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Astronomical Games


Pass the Mars Rock

(Based on the classic “Hot Potato” game)
Players sit in a circle with one player holding a Mars rock (rock, ball of foil or bean bag, etc.). The music begins and the Mars rock is passed around the circle until the music stops. The player holding the Mars rock when the music stops is out of the game. The music begins again and the players continue with the game until there is only one player left.

Mars Rock Dig

Bury balls of tin foil or large rocks in a sand box. The child who finds the most Mars rocks wins a prize.

Mars Rover, Mars Rover
(Based on the Red Rover Game.)
Make nametags with the picture and the name of a Space Shuttle or satellite on it. Attach a nametag to each player. Each player will assume the name of a Mars rover, a satellite or Space Shuttle, such as Spirit, Opportunity, Stardust, Hubble, Chandra, Atlantis and so on. Players will be known by the name on their tag for the duration of the party.
Two lines of players are formed, with each line having three or more players.
Each line joins hands then stands facing each other about 15 feet apart. One person calls "Mars Rover, Mars Rover, let Spirit," or one of the other names on the tags, "come over." The object is to keep the other team's person from breaking through your line. If they do not break the line, you keep them and they join your side. If they break through, you do not keep them. They get to choose a person to take back with them and join their team. The team with the most players wins.

What's in the Space Glove?
With very thick mittens on a player's hands, the player holds her hands behind her back and the player tries to guess what object is placed in her hand. Players look first at the objects that are being used. Point out that this is one of the difficulties when working in space -- the inability to feel the object with which you are working.

Here are more things to do with mittens. The players must draw a picture with a paintbrush while wearing boxing gloves or very thick mittens on their hands.

Another variation is to have the player put washers and a nut on a bolt while wearing boxing gloves or very thick mittens.

Let's Take Water to the Space Station
This is a relay race that is best played outside. Give each team a cloth or sponge, a basin with water in it and an empty bucket. Put the basin at the start line that represents Earth. The bucket at the finish line represents the Space Station. The team that manages to bring the greatest amount of water by soaking the cloth in the basin and then squeezing it out into the bucket wins the game.

Dock the Shuttle
This is a game that can be turned into a space-themed activity. Use a coffee can with a plastic lid on it as the container to catch the clothespins. Cut a hole into the plastic lid large enough for clothespins to fit through. Then decorate the can. A bottle with a wide mouth can also be decorated and used. Wooden clothespins (ones without springs) can also be decorated to look like Space Shuttles. Stand over the target with a clothespin. Drop the clothespin and try to hit the target. Whoever gets the most pins to go into the can wins.

Mars Landing
You can make a Mars Landing game (Bean Bag Toss,) easily by using a double layer of poster board glued together and a large box. Use the large box as a base and attach the poster board to one side of it. Before attaching the poster board, paint a picture of Mars on it, allowing for one or more holes to be cut into the poster and box. Each hole has a number beside it, to allow scorekeeping. Determine the distance to throw from. Keep score. Beanbags can be made of socks, stuffed with beans and tied or sewn. Be sure the bags are not bigger than the holes in the box and poster. The player with the highest score wins the game.

Spaceship, Spaceship, Who Has the Spaceship?
A person is chosen to be "it" and hides his eyes while a small spaceship or other object is given to a player to hide in his lap or behind his back. This is done by having one person with the object clasped between hands held together in a "prayer-like position," which goes to each player in turn, and pretends to slip the object into their hands.

The players hold their hands in a "prayer-like" position in front while the person pretends to slip the object into their hands. "It" then has three chances to guess which player has the spaceship. All players hide their hands in their laps or behind their backs and pretend have the spaceship.

Players are asked to "discover" a new planet. To discover a planet, first they must blow up a balloon as large as possible. Then, "to inhabit" this planet with humans, they use a permanent marker to draw on the balloon as many little men and women as possible. The player who has the greatest number of people on the balloon is the winner.  (Thanks for NASA)

Land the Space Shuttle
Save money by making this quickly and simply at home… 

(a re-make of the classic Pin the Tail on the Donkey game)

Before the party, cut out colored space shuttles (Internet has plenty of educational sites) and write one guest name on each shuttle.  Searching the Internet again, locate a space type photo, i.e., planets (select one planet as the landing site), the moon, etc. and place up on a wall or door.  One at a time, give the player a Space Shuttle, place a blindfold around the head so he/she cannot see, turn around 3 times, point them towards the pinned-up photo (game board) on the wall and then it is a “GO”.  Player walks to the game board and places his/her Space Shuttle where it will be the closes to the “Landing Site”.  There should be an adult at the game board who either tapes or pins the players Space Shuttle where it ‘landed’ on the game board.  The player that comes closest to the “Landing Site” is the winner.  Very simple game – leave game board photo and shuttles on the wall for a little added party decorations.  Photos at http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/reference/basics/index.html

This is a memory-type of game.   Each player provides a space-named food when it is their turn.  Variation:  Provide prizes for the most creative food name, most awful food name, etc.

Players sit in a circle. The first player starts by saying, "On the Space Station, I like to eat Moon Dust Hamburgers." The next player must repeat, "On the Space Station, I like to eat Moon Dust Hamburgers ..." and adds another dish, for instance, and Mars Candy Bars.  The next player will say, “On the Space Station, I like to eat Moon Dust Hamburgers, Mars Candy Bars and Rocket French Fries. This continues all the way around the circle with each player reciting the dishes in the exact order they have been given and then adding a new one. If a player makes a mistake, he or she drops out of the circle and the game continues with the remaining players. The last person left who can perfectly recite the Space Station dinner menu wins.  Suggestion:  If there are a lot of guests, consider dividing guests into smaller groups.

THANKS to the fabulous and educational
Website provided by NASA at


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