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DIY Cardboard Space Shuttle + More Fun Space Activities for Kids

There are loads of great space activities for kids – I’ve even shared a couple others on this blog. This one is my especial favorite because of the hours of imaginative play it inspired.

Space activities for kids

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DIY Cardboard Space Shuttle

space shuttle from a cardboard box

I love playing with cardboard, and this space shuttle is one of our fanciest creations! I created it as part of The Lights Project at ikat bag, but wanted to share it with my readers here as well (with LiEr’s blessing!)

LED light buttons

LiEr sent me a string of ten LED lights from IKEA, which happened to be flat on top. This makes them perfect for push buttons! My kids are very into space at the moment, and Johnny had just gotten a pair of space-themed pajamas for his birthday. My brother conveniently gave me three very large cardboard boxes, one of which looked distinctly spaceship-like to me.

space shuttle from a cardboard box

I cut away, punched some holes for the lights to go through, taped the switch to the inside of the box, and we were good to go! All three kids conveniently fit into this large box! Time to admire the universe!

I suspect that the IKEA lights are seasonal, but you could do this with any string of LED lights. Time to pull out your Christmas boxes!

decorating the cardboard space shuttle

One of the best things about cardboard creations – besides the fact that you get to make them and they are free – is that they are super easy for kids to decorate. Our space shuttle gets a little bit fancier (and a little more bent out of shape loved) every day!

Want to build your own space shuttle? I wrote an illustrated cardboard space shuttle tutorial you can download!

More Cardboard Creations

You can check out more LED light creations in The Lights Project archives from last December at ikat bag. And if you want some non-LED light inspiration, here are a few more cardboard creations from this blog. One of them is even a space activity!

Another Great Space Book for Kids

Endeavour’s Long Journey is an imagination-filled picture book I was sent to review. Written by NASA Astronaut John D. Olivas, this book follows a young boy visiting the Endeavour in the California Science Center, where he has a conversation with the space shuttle. Among other stories, the Endeavour tells the boy about Dr. Mae Jemison, the first female African American astronaut, as a special team on Endeavour. The book captures beautifully the imagination and creativity that is necessary for scientific innovation – and that I see in my scientist husband – but that is rarely portrayed in picture books. I also love the book’s emphasis on dreaming, working hard, and how we need lots of different people with different abilities to succeed.

Mike got to see the Endeavour leave on its long journey, and a friend of mine got to be an official Endeavour babysitter when it first moved to Southern California, which was very exciting!

More Great Space Activities for Kids

2016-17 season virtual book club for kids books and activities

Click on the image above to see all of the themes, books, and activities for this year’s 2016-17 Virtual Book Club for Kids!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Do you have a favorite space activity for kids? How about another space themed book we need to read? Please share in the comments below, or on my Facebook page. You can also tag me on Instagram

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

24 thoughts on “DIY Cardboard Space Shuttle + More Fun Space Activities for Kids”

  1. LOVE how you used the LED lights! That ship is amazing, too. Just yesterday my kids made a house out of the cardboard box that our IKEA couch came in. So fun!

  2. Elisa | blissfulE

    When I saw that photo, I thought “what a magical childhood!” Fabulous!! And I especially enjoyed your line about the space shuttle becoming a bit more loved every day. :)

  3. Chrissy @ The Outlaw Mom Blog

    This is great! We are having a Rocket Ship Party for my son in May and we’ll be building something like this … although I’m envisioning HUGE! Yours is probably more doable and fun for the kids :-) Hmm, that’s an idea – build several. (Wheels churning…)!

  4. We got out a cardboard box for our girl last week, but she’s too young–she just tries to eat it. This is definitely a fun and cheap way to dress up a box for hours of fun.

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