Best Space Toys & Gifts For Kids

by Rachel Sokol

Best Space Toys & Gifts For Kids
Shop Story

Let’s just be honest–whether you’re 2 or 62, outer space is simply fascinating. What’s OUT there, besides stars, plants, and black holes? Can humans really live on Mars someday? Are we ‘alone’ out there? What’s it really like to be an astronaut? So many questions! My daughter is forever peppering me with questions about all the planets in our solar system. But until we have specific space answers for all our kid’s space inquiries (UFOs, anyone?) they’ll have to just keep busy with toys that are out-of-this-world. Here’s a round-up of our personal favorites on the market:

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Playmobil Mars Space Station


You do need to construct this realistic model yourself, but that’s obviously the point of a toy space station with all the bells and whistles. This set has many intricate little ship details, from lights, to ramps, as well as a docking station and (plastic) toy astronauts. There’s even a double laser shooter--plastic, of course--and a rotating hatch for the astronauts to enter. To access the station’s hub interior, just pull off the station's clear, removable roof to get “all hands on deck.” This collection is an awesome replica of a real space station, right down to a rotating hatch--the little details are impressive. Other pieces in this model include a (miniature) robot, telescope, video recorder, and more. Comes with 2AAA batteries. Recommended age: 6-10

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Discovery Kids Planetarium Projector


Planetariums are awesome--and I’m not just saying that because I live near the famous Hayden Planetarium. But what if you could bring the planetarium home with you? Now you can with this mini projector. This Amazon’s Choice must-have comes with 4 discs featuring moons, planets, and galaxies that with the touch of a button will project large space images across your ceiling; the device’s stand can be adjusted easily to fit your ceiling’s width for the perfect angle. On the device, STARS mode displays star clusters across your kid’s room, or, in SPACE mode, just insert one of the discs to view Mercury, Venus, and the other planets and moons. Yay for STEM--and the ability to sleep under the stars, indoors! Recommended age: 4+

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Melissa & Doug Solar System Floor Puzzle


This 48-piece puzzle showcases our vast and colorful solar system; and is nice and wide at 36” L x 24” W. Screen time is great in doses, so on a rainy day, instead of whipping out the iPads, encourage your kids to put together this 48-piece color made of thick, sturdy cardboard. It also makes a great gift--it’s practical and provides tons of quiet fun. Puzzles of all kinds help children develop strong problem solving skills (Where does this go? Does this fit in this spot?) while also assisting kids in the development of hand-eye coordination. The space design is so nice, once the puzzle is completed, use a flat board to flip it over, spread Modge Podge on the back with a paintbrush, let dry, and hang the completed puzzle on the wall for a beautiful display. Recommended age: 3-6

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Daron Worldwide Trading Inc. Space Shuttle


A nice, “My first spaceship,” this kit is perfect for a younger kid, around age 3, who is interested in discovery and model machines, but too young for an intricate, detailed space model set. The package contains a brightly colored, modern-looking space shuttle with operating doors, astronaut figurines, and a stand for the ship. This collection can help your youngster develop an early interest in aeronautics. Reviewers gushed that this Amazon’s Choice product is engaging for young kids since it comes with basic accessories that won’t overwhelm them (or are too confusing to set up). Just note that the toy astronauts do NOT fit into the shuttle. Recommended age: 3-6

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USA Toyz Rocketship Play Tent


There’s something so special about a cozy little nook, and they’re even better when they’re shaped like a rocket ship! This roomy tent, adorned with shiny silver stars, fits 3 kiddos inside, has breathable mesh windows for safety, and comes with a handheld projection toy and discs of space-related images. The front “door’ of the tent rolls up for easy access, and is pretty wide as far as tent doors go; the tent itself is simple to assemble with soft but sturdy poles--no tools necessary. One happy customer says, “it's such good quality and size--the kids love it!” The tent itself measures 51” H x 40.5”, is made of PVC-free polyester and comes with a carrying case. Recommended age: 3+

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Elmchee Star Night Light


This amazing device can bring the stars in the sky into the bedroom--it’s a multifunctional projector and nightlight. It comes with 3 different star and planet-themed film strips you just insert into the projector and voila! The calming lights shine on your wall or ceiling and at the touch of a button the stars will slowly spin--you’ll even spot some constellations. Reviewers like that the planets/stars movements are gentle and slow and won’t leave your kids dizzy. Also, the nightlight is subtle and not harsh on young, delicate eyes. It’s a great item to help kids who don’t like the dark fall asleep. Make a wish! (Note: Runs on 3 AAA batteries or a USB) Recommended age: all

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NSI Interational’s Magic Rocks Kit


Magic Rocks have been around for decades; there’s a good chance your own parents played with them. A great rainy day activity is to observe ‘moon’ rocks ‘grow.’ Best for older kids, this is how it works: simply place the rocks in water and observe as they grow into a cool rock garden inspired by our 8 planets. (Pluto, we still miss you!) They’ll grow at different heights in just 2-3 hours; some will expand/grow up to 4 inches. When they reach full length, they’ll form colorful crystal formations in the tank they come inside. This particular kit--note there are many on the market--comes with a space-themed background that depicts a rocket ship preparing to blast-off. Recommended age: 10 +

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Astronaut Barbie


What hasn’t Barbie been, professionally? Astronaut Barbie first made her debut in the 80s, and she’s still around being her awesome self. The updated version of Astronaut Barbie (meaning the doll’s been reissued after first hitting shelves years ago) is part of the ubiquitous doll’s You Can Be Anything collection. She’s wearing a snazzy astronaut suit decorated with pockets and wires, safety gloves, boots, and, of course, a helmet. Add this collectible to your child’s doll collection today and inspire them to shoot for the moon--and hey, if they miss, they’ll still be amongst the stars. Recommended age: 3+

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Astronaut Space Pack Super Water Blaster


This astronaut water sprayer can be worn on your back or held in your hand. It holds up to 1 liter of water and sprays out to 30 feet. The backpack part, which is made of sturdy plastic, has adjustable straps to fit kids of all shapes and sizes, and the sprayer itself is red, white, black, and blue; the pack comes with a water hose. The only other pack that’s as (remotely) cool as this one is the Ghostbusters ‘proton pack,’ so get it today. Recommended age: 5-12

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Petit Collage Magnetic Play Scene


Petit Collage has the awesome talent of taking simple toys and making them not only fun, but pretty to look at, so you really feel like you’re getting your money’s worth with their kid-approved products. This space-themed magnetic play set is such a nice toy for preschoolers and I love anything that’s practical and still provides hours of fun--while triggering imaginations. It comes with a mini enclosed (magnetic) easel and all the cartoony astronaut magnets your child needs for creativity. The magnets are soft but sturdy and delicate on little hands with no sharp edges; and easy to pop-out of the sticker-like sheet they come inside. Recommended ages: 4+