It’s hard to believe it’s over 50 years since astronauts first landed on the moon, and that the last time astronauts ventured as far as the Moon was 1972! The Moon landings were just the start of human space exploration. In 1971, the first space station was launched; in 1979, Pioneer 11 flew by Saturn; in 2005, a probe landed on Titan; and more recently, in 2023, OSIRIS-REx became the first US mission to collect a sample from the asteroid, Bennu. The clever spacecraft didn’t land but dropped the samples down to Earth before continuing on its next mission to collect samples from asteroid Apophis. 2024 is looking even more exciting with possible human moon landings from several countries around the world.

Here at Science Sparks, we love anything to do with space. My book, This IS Rocket Science features 70 space themed experiments and investigations as it takes readers on an adventure around the solar system. It’s a great starting point for learning about the difficulties involved in space travel and exploring some of the complexities of the solar system through fun, hands-on investigations.

This IS Rocket Science science book about space

Continuing with the excitement about moon landings, I’ve pulled together some simple moon and space travel based science activities for kids of all ages.

10 Moon Landing Activities for Kids

All the science activities and investigations listed below are simple to set up and encourage scientific thinking, problem-solving and teamwork.

Each activity is standalone or can be completed as part of a series of Moon themed investigations.

1. Moon craters and landing sites

When choosing a landing site, scientists need to understand the moon’s landscape. Lading at the South Pole is especially tricky as there are lots of craters and deep trenches.

Find out how craters form with a simple science demonstration using flour and cocoa powder.

a tray of flour and coca powder for learning how craters form

2. Take a virtual trip to the Moon

Use a brilliant interactive moon resource from NASA to find landing sites, explore the lunar surface, and even see inside the moon! We have loved playing with this. It’s a brilliant, fun way to learn more about the moon’s geography.

3. Launch a rocket

Build and test a mini bottle rocket! These shoot up with a bang, so always stand well back. This activity is great for learning about the forces involved in space travel and an introduction to Newton’s Laws of Motion.

To reach space, rockets must overcome gravity, which they do by creating a huge amount of thrust. In real life, the combustion of rocket fuel creates hot exhaust gases, which produce a downward force. The resultant reaction force creates an upward thrust force, propelling the rocket upwards.

In the case of this mini rocket, the baking soda and vinegar react together to produce carbon dioxide gas. The gas fills the bottle and eventually creates enough pressure to force the cork downwards. The resultant upward force pushes the rocket into the air! This is a brilliant example of Newton’s Third Law.

Instructions for a mini bottle rocket for learning about forces and motion

4. Learn about the phases of the Moon

My phases of the moon colouring sheet makes learning about moon phases easy!

Phases of the moon colouring sheet

5. Keep a log of the Moon

Keeping a log of how the Moon looks each night is another fun way to learn about the phases of the Moon.

Moon log book for observing moon phases

6. Stargazing log book

You don’t need any fancy equipment to look at the night sky. On a clear night, you can see stars, constellations and planets easily.

Phone apps are great for identifying stars, planets, comets and the International Space Station. Night Sky is a great one to start with and is available on Apple and Android.

The free stargazing log book below is great for recording observations over time.

FREE stargazing log sheet for kids

7. Map the moon

Create your own map of the moon with my handy template. This is a great research exercise. The NASA website has some great moon mapping resources that are a great starting point.

Moon map template

8. Build an egg parachute

Most space modules returning to Earth use a large parachute to slow their fall. Parachutes work by increasing air resistance, slowing the fall of the object attached to them.

A simple egg parachute is an easy way to demonstrate how increasing air resistance slows the fall of an object. Children can experiment with different sizes and shapes of parachutes to find out which works the best.

Egg drop parachute science investigation

9. Movement of planets and moons around the sun

Make a walking model of how moons orbit planets and plants orbit the sun. Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus proposed the theory of Heliocentrism around 1514 but didn’t publish his ideas until 1543. Copernicus’s theory was revolutionary at the time as people thought the Earth was the centre of the universe with the sun and planets revolving around it.

10. Katherine Johnson and NASA

Read about Katherine Johnson and her role at NASA. Katherine calculated the trajectory for the 1961 space flight of Alan Shepherd, and when computers were first used, it was Katherine who checked their calculations were correct!

Let me know if you have any more science activities about the moon for us to try!

Forces – pushes, pulls

Friction

Air resistance

Astronomy

Energy

ICT

Image of the moon and a DIY bottle rocket

Last Updated on January 15, 2024 by Emma Vanstone

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