Blast Off! Be a Space Explorer
Journey beyond Earth with your kids! There are so many interesting things to learn when it comes to outer space – the stars, planets, rockets and more. These space-themed crafts and activities are a great way to discover. From hands-on ideas for aspiring astronauts to experiences for the whole family, blast off to fun!
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Out-of-This World Activities
Get your hands dirty and your brains working with these out-of-this world experiments.
- Soda Bottle Space Rocket: Cut off the top and bottom of a soda bottle. Glue one end into a laundry detergent lid for the base. Add a smaller cap for the nose and fins cut from craft foam. Decorate your rocket with paper and stickers and get ready to blast off! Find directions at alittlepinchofperfect.com.
- Space Rock Cakes: Mix a quick and easy biscuit recipe, adding raisins to the dough. Drop the dough onto a cookie sheet and bake. Cool, then sprinkle with edible glitter and food dust in gold and silver. Find the complete recipe at rainydaymum.co.uk.
- Rocket Snacks: This sweet and fruity snack comes from Devon at mamacheaps.com. Cut strawberries widthwise into three slices and thread them on a wood skewer, alternating with marshmallows and having the rounded strawberry slice at the top. Add cut slices of cantaloupe for the rocket base.
- Galaxy Play Dough: Combine 4 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar and 3 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add 1 cup boiling water and stir. Divide the dough, adding purple and black food color and glitter; mix well. Blend the two doughs together to make swirls. Get ready to mold some planets! Find full instructions at kidactivitieswithalexa.com.
Before bedtime, take a few minutes to step outside and view these amazing astronomical events.
- Perseid Meteor Shower
This amazing show occurs as Earth passes through debris left by the Swift-Tuttle comet; this year, the display will be at its peak on August 13. Find a viewing area away from city lights and look to the northeast to spot meteors. Hard Labor Creek State Park is hosting a Perseid Shooting Star Party on August 12-13 or head to Victoria Bryant State Park on August 12 for A Walk to the Stars.
- Saturn at Opposition
A planet is at opposition when it is directly opposite the sun. On August 26-27, Saturn will beat its brightest and easy to spot in the night sky, rising in the east at sunset.
On September 23, the sun will shine directly on Earth’s equator, creating equal amounts of day and night across the world. It also marks the first day of fall.
Full Blue Moon
During the August 30 blue full moon, the moon will be around 222,043 miles (357,343 km) from Earth, making this supermoon the closest and brightest of 2023.
- Sources: almanac.com; earthsky.org
Space Centers in Georgia and Beyond
Coca-Cola Space Science Center: Columbus, ccssc.org
Museum of Aviation: Warner Robins, museumofaviation.org
U.S. Space and Rocket Center: Huntsville, Ala., rocketcenter.com
Check websites for hours and public access.
Dr. Ralph L. Buice Jr. Observatory at Fernbank Science Center: Atlanta, fernbank.edu
North Georgia Astronomical Observatory at University of North Georgia: Dahlonega, ung.edu/observatory
Georgia Tech Observatory: Atlanta, astronomy.gatech.edu
Tellus Observatory at Tellus Science Museum: Cartersville, tellusmuseum.org
Space-Themed Toys We Love
Make play time extra special with these fun finds.
- LEGO City Space Sets: Journey to new horizons with these LEGO sets! The collection includes a Lunar Space Station, Research Base and Roving Vehicle, and each comes with lots of accessories for imaginative play. Ages 7 and older. Available at lego.com for $39.99-$129.99.
- Color-Your-Own Rocket Playhouse: Kids can use paint, markers or crayons to add their own color and embellishments to this playhouse, then take an imaginary trip to the stars. After play, it folds for easy storage. Ages 5 and older. Available at orientaltrading.com for $24.98.
- Solar System 3D Puzzle: Create a solar system diorama with this challenging puzzle! The nine planets fit onto a sturdy base for display after assembly; an educational guide is also included. Ages 8 and older. Available at amazon.com for $14.99.
- ToyerBee Telescope for Kids: This portable scope features a 3X Barlow lens and two eyepieces, plus a smartphone adapter and wireless camera remote for taking pictures. A tripod provides steady viewing. Available at walmart.com for $79.99.