This summer marks the 50th anniversary of an event that changed the world – the moon landing! On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took those historic steps out of the Apollo 11 lunar module and ventured somewhere no human had been before. It’s a bit mind-boggling to think about, especially when you consider the technology at the time!
Like a lot of kids, I was fascinated with space when I was younger and decided I wanted to be an astronaut! The closest I got was becoming an engineer, but my fascination with space has continued. If you have a space-loving kid at home, take advantage of a summer of space with some videos, crafts, and events around town.
Get an Autograph Picture of a Current NASA Astronaut
Did you know your budding astronauts at home can get mail from a current NASA astronaut? NASA sends autographed photos of current astronauts to children who write and request one! Read about it here. I checked NASA’s website and the program is still going on! It would be a cool way to inspire your space-loving kids this summer.
Bedtime Stories from Space
Everyone loves a good story before bed, but has your child ever heard a story from space? Story Time from Space is a program that sends children’s books to space, particularly the International Space Station. Astronauts then videotape themselves in space reading the books and your kids can watch them on the site for free! Right now there are almost 20 videos uploaded and more are being added. What a great way to encourage reading and a love for science!
Read All About It
Speaking of reading, books are a great way to transport your kids to the wonder of space! There are so many great titles out there about the Apollo program, the moon, and space in general. Your kids will have fun learning, but also keep up with their reading this summer, by diving into some new titles. Space.com has a roundup of engaging space books to inspire your mini astronauts. I really want to get the Neil Armstrong one for my son. I was also excited to see one of my son’s books (and a book from my Usborne Books & More shop) made the list – we love that book!
Check out the NASA Kids’ Club
For kids using the internet, check out NASA’s Kids’ Club, a site for kids that teaches about space through information, games, and photos/videos! They even have some printable activities for screen-free fun, including a Junior Ranger Spaceflight Explorer Guide!
Learn about Women in Space
While the Apollo program was comprised of male astronauts, there were lots of women working behind the scenes! Inspire your daughters (and sons) to see that space is for everyone by learning about their pivotal role in space. Hidden Figures is a great movie that discusses three brilliant African-American women and their pivotal role with NASA! Did you also know, though, that the lead software programmer writing the code that made the moon landing possible was female? Here’s a quick video about Margaret Hamilton and her contribution to NASA.
Create and Experiment
Create hands-on learning at home with ideas from NASA’s Space Place, a site filled with space-themed activities to help kids learn more about space! You can view this site, and the activities, in both English and Spanish. I know kids would love your help in creating the bubble rocket listed on the site.
Participate in Local Space Fun
Two local organizations are getting into space with programs for your kids this summer. The Monroe County Public Library is hosting a fun “Universe of Stories” summer reading game you don’t want to miss out on, it runs until the end of July.
WonderLab Museum is also celebrating the moon landing this summer! The museum is hosting a special after-hours Night at the Museum: Moon Landing Anniversary event. The event helps families celebrate space through tons of hands-on activities and space-themed science demos!