Just like my generation, the kids of today don’t need to be prodded to look to the heavens. It’s there all around us, from space based shooter games to sci-fi movies. It’s all quite natural now.
That’s entertainment, so why not put in a mix of education and inspiration into it with the space based fun tools from NASA for kids? The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is taking us to the final frontier. It is also doing a lot to inspire the next generation to make that great crossing.
Adults (and even children) can read the superb post on 10 Cool Online Apps and Interactive Features Offered by NASA. Those who are younger can be rocketed towards NASA’s own dedicated space themed kiddie websites.
Here are six:
NASA Kids Club is a collection of fact based games. You can choose any five of the skill levels. The education games range from memory games to space puzzles and everything in between. Whichever of the five levels you choose; the games give you some amount of knowledge of space, the solar system, or of space flight itself.
Here’s a quick walkthrough through the list of NASA games for kids.
Four other games are grouped on the homepage. They require a slightly higher skill level. The STS Memory game and Let’s Fly Away are the simplest. If you prefer something more challenging, try out the mission based Buzz Lightyear Returns From Space. The game has six modules based around the building of the International Space Station.
The Space Place is meant for elementary school kids. The site has hands-on projects, animations illustration complex facts simply, interactive games, and puzzles. It is also a great resource for educators who can take the help of the Projects section for homework assignments and the Teacher’s Corner for assorted space themed printouts.
From word scrambles to time based activity games, the 30 odd games on the site are very simple and apt for elementary school kids.
NASA’s Earth imagery technologies continue to teach us more about our own planet. The games section on this sub-site of NASA helps to notch up your child’s knowledge about Earth with a few simple but challenging games. For instance, the Droplet and the Water Cycle game is all about navigating a water molecule through the entire chain of precipitation to evaporation!
The little games can also be downloaded to your computer (Windows and Mac) for offline play.
This is another place to learn about the scientific theories of nature and space with easy to grasp interactive simulations and games. Your child can learn about the Earth, the sun, the solar system, and the universe with games and activities explaining the processes.
For instance, check out the PDF files that help to make cool paper models of spacecrafts or the cooler Become a Martian Citizen program.
Brain Bites is the NASA simple take on how things work in space and in the space program. Brain Bites is a neat collection of how and why questions that answered via a small Flash player on the site.
Wonder what your child would look like wearing a space suit? Space Your Face tells you as it lets you upload a photo or use a random one (the cat in the screenshot!). You get to choose the site of your moon landing from the three choices given. In the end you have the cool dancing astronaut jigging to a background score on the moon.
It’s all explained with a factoid of what NASA is planning for its moon mission. Budget cuts might curtail NASA’s mission to go back to the moon, but there’s nothing stopping your child from dreaming about it on the browser.
Using The NASA Search Engine
NASA is as huge on the web as it is in real. Get a bit of search help from NASA and their. You can also power up the Advanced Search to go deeper. Searching with keywords like “˜games’ or “˜games for kids’ will yield quite a list of results.
Fun and games are all right. But if you are really serious about pursuing your interest in space, NASA has a full fledged educational resource that contains all the links we have visited previously.
Why should kids have all the fun? I am waiting for the release of Moonbase Alpha. By the time you read this post, this Massively Multiplayer Online game will probably have been released.
What do you think about NASA’s educational games for kids?
Image Credit: loomingy1