How to get your kids excited about space

With the UAE making leaps and bounds in space exploration, here are some ways to pique your child’s curiosity and get them excited about space.

by

Rida Jaleel

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Published: Mon 1 May 2023, 11:28 AM

Last updated: Mon 1 May 2023, 11:45 AM

As parents, we often want our children to develop an interest in things beyond their daily routine. One area that is mysterious and unexplored enough to encourage a lot of creativity and curiosity is space. If you want your children to develop a more vibrant imagination and inquisitiveness about exciting domains like space, you have to foster that interest in them. Here are some ideas to help you encourage your children’s interest in space and in science and exploration at large.

Watch space-themed movies and TV shows

A still from the movie '2001: A Space Odyssey'
A still from the movie '2001: A Space Odyssey'

One way to introduce your children to the wonders of space is through popular movies and TV shows. There are a large variety of space-themed movies out there made for viewers of all ages. Classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Martian, A Trip to the Moon, and Moon are all great in helping your kids get excited about space and spark in them questions about it. Some recent movies that will help your children visualise space include Gravity, Apollo 11, First Man, etc.


Read space-related books:

Be it fiction or non-fiction, there is a wide range of books in the market either about or set in space. If your child is a reader, these books will pique their curiosity and expand their thirst for knowledge about space. Some great examples of books you can gift that inquisitive niece/nephew are The Martian, Project Hail Mary, Spaceboy, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Midnight on the Moon, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, etc.

Stargazing:

Stars often point to a world out there that is exciting and mysterious. Cultivating an interest in stargazing can be a great activity to make your children more aware of the universe. Occasionally take them outdoors on a clear night, and spend time with them; teach them the basic constellations, trace the shape of stars, and show them how to spot the differences between stars and planets. These are great teaching moments, and even if your child does not become an intergalactic expert, they will still greatly treasure the memory of you just being present with them. Today, there are even mobile apps that can help map the different constellations in the sky.


Visit a Planetarium

Space can be a pretty abstract concept to define or explain. A great way to help your child visualise space is by taking them to a planetarium or observatory. Many planetariums have interactive exhibits that allow children to learn about the solar system, galaxies, and space travel. They have guides, audio-visual material, and beautiful visual representations of astronomical concepts that can explain space to children far better than words can.

Currently, the UAE has 6 planetariums: Dubai Mall Planetarium, Children’s City Science Center, GEMS World Academy Planetarium, Sharjah Planetarium, Sharjah Science Museum, and Sharjah Center for Astronomy and Space Sciences.

Do space-themed activities and toys

If you’re going gift-shopping for a kid, depending on their age and your budget, you could buy them gifts like space-themed puzzles, light projectors, glow-in-the-dark stars, a mini-telescope, space kaleidoscopes, etc. You could also create DIY solar systems, sundials, wall hangings – even space-themed food could be a fun activity to be closer to them and their interests.

While it’s not possible or recommended to force interests, you as a parent or an adult can always expand your child’s horizon and curiosity by feeding into their interests in fun and educational ways. Space is a field with so much scope both today and in the future, and this could be a great way to inspire your children to look beyond daily life and explore the wonders of the universe. Whether or not their interest in space sticks, it will help them develop a scientific temper and a love for learning.


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