Thursday, June 17, 2010

Outer Space Activities

This week my kids and I have been reading about the moon, stars and outer space. Since school is out and we have more time at home, we've been doing additional space-themed activities as time permits. Here are a few:

Sending our names to Mars: Fill out the form on NASA's website to have your name included on a microchip on the Mars Space Laboratory rover that is being sent to Mars next year. You can also check out the US and world participation maps to see how your state or country ranks. As my six year old said, "We're going to Mars!" After registering they were able to print out cool participation certificates.

(Mars, image courtesy of NASA)

Drawing pictures of the sky: This was my four year old's idea. He wanted me to help him draw stars after reading How to Catch a Star (reviewed by me here).

Making Star Finders: Another activity from NASA, this allows you to make a star finder to help identify constellations in the night sky.

(Quintuplet Cluster, image courtesy of NASA)

Checking EarthSky for information on the evening's sky. Tonight, for example, Mars will be visible just north of the crescent moon. We haven't done this (or the above activity) yet because with it being so close to the June solstice, the kids are in bed long before the stars are visible. However, we are going to a wedding this weekend and the boys will surely be up well past their bedtimes so we'll try some stargazing then.

Looking at NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day, which features a new picture daily, along with commentary from professional astronomers. I really love the image and activity from June 15, which happened to be my birthday:

Starry Night Scavenger Hunt 
Credit & Copyright : Original Painting: Vincent van Gogh; Digital Collage: Ronnie Warner

NASA's website has loads of activities, games, information and photos for curious kids (and adults!) You can find age appropriate activities for children in their "students" section.

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Sonya @ Under the Desert Sky said...

Looks like a lot of fun! Livie will probably like doing some of that stuff, too!

Katie Fries said...

I hope she enjoys the activities! My boys LOVED looking for Mars in the night sky and identifying the Little Dipper.