Walk into my children’s bedroom and you will be hit with a massive wave of space. They’ve got planet sheets, space shuttle pillows, moon lamps…the list goes on and on. It’s safe to say astronomy has infiltrated our home, and so I’ve taken advantage of this by teaching my kids about the wonders of the night sky.
This has opened the door for all sorts of opportunities to do fun astronomy activities with my kids!
11 Fun Astronomy Activities for Kids
Science is most easily learned through hands-on application! So, while you can’t take your child and rocket up into space whenever you please, you can grab some supplies from around your house and experience the wonders of the solar system from your kitchen counter!
Don’t be afraid to get messy; that’s when the best learning happens.
1. Build Your Own Backyard Compass
With a smartphone guiding me to wherever I need to go, my directional skills have decreased just a tad. Latitude? Longitude? Never heard of them!
Your kids can be smarter than this! Build your own backyard compass and teach them just how much the light in the sky impacts our everyday lives. Soon they’ll be telling you which way to turn and where to go, and you can throw that smartphone away (kidding, sorta?)!
2. Salt Paint Constellations
Who doesn’t love to look up at the night sky and search for constellations? The Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Orion’s Belt…just a few of my childhood favorites. Through this constellations activity, you can teach your kids both the name and shapes of the most common groups of stars in the sky. And, the great thing about this activity is you probably already have all of the supplies in your cabinet!
To make the activity even more entertaining, encourage your student to make up their own constellation and name it! Maybe they’ll actually find it in the night sky…
3. Moon Phase Lesson and Printable
Did you know that it takes about one month for the moon to fully orbit the earth? During this time, our view of the moon changes – sometimes every night! Check out this free moon phases lesson and printable that can be used to label and diagram the phases of the moon as they pertain to the earth we live on. We’ll even through in a free video lesson to make your student’s learning even more productive!
4. Exploding Moon Rocks
I love this exploding moon rocks activity because it combines an astronomy lesson with a chemistry lesson. Younger children will enjoy the sensory aspect of mixing the moon rock dough, and once the rocks have been formed and dried, older students will ooh and ahh at the “exploding” part of the activity. The reaction between baking soda and vinegar can prompt questions about basic chemistry, and you can discuss whether or not your child thinks a similar reaction would happen on the actual moon!
5. The Four Seasons
You know – spring, summer, fall, and winter! It’s easy to look back at the end of the year and recall the first snowfall, the first blooming tulip, the first 100-degree day, etc. But what about the why behind the change of seasons? How does the rising and setting of the sun impact the colors of the leaves and the snowy blizzards? This four seasons activity will take place over the course of a year, but it’s a super easy educational activity that will only take a few minutes at a time. All you need is a window and a camera!
6. Moon Journal
Each night, our view of the moon changes. Sometimes it’s a tiny crescent covered by clouds, while other nights it shines big and bright in the sky. As your child learns about the phases of the moon, it may be helpful (and fun!) for them to document the shape, brightness, and position of the moon each night. Of course, they’ll have to stay up until it’s dark, but it’s for the sake of learning, right?
This moon journal printable will give you a template for your student to document each evening and then observe how the moon changes over time.
7. How Big Is the Solar System?
It’s easy to look up at the night sky and just assume that stars are tiny and the solar system really isn’t that big. Of course, science has proven otherwise! To help your elementary student visualize this reality, we’ve put together a solar system activity that uses items from around the house! Using a basketball as “the sun,” you can set up a solar system that truly shows us just how big of a universe we live in.
8. Lunar Eclipse Simulation
Lunar eclipses only happen two to five times a year across the entire globe, so it’s easy to forget when it’s going to happen and miss the phenomenon. Or, if the sky is cloudy, you won’t even be able to see the eclipse.
In our Experience Astronomy Elementary curriculum, we give you the opportunity to simulate this rare event—no calendar needed! You can download the Lunar Eclipse activity PDF at the end of this post.
9. Gravity on Different Planets
Have you ever watched a movie about space and seen astronauts floating around in their space shuttle? That is attributed to a lack of gravity! In contrast, if you’re standing in your yard holding a ball and let go, it falls to the ground – lots of gravity! The weight of items is directly affected by how much gravity is present.
Have you ever wondered what an unopened can of soda would feel like on each of the planets and on Earth’s moon? We have a fun activity that demonstrates just that. Like the lunar eclipse simulation, you can access gravity on different planets free through our PDF download below!
10. Astronomy Videos!
At Journey Homeschool Academy, we’ve put together our top 10 astronomy videos, complete with a quiz question at the end to provide application and stimulate thinking. Although reading and hands-on learning are a great combination, watching videos can make science come to life—especially when it comes to astronomy.
11. When all else fails…look at the stars
Grab a pile of blankets and pillows, and take your kids outside way past their bedtime to look at the night sky. One of my fondest memories growing up is when my dad would let us get out of bed at 10 p.m. to lay on the deck and look for constellations and shooting stars. We’d ooh and ahh over seeing what we still claim to be the Milky Way, and we would fight over who saw the first shooting star. It was a time of fun and a great way to learn and bond as a family.
Download Two Free Astronomy Activities!
Download the Lunar Eclipse Simulation & Gravity on Different Planets activities by filling out the form below. This will give you just a taste of some of the fun activities our Experience Astronomy Elementary students are doing each week.
Looking for More Fun Astronomy Activities for Kids?
Check out our astronomy curriculum at Journey Homeschool Academy! We’ve created online video courses for homeschoolers of all ages, from elementary through high school! They’re simple (but super engaging) and the courses basically teach themselves. You don’t have to be an astronomy expert or even know how to find the Big Dipper!
Not only do the courses have engaging video lessons, but the student adventure guide is full of hands-on activities, there are optional corresponding living books you and your students can read, weekly quizzes, and more. And as a bonus, most of the activities can be completed with items you already have at home—no fancy or expensive equipment required!