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Space is a topic kids love. Turn it into a learning experience with galaxy art and craft projects that will keep kids entertained at home for hours.
As Buzz Lightyear would say, the possibilities for space-themed DIY craft stretch to “infinity and beyond!”. But narrow them down to three iconic and easy paper craft ideas to start with, like making a cardboard rocket, a moon-phase flipbook and a solar-system mobile, which you can tailor to suit your child’s age and skill sets. These galaxy art and craft projects are fun activities to do with kids at home, and each presents an opportunity to teach as well as motivate kids to ask questions and soak up all the fun facts about awesome outer space elements, near and far.
The sweetest entry to outer space, an iconic cardboard roll rocket is a must-make for all science and engineering loving kids.
A toilet paper or paper towel roll makes the perfect foundation and having a pack on hand means you’ll be ready for creative lift-off at a moment’s notice. If they’re ready to start working on their scissor skills, challenge them to cut out paper to glue or tape around the toilet paper roll.
Depending on the child’s age, they can make the rocket as simple or snazzy as they like. Sparkly pom poms and small stickers are perfect to blast off their imaginations, or they can practice more scissor skills by tracing and cutting out windows.
Folding the nose for the rocket is a great chance to hone fine motor skills. Cut a circle of coloured cardboard, mark the centre of the circle and make a cut from the edge to the centre. Overlap the two cut edges to form a cone (the more they overlap, the pointer the cone will be) and fix with double-sided tape.
Help them cut four small lines into the base of the rocket body, before cutting out two new semi-circles of red cardboard. Snip into the middle of each semicircle — one along the rounded edge, and the other along the straight edge. Slide the half moons together and then attach them to the rocket base by sliding them into the incisions in the cardboard roll.
Finish off by attaching a red pom-pom “exhaust”. Once the rocket is complete, help them create an environment for it to blast off from. Whether it’s a 3D moon surface made from playdough or a launch pad they colour in on butcher’s paper, this DIY galaxy project is a great way to start conversations about space and rocket science with kids.
Perfect for school-age learners, this galaxy art project is a clever trick of the eye and educational (plus a little mind-bending). It’s a great way to help them understand how the earth, sun and moon interact and why the moon changes shape throughout the month.
The trick to a slick flipbook lies in the book itself. While kids can make their own with paper and staples, the more pages it has the better, so a good size block of sticky notes is the best option. The sealed edge makes it easy to hold as their thumbs flip quickly through each page.
Once they start their moon-phase drawings, it can get a little confusing and if they miss a phase the flip will look a bit jerky. Using sticky notes means kids can take out or even add pages to fix mistakes.
Help children research the lunar phases (National Geographic Kids has a good page) and decide how many pages they want to include in their flipbook. The easiest way for younger children to get the hang of it is to do the 8 phases and then keep repeating them.
Ideally, they should first practise drawing them on a piece of paper with a black pencil. Draw a line of circles to represent the moon (they can trace around a bottle top if they are not confident freehand), then shade in the progressive moon phases. They can then use this as a guide.
Count out the number of pages needed and draw a circle on each page, trying to keep each one in around the same spot. Starting with the first page, and following the order of their paper drawing, they can now shade each page to reflect the moon phases.
Once the drawings are complete, show them how to flip through the pages and watch in wonder as the shadow appears to move across the moon.
When the moon is “growing”, it is known as waxing, while the shrinking phases are referred to as waning.
A space mobile is a classic school project rite of passage, so why not start having a play at home now? Follow our step by step guide to create this iconic galaxy art by crafting with paper and a handful of additional art and craft supplies.
Encourage children to think about their galaxy art mobile before they start. Get them researching our planets and other galaxies to help them decide what to include and how they will lay them out. Older kids will think about the size and order of the planets. For young children, instead of worrying about a factual solar system, create a fun “galaxy far far away”. It’s still a good way to start talking about stars and planets.
Once they’ve decided what to put in their galaxy, it’s time to pull the pieces together. Everyone knows a cardboard box can be transformed into just about anything and a space mobile is no exception! A box even has handy ‘doors’ to open and shut and protect their masterpiece if they take their galaxy craft project to school. Start by gluing black construction paper around the inside of the box to create ‘deep space’.
Once the box is lined, encourage them to transform it into a galaxy art background with lots of spatters, spots and drops of silver or light grey paint pen. These random smatterings will look like stars in the night sky.
Use coloured, holographic, glitter and foam cardboard to create the orbs. They can be simple flat circles, with a big yellow sun and planets of different sizes and colours. To make 3D planets, cut out two matching circles, snip a line halfway through both and slot them together.
Make an incision in the top of the box, insert the hook of a coat hanger and position it so it sits across the box.
Using different lengths of nylon line, attach the sun and planets to the hanger. Position the sun in the middle and arrange the planets at different heights around it so they look like they are in orbit.
Finally, add some extra black ‘star’ paper to hide the hanger and the solar system mobile craft project is complete.