How to keep your child interested in Space Science

Does your child wish to explore our galaxy? Does Space Science fascinate him? Do not discourage him from dreaming big. Instead, keep fuelling his interest. Here’s how you can do it.

By Dr Priscilla J S Selvaraj

How to keep your child interested in Space Science

‘Guardian of the Galaxy’: 9-year-old kid writes an adorable letter to NASA for their new job opening’ read The Indian Express headlines dated Aug 4, 2017. Little Jack Davis wrote a letter to NASA for a job- opening listing out points why he should be considered for the job. His parents shared it on Reddit and there’s been a big buzz on social media platforms about the boy’s determination.

Well, if your child too aspires to be a ‘Guardian of the Galaxy’ and is drawn towards Space Science, read on to find out how you should keep her interested in it.

Before delving into the specifics, both you and your child should understand that working at a Space Centre doesn’t mean being an astronaut or an aerospace engineer alone. Work profiles at Space Centres include mathematicians, scientists, accountants, human resource personnel, educators and so on. If not actually stepping into space, your child might even get to send someone into space. So, whatever your child is good at, let him pursue it with passion and dedication. Remember, excelling in academics is the main criterion for a career in Space. That, coupled with physical fitness are the key parameters that recruiters at Space Centres look for while selecting candidates. Keeping these in mind, let us take a look at six ways to keep fuelling your child’s interest in Space Science.

1. Reading books: Introduce your child to the world of Space Science through books on the subject. Whether it is science fiction or children’s general knowledge books related to space, introduce your child to them early on. Nothing like books to transport your little ones into the fascinating world of space. Here’s a suggested list of books to choose from:

Ages 3-5

Look inside space by Rob Lloyd Jones

Hello, World! Solar System by Jill McDonald

Ages 6-9

Margaret and the Moon by Dean Robbins

Looking up! The Science of Stargazing by Joe Rao

Pluto’s secret: An Icy World’s Tale of Discovery by Margaret A Weitekamp & David DeVorkin

Ages 10-12

Chasing Space by Leland Melvin

Space Encyclopedia: A Tour of our Solar System and beyond by David A Aguilar

Ages 13+

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Hello, Is this Planet Earth? by Tim Peake

2. Having space-themed parties: Here’s how to combine fun with learning. Plan birthday or house parties on the theme of space. Involve your child and, maybe, her friends or cousins, in getting the props, setting and costumes ready. Try to go ‘home-made’ as far as possible. That way, the preparation will be a learning experience for your child.

3. Engaging in space projects: Plan projects on various space topics for long weekends or the vacation. Help your child to research and read up all she can on the topic. She can create models, tableaus, PowerPoint presentations or albums on the topic chosen. You can even plan a community or neighbourhood space exhibition.

4. Going on field trips: Why not choose visits to planetariums and space centres for holiday outings with your child? You can combine fun and learning. Your child will get to see space scientists at work and even get to watch special documentaries at the site.

5. Watching special space programmes and events: Whenever there is a satellite launch or an eclipse, make sure you get your child to watch it. If you can do it live, nothing like it. The run-up to the count-down will surely excite your child.

6. Joining space clubs: Space clubs offer a good opportunity for your child to learn all she can about space science. If your child’s school offers one, make sure your child enrols in it. Or else, check out your neighbourhood for similar clubs. Even online clubs can prove useful and interesting. Check out ‘NASA Kids’ club’ on NASA’s website – the place for your child!

With all these activities, you can surely keep your child’s interest in Space Science alive.