Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cut, Color & Cook!

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If you'd like your offspring to have fun learning about space, the NASA.gov family of websites has a surprising amount of whimsical places to play! The most obvious is NASA's Kids Club, a colorful and interactive site full of games, available in both flash and text-forms.

Kids can build fleets of rockets, play with robotic arms, navigate a rover along the surface of Mars, and also see how much they would weigh on Saturn, or how many "years" old they would be on Neptune. I highly recommend the Find the Spinoffs exercise, because it showcases all the ways the space program has contributed to life on Earth, from DirecTV and water purifiers to video-game controllers and bicycle helmets.

NASA Kid Club
Other "Fun For Kids But Adults Will Take Over If You Let Them" projects include…

Cut, Color & Fold Space Shuttle

The Steps to Countdown Storybook
14-page Easy Guide to how a Shuttle is prepared and launched.

Space Shuttle Coloring Book
Features many different views of the Shuttle during launch, flight, maneuvers and landing, as well as the International Space Station and space walks.

Candy Cassini
Balloon, Paper & Edible Space Models
In the event you have a burning desire to trash that EZ Bake oven and make a gingerbread Cassini spacecraft, this particular site represents the best example of how parents and kids can have a great time together, building and learning. I know if I was a school-teacher, this is the sort of thing I'd want to be doing every day!

Both American and European rovers, orbiters, prospectors are featured, and one can create models of the Mars Express, SOHO, Genesis, Stardust, Galileo, etc. You may need paper, markers or crayons, straws, glue, gumdrops, balloons, rubber bands, Play-Doh and… frosting?? Ha, my kind of creativity!

And if anyone tries any of these projects (with or without kids, we won’t judge) and you feel like emailing me the pictures, I’d love to see them...!

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