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It’s that time of the year when we’re starting to plan for Christmas! If you have a space-obsessed little one like me, I have TONS of gift ideas for you to save you time and energy so you don’t have to do all the searching and researching that I’ve already done. Here is this astro-mom’s gift guide to buying the best gifts for your future astronaut or budding astronomer!
Astronaut Suit + Helmet
What’s an astronaut without his/her suit?! This is a staple item in Finn’s wardrobe. There are weeks when I’ve had to wait for Finn to go to swim class to wash it because he wouldn’t take it off!
Recently, Finn learned that astronauts wear their orange suits for launches and landings – apparently, this makes them easier to spot if they have to make an emergency crash landing (yikes!). He’s informed me that he “needs” an orange astronaut suit in his wardrobe.
So, what does an astronaut wear when they’re just hanging out in the space station? Or when they’re back on earth, doing regular earthling things like eating breakfast or playing with their monster trucks? They gotta have their official NASA shirts, obviously.
Finn has several astronaut t-shirts, but his favorite is an Old Navy NASA tank top that was handed down to us by a friend. But here’s some super sweet tees for your space obsessed kiddos. I’m partial to the retro NASA t-shirt – if I had a daughter, I’d totally get the “Forget princess, I want to be an astronaut” shirt!
These are some of Finn’s favorites. If your kid loves space AND LEGOs, there are tons of options here. Finn loves his Mars Rover and Space Shuttle LEGO sets. If we had unlimited patience (and an unlimited budget) we would get the International Space Station and Saturn V rocket sets as well.
This is a fun one that can be used as a nightlight, or if you take the top dome off, you can use it as a projector for the planets or stars. It also has a “Happy Birthday” insert, which we promptly lost and couldn’t find for Finn’s birthday! Ha.
Finn recently requested a set of glow-in-the-dark stars and planets for his room, so we’ll probably get him something like this. This is a globe/star map projector that is on our list that Finn would love: Little Experimenter Globe for Kids.
This is one that I have a lot of advice about because we tried to get Finn a nice kids’ telescope for his birthday and it really backfired on us. I’ll tell you what we learned so that you don’t make the same mistakes!
As astronomer newbies, my husband and I had no idea how difficult it is to work a telescope, or how many variables there are in the making of a ‘good’ telescope. I spent a lot of time researching telescopes for kids and landed on this one. DO NOT BUY THIS, I do not recommend it. It was far too wobbly to use.
After several DAYS of trying to find Mars and Jupiter, MANY YouTube videos, an hour-long adjustment of the finder scope, and a terrible migraine, I decided to contact our local astronomy club. From there, we found people who actually knew what they were doing and gave us this telescope. They also instructed us on how to use it, adjusted our finder scope for us, and gave us a moon filter.
If you’re purchasing a telescope for your child, it’s incredibly important that you don’t leave it unattended with them – especially during the day. If they look at the sun with the telescope, they will go instantly blind. Additionally, they (and you) should not look at the moon without a moon filter on your eyepiece.
This Orion tabletop telescope would be a good starter telescope. I recommend finding your local astronomy club and attending star meetings with your kiddo! I also suggest downloading a star map to your phone to find the planets, constellations, the International Space Station, and more. We have used SkyViewLite (the free version) and recently upgraded to SkySafari.
Finn received these for his birthday and they are one of his favorite toys ever! He named each of the toy rockets after real rockets/shuttles and gave each of them missions to accomplish. He loves bringing these to the park, where other kids always love to stomp with us!
Space Books Galore
There are so many fantastic space books. We always have a steady stream of space-related books coming in from the library. Here are some of Finn’s favorites:
Finn loves his Space Shuttle Atlantis poster that we got from the Space Foundation Discovery Center in Colorado Springs as well as his Mars Perseverance Rover poster that a friend gave us! We also have a poster of our solar system, the moon, and one of the Space Shuttle Discovery launch.
I hope this list is helpful for you as you buy gifts for your space-loving future astronaut or astronomer!
If you have a kid who LOVES outer space, what are some of their favorite toys or games? Comment below!