If your child is as obsessed about space exploration as mine, you have come to the right place. Here is a list of the absolute best, educational space toys I have researched on the market.
The toys and games listed in this article are not sorted by age because each child is different and age-appropriateness is really very relative. For example, below you will see Adèle playing with toys intended for 14-21 year olds and also games that are intended for kids younger than her. So when choosing the right space toy, pay attention to the following:
- Your child’s dexterity
- Your child’s interests at the moment (example: is she interested in construction? role play? repetition? puzzle? etc.) Developmentally, what is she trying to learn and master right now?
- Is the toy intended for independent use or as an invitation to connect and play together?
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Lets start with Planets in Time – a company which makes beautiful PERSONALISED prints for your home. Planets in Time use NASA algorithms to accurately plot the planets to your special date, so the print make the ideal gift for birthdays, anniversary, or any other special occasions!
EDUCATIONAL SPACE TOYS FOR KIDS
- Hape Discovery Space Center Kid’s Wooden Playscape Set with Accessories – If your child is interested in space, you really can’t go wrong with this set. It’s designed like a doll house and assembling it is as educational and fun as playing with it. What Adèle likes most is the working “elevator” and the detachable top part of the rockets. It is quite big and impressive when assembled, but because the parts are detachable, it is very compact and easy to store away. Like other Hape toys, this space center is made from wood and has a non-toxic paint finish. The included accessories are very cute – there is even an alien and a shovel for the astronauts! Hape Discovery Space Center is a recipient of multiple awards and is loved by kids big and small – making it an excellent birthday or holiday gift.
- Lottie Star Gazer Doll – This award-winning doll is for kids of all ethnicities and are inspiring and empowering. The company’s motto is “Be Bold, Be Brave, BE YOU!” Lottied does NOT wear make-up, high heels nor jewelry and has real body proportions of a 9 year old child. Lottie dolls are great because they provide a positive body image and are more realistic. PLUS, you can add fun accessories like this inspiring Astronaut Adventures Clothing Set for creative pretend play. Adèle loves dressing up her Lottie doll and using it with her Hape Discovery Space Center.
- Emarth Portable Telescope for Kids – This telescope is designed specifically for kids and is easy to use and set up. It comes with interchangeable eyepieces and is the perfect gift for a budding astronomer.
- LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V 21309 Building Kit – This kit comes with almost 2000 pieces and is recommended for 14+ year olds, but Adèle was over the moon (no pun intended 🙂 ) when she received it as a holiday gift from her grandpa when she was 4. She said “It’s not too difficult and not too easy.” I think this is because she likes art and realism whereas most children that age prefer toys that can move, things with actions or stories. At that age I had to help her follow some of theinstructions as she would at times flip pieces over and it took her 3 weeks to build. A few parts were a bit fragile or too hard to push in for her little fingers, but otherwise she loved the idea of building her own spaceship step-by-step. It’s a beautiful lego set and would take an older child approximately 4 hours to build. So what I’d like to say is that don’t be dissuaded by the age requirement if your child is younger. It’s a set that can be played by children and adults so think of it as a life-time investment.
- LEGO – 21312 – Ideas Women of NASA – This set is a great addition to any of the lego sets mentioned in this article. It includes 4 pioneer women of NASA and an instruction manual with their biographies.
- LEGO Creator Space Shuttle Explorer 31066 Building Kit (285 Piece) – This set is really 3 in one, so it’s a good value for money. The Space Shuttle kit ir Recommended for ages of 7 and 12 years old but, once again, don’t be dissuaded by that. If your child likes space and building, this is a sturdy, educational set that can also be used as a beautiful decoration when not in use.
- PLAYMOBIL Space Shuttle – Made with high quality, sturdy plastic, Playmobil toys are very detailed and have parts that move. This usually appeals to children under 10 for creative role playing games. This shuttle is very fun because it comes with working lights.
- PLAYMOBIL Space Rocket with Launch Site – This toy is great because it’s quite realistic and robust yet fiddly enough and encourages a lot of open ended play.
- PLAYMOBIL® Toy – Mars Rocket with Launch – Same as above and we love that both toys can be assembled and have compartments to move, open and remove.
Excellent for STEM education, these three are hands-on, rocket launching science kits:
- Great Gizmos 4M Kidz Labs Cosmic Rocket
- 4M Water Rocket Kit
- Klutz Air Power: Rocket Science Made Simple Craft Kit – With this kit you can build a rocket AND a helicopter.
- Petit Collage Magnetic Scene, Outer Space– This game comes with 50+ magnetic pieces so that your child can decorate space-related scenes. There are 2 backgrounds to choose from and all pieces store away neatly in the portable box. Great for imaginative, creative play and suitable for preschoolers. It’s made from non-toxic vegetable inks and recycled materials.
- Orchard Toys Rocket Game – Made from recycled board, this game is for 2-4 players and helps develop counting skills, social skills and matching skills.
- Djeco Tap Tap Space Game – This space-inspired hammering game will help your child with her fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It comes with instructions for building space rockets and vehicles, and also encourages creative play as your child can design whatever she’d like with the included pieces.
- Magformers Space Traveler Set (35 Piece) Magnetic Building Blocks, – You can purchase this kit on its own, but it’s also a fantastic addition to bigger Magformers sets like this one that Adèle has been using for years now. It’s excellent for STEM education as well as fostering creativity and imaginative play.
- Learning Resources Inflatable Solar System Set – How fun is this toy!? Perfect for kinesthetic and visual learners, this inflatable Solar System set comes with all the planets, the moon AND Pluto. Kids love balls. These ones come with a pump and can even be washed. Great for active play. Great for classrooms and group play. Plus, kids of any age can use them, and adults too, of course! You will have a lot of fun bonding with your child and learning together. It even comes with loops for easy hanging. This toy gets extra points from us for encouraging physical activity in both kids and adults! 😉
- Janod Super Rocket Magnet Kit – An original take on a traditional stacking toy! This rocket is wooden but has magnets inside so the pieces hold together. The propeller on the bottom of the toy spins and the center of the rocket rotates which makes it more fun for little ones.
Puzzles are one of my favorite gifts for kids because they improve your child’s memory, fine motor skills, problem solving, hand-eye coordination and shape recognition. Here are our favorite space-related puzzles and the reasons why we like them so much:
- Crocodile Creek Solar System 72Pc Junior Puzzle – Very cute illustrations and printed with soy-based inks!
- Space 100 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle for Kids – This puzzle is original because it’s holographic and gives a 3D effect.
- Melissa & Doug Solar System Floor Puzzle – When assembled, this Solar System puzzle is 2 feet x 3 feet and has 48 pieces so perfect for playing on the floor.
Adèle loves press-out toys, paper models as well as origami. So, I’m always on the lookout for best paper DIY toys and press-out models as well as original origami papers. Here are some of the best space-related ones on the market:
- Space Racers: Make Your Own Paper Rockets – You can even make a replica of Saturn V (the one that landed on the moon) as well as 7 other historical rockets! Isn’t paper amazing!?!
- Cubicfun-National Geographic NASA Space Mission Ship Toy 3D Puzzle for Kids with Booklet – the manfacture states that it’s made from eco-friendly materials and foam. We haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on our list. You don’t need to use glue for this kit which is a big plus, especially for a traveling family. 😉
- Origami Space (Amazing Origami) – Easy instructions for space-related origami. This one is for children and beginners. A fun way to merge art and science and a creative STEM activity for any age.
- Make Your Own Spaceship – No glue and no scissors are needed to make these models, so this set is perfect for travel as well as taking to cafes or anywhere on the go.
- Make Your Own Press-Out Spaceships – This is a book with 4 press-out models. So your child will learn various facts about space AND have a creative activity to solidify the newly acquired knowledge.
- Air and Space Origami Kit – If you have been following my blog, you know how much Adèle loves origami. This kit comes with origami papers, stickers and an instruction booklet that will help your child make realistic-looking models of rockets, spaceships, UFOs, airplanes, astronauts, aliens, space shuttles, hot air balloons, etc. Another great gift to take along on long distance trips.
ORIGINAL SPACE GIFTS FOR KIDS
- Original 3D Crystal Puzzle – Saturn – This is a unique, 3D translucent puzzle with 39 pieces.
- Moon In My Room Remote Control Wall Décor Night Light – Uncle Milton – The moon can hang on a wall and shows 12 phases of the moon. It’s operated with a remote control, so I recommended it for older children as a room decor.
- 4M Create A Night Sky Projection Kit – Kidz Labs – This is a fun kit for a detailed-oriented child who loves punching holes and hands-on creativities.
- Planet Plates Set – 8 melamine dinner plates, each representing a different planet.
- PlanetBox Rover Eco-Friendly Stainless Steel Bento Lunch Box – We’ve been using our Planet box lunch boxes for 4 years now and every time Adele uses it at a cafe, people stare and ask where they can get one. It has 5 compartments and this size is large enough for both children and adults with good appetites. Because it’s made from stainless steel, it is very eco-friendly and also practical. We wash our in the dishwasher or by hand and what we like most is that food doesn’t mix inside when you close it. Also, Adèle like to play with the magnets as they attach easily to the stainless steel. You can also purchase extra blank magnets that your child can draw on themselves – making their own DIY magnet art this way. Oh, and the carry bag is very practical to have because it has a compartment for an ice pack, a water bottle, and a larger pocket that we use for fruit, washcloth, etc.
- The Constellations Glow-In-The-Dark Star Map (Northern Hemisphere) – A glow-in-the-dark map is a beautiful and educational wall decor.
For Solar System toys and activities, read my article and recommendations here.
And if you want a non-tangible gift, why not Name a Star?