearances, called phases. The moon moves from the barely visible New Moon, to the luminous Full Moon over the course of a lunar cycle, which lasts one roughly a month. A lunar cycle is 27 days to be exact, and progresses through these phases.
Watch as the Moon changes throughout the course of a month.
- Waxing Crescent
- First Quarter
- Waxing Gibbous
- Waning Gibbous
- Third Quarter
- Waning Crescent
Waxing means getting larger as the full moon approaches, and waning means getting smaller as the new moon draws near.
The moon isn’t changing shape; we’re just seeing it reflecting light sunlight differently depending on where the moon is in its orbit around the Earth.
Every few nights, try to observe the moon with a clear sky. How has it changed since the last time? Feel free to take notes, or sketch your observations.
Our Phases of the Moon printable is included in our Space Printable Pack. Practice scissor skills and cut out the phases, and place them on the sheet in order around the Earth. The printables are provided with both a star field, or ink saving white sheet.
For a tastier look at phases of the moon, check out our kitchen activities to see how we did this with Oreos!
Place the Planets STEM Activity
Here’s an activity to practice putting the planets in our solar system in order by their orbits around the sun. We’ve included a space and stars sheet, which looks cool. There’s also a white sheet with the sun and orbits to save on printer ink.
Practice scissor skills by cutting out each planet, and place them in their orbit.
Orbits moving outward from the sun:
Make any night a starry night with some flashlight constellations (or do them during the day in a dark room.) Download the free space printable pack and print out the constellation printables; grab a flashlight and a toothpick and we’re ready to see some stars.
Poke holes through the stars. We used a toothpick, though you could also use a nail or sharp pencil. You may find it easier to punch the hold by placing the paper on top of a scrap piece of corrugated cardboard.
You can practice some scissor skills if you want to separate your constellations, though our little guys found it easier holding the full sheet and moving the light behind the constellation they wanted to see.
The further away from the wall you hold your paper, the bigger your constellation will be. (It’ll also get dimmer as the light becomes less concentrated.)
Some LED flashlights are too bright and too much light shines through the paper, which outshines the shadow effect we’re looking for. We found holding the “flashlight” from a cellphone a few inches away from the paper worked the best.
You could also use the printable sheet as a template when placed over a heavier sheet of construction paper. Because the paper is heavier, less light will shine through and you’ll have brighter stars!
For more about the stories and shapes behind your favorite constellations check out our space book post and a few great books that illustrate the shapes and the stars.
Related Post: If you’re looking for more awesome space activities, check out our post about how to get kids interested in space and astronomy.
Paint a Planet STEAM Activity
Making up an imaginary planet and painting what it looks like is a great STEAM activity for kids! It’s also a great way to explore shapes and colors in a fun and exciting way.
We’ve created a free printable sheet with a blank planet for you to create your celestial masterpiece.
Each planet has its own fact sheet. What would the atmosphere be like on your planet? Could we walk around, or would we need a space suit? Does it have any moons? How hot or cold is it? How long are the days?
Create your own planet, or paint the planets in our solar system.
Get out your paints, crayons, or markers, and let’s go!
Solar System Mobile
Let’s create a solar system mobile that’s fun and easy to make. The project is the perfect way to teach your little astronaut about the planets in our solar system. What’s more, they’ll love seeing their creation on display.
This is a great activity for preschoolers to practice scissor skills to cut out their planets.
Use markers, crayons, or paint and color in your planets for a fun STEAM activity. You can use the planets from the colored planets as reference or use your own color schemes and designs. You can print them both and arrange the planets back to back so your mobile pieces have a front and back if you like.
If you want to string your solar system planets together, use a toothpick or a sharp pencil to poke a small hole in the top and bottom of each planet.
Use some craft S-hooks to connect your planets together (in a pinch, paper clips can work as well.) smaller space explorers can get some fine motor skill practice using the hooks to link the planets. You can also use thread or sting to connect your planets.
You may want to print these on heavier stock paper to make them more rigid. Or, you could try laminating your finished work to make it more durable. We like this laminator available at a great price from Amazon (you’ll also need some plastic sheets).
Wrap Up – Space Theme Activities for Kids
I was fascinated by space exploration as a child, and am happy to see our boys share the same sense of curiosity. As with anything, fun hands on activities are a great way to keep kids engaged and interested while they’re learning. If you’re homeschooling and planning a space unit, we hope this can help. We hope you enjoy these printable space activities; you can download and explore at home, or create a space activities binder for your future astronaut.
Related Posts: Out of this world Space and Astronomy Books for Kids and more ways to Get Kids Interested in Space and Astronomy. If you love Legos, be sure to check out our roundup of Space Lego Sets!
For some more fun studying the stars and solar system, NASA has a smartphone app you can check out here: https://www.nasa.gov/nasaapp