outstanding outdoor spaces

Cosmic Ways to Teach Space in the Playground

17 June 2016


Ground Control to Major Tim! The final countdown is underway as amazing astronaut Tim Peake prepares his return to Earth this weekend. We have been captivated and inspired by his updates over the last six months and think his interaction with the public, particularly schools, has been incredible.

June is Science and Discovery Month at Playforce and we’ve been talking about how you can take Science lessons outside, seeing school experiments win great Playforce prizes at Norfolk’s Big Science Event and collecting our favourite Super Awesome Science Videos from across the web. Inspire by Tim Peake, we’re looking at teaching space and have put together some ideas for turning your playground into the Solar System.

Playground Activities

Toilet Paper Solar System:
Use balls, fruit, models or whatever you have to hand to make your planets of the Solar System. Take a roll of toilet paper and this distance guide and head out in the playground. Children have to count the toilet roll squares to measure the relative distances between planets and lay them out on the ground - it’s a great way for students to see how far away the planets are.

Moon Walking:
Grab some stilts, or make your own with buckets and rope, and mark a space race on the playground. The children can time each other to see fast they can race across the moon with the stilts - explain how walking without gravity affects your movement and makes things much more difficult.

Craters on the Moon Experiment:
Use your Playforce Sand and Discovery equipment to set up an experiment about moon craters. Ask the children to collect pebbles of various sizes and move to the sand pit. This is experiment is great with flour but could be done with slightly damp, fine sand too. Ask the children to drop the pebbles onto the flour/sand and observe the craters they leave behind. Explain that this is what happens when space rocks hit the moon as it doesn’t have an atmosphere to protect it like Earth does.

Arts and Crafts


Create your own constellation:
Use black paper and give the children gold stars to stick randomly across their sheet. Using a chalk, the children can join together the start to create their own constellation. Ask them to give their constellation a name and present it to the class with its own myth or story.

Eat like an astronaut:
Why not try making your own astronaut pudding with dried fruit and instant pudding mix! Or dare the children to try different ‘space snacks’ in zip-lock bags - fill them with juice, custard or apple sauce!

Space Videos

Principa Mission/Tim Peake - NASA
Space Shuttle Launch
Outer Space Songs - Storybots
How to…. in Space - VideoFromSpace
Astronomy and Space for Children - Free School
Solar System Tour - Free School

Want more resources? The sky certainly isn’t the limit with these great ideas:

Space Printables - twinkl
How to teach…. space and the solar system - The Guardian
Space Lesson Plans - Science Kids
Teaching Space on Pinterest
How to teach…. astronomy - The Guardian

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