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.
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DIY Cardboard Space Shuttle
What You'll Find on This Page
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!)
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.
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!
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!
- Play laptop made from cardboard
- Cardboard washer/dryer
- Cardboard astronaut helmet
- Simple cardboard play house
- Cardboard armoire for doll clothes
- Simple cardboard peg doll house
- Cardboard play fridge
- No-sew fabric-covered box
- Car seat for a small doll from a cardboard salt container
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
- Paper space shuttle
- Paper mache moon nightlight
- What do you see in the moon creative activity for kids (includes a free printable, no email sign-up required)
- Edible Mars soil space experiment
- Printable constellation mats for kids
- Cardboard astronaut helmet
- Shooting star spinner toy
- Solar system sensory bottle
- DIY Star Stamps