10 space activities for the school holidays

Space activities
Space chess, anyone? Here's astronaut Greg Chamitoff having a quick game from inside the International Space Station. Image: NASA

Houston, we have a problem, and it’s called school holiday boredom.

Lucky for you, we’re here to bust that boredom with 10 fun space activities. From podcast recommendations to learning how to make a burrito in space, there’s something here for everyone!

Got any other space-themed suggestions? Leave them in the comments below.

1. Listen to space podcasts

If you’re looking for a new STEM-tastic podcast, we’ve got you. These are perfect to pop up on when you’re out for a walk or doing some chores!

2. Create a black hole

Science experiments are the best, even in the holidays! Grab some al foil, a balloon, a scale, a tape measure and a pair of scissors, and you can create a cosmic body of extremely intense gravity from which even light cannot escape.*

* Not really, but you’ll get to learn about the important role of density in black holes in just over two minutes!

3. Visit an observatory

Everyone should add this to their space activities bucket list! We are so lucky to have a wide range of great observatories in Australia. New South Wales has the Sydney Observatory, South Australia has the Arkaroola Astronomical Observatory, Queensland has the Mount Kent Observatory… A quick Google search will tell you where your nearest is. Here you can gaze at the stars and planets through telescopes AND pick the brains of the clever people who work there.

4. Hit up the library for space reads

There are stacks of brilliant astronaut biographies to borrow these school holidays! Here are a few suggestions:

  • An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Chris Hadfield (a retired Canadian astronaut and spaceship commander)
  • Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins (the third astronaut on Apollo 11)
  • Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space by Lynn Sherr

5. Watch the Careers with STEM: Science and Space Webinar

In this webinar, you’ll hear from Vanessa Zapeda, a PhD candidate in astrobiology at QUT. She’s undertaken two internships at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and through her research is searching for the answer to the most profound question facing humanity: are we alone in the universe?

6. Take a selfie

The new NASA Selfies app lets you don a virtual spacesuit and pose in front of cool cosmic locations, like the Orion Nebula and the centre of the Milky Way! It’s super easy to use too. Just snap a photo of yourself, pick your background, and share to all your socials.

7. Point your phone at the night sky

Want to know what all those twinkling stars up above are called? If you’ve got an Android device, download Sky Map. It’s a hand-held planetarium that you can use to identify stars, planets, nebulae and more. Need an iPhone version? Check out Distant Suns.

8. Learn how to make a burrito in space

Not sure about you, but we spend quite a bit of time wondering how astronauts go about their day in space. This video gives some fun insight into why burritos are actually the ultimate space food, and now we want to activate an anti-gravity forcefield in the Careers with STEM kitchen to try this out.

9. Binge on space quizzes

There’s nothing like doing a whole bunch of quizzes to whittle away time on a slow afternoon!

Take these space-themed ones for a spin:

And if you want even more quizzes, head on over to the Careers with STEM quiz hub.

10. Flick through the Careers with STEM: Space magazines

Careers with STEM Space 2022

We’ve got not one, but two to delve into!

Careers with STEM: Space 2022 is a special 8-page deep-dive on outta-this-world career opportunities.

Find out how when it comes to space careers, the sky really is the limit! Read it here.

Then space walk back in time and have a read of Careers with STEM: Space 2021.

It this issue, we talk about jobs in space law and space medicine, and shine the light on STEM experts working within space careers with skills in manufacturing, coding, research and communication. Check it out here.

Looking for more STEM and space activities? Try these boredom busters!

Louise Meers

Author: Louise Meers

Louise is Careers with STEM’s digital content strategist. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.

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