Best space toys and gifts for kids, 2022
Searching for a present for a young astro enthusiast? Our guide to the best space toys and gifts for kids may have exactly what you're looking for.
So many kids love space and astronomy, and it's not difficult to fathom why. The Universe is an incredible place filled with awe-inspiring phenomena in the shape of galaxies, black holes, asteroids and strange planets orbiting distant stars.
Children are great at absorbing knowledge about space: facts about the Solar System, the history of spaceflight and the Apollo missions, the vastness of the cosmos.
This makes space-themed toys and astronomy gifts great for inspiring young minds and - who knows - encouraging the next generation of astronomers, astrophysicists and astronauts.
If you're on the hunt for space gifts and toys for children and young astronomers, take inspiration from our kids' gift guide below.
And if you're specifically looking for a telescope for a young astronomer, read our guide to the best telescopes for kids.
Looking for a gift for older space fans? Read our guide to the best space gifts.
24 space toys and astronomy gift ideas for kids
Solar System stress balls
Help your kids learn more about the Solar System with these squishy, bouncy stress balls that represent our Sun, the Earth and its Moon, and the rest of the planets. This 10-piece set includes soft foam balls that each depict the characteristics of the Solar System planets, enabling children to become familiar with the worlds of our cosmic neighbourhood. Enthusiastic young astronomers may also enjoy arranging the planets in order of distance from the Sun, helping them conceptualise their orbits and Earth’s place in the Solar System.
Mars glass marble
Keep the Red Planet in your pocket with this mini Mars marble. The tiny globe measures 1 an inch across and depicts the Martian mountains and icecaps.
- Buy now from House of Marbles
Which of our Solar System’s moons is the biggest? Takes the longest time to orbit? Has the highest potential for life? Find out by using these cards to pit 36 moons against each other in a game of top trumps.
- Buy now from Ou Students Shop
Animals in the Sky
Help the little astronomer in your life learn the constellations. Each page of this book shows a star pattern alongside a clue of what it might depict, then unfolds to show which animal the stars are said to make.
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Space Swirl Colored Pencils
Kids will love these two-tone colouring pencils emblazoned with beautiful NASA images of space. Use them to sketch your favourite galaxies or exoplanets, or recreate the etheral beauty of deep-sky nebulae.
BrainBox Space Game
Put your knowledge of all things cosmic to the test with this card-based game. Study a fact card for 10 seconds then answer a question based on the roll of the die. Topics include the Apollo missions, celestial objects and constellations.
Kidz Labs Solar System Planetarium
This build-your-own model of the Solar System is great for kids who are fascinated by the planets and who are also up for a bit of crafty DIY. The model is 30cm wide and is glow-in-the-dark, so if your child loves gazing at those glowing star stickers on their wall at night, this may be the perfect gift.
BBC Sky at Night Magazine subscription
Help kids and young astronomers keep up to date with the latest observing advice, astronomy guides and space news with a subscription to BBC Sky at Night Magazine. UK readers can get 6 issues for £9.99 when they sign up to subscribe via the Buy Subscriptions website.
These officially licensed 1,000-piece NASA jigsaws are for kids who love jigsaws but also like a challenge.
Assemble your own star globe to see the stars every night. The stylish black and white design looks good during the day, then at night the stars glow in the dark.
Ravensburger Map of the Universe jigsaw
This jigsaw depicting a map of the observable Universe is aimed at kids aged 12 and over, and it’s not difficult to see why. A 1,500-piece puzzle, it depicts the intricacies of the cosmos and the end result is something surely worth framing for a bedroom wall. Who knows, it could end up inspiring the next Stephen Hawking…
Laika cuddly toy dog
Street dog Laika (‘little barker’ in Russian) helped pave the way for human spaceflight when she flew onboard Sputnik-2 in 1957. Indeed, she was one of many animals in space who paved the way for human spaceflight. Though Laika didn’t make it back to Earth, you can continue her legacy by giving this toy to the next generation of spacefarers.
- Buy now from Science Museum
Storklings Spaceman Soft Toy
This 32cm-tall cuddly spaceman is perfect for young, budding astronauts and is made from soft fabric, making it an ideal bedtime companion for small children.
JackInTheBox Space Explorer DIY Box
This craft box aimed at kids aged 5 and above includes 6 different craft activities including a rocket experiment, creating Solar System wind chime, a cosmic kaleidoscope and learning the phases of the Moon.
- Buy now from Hamleys
Build your own telescope kit
This cardboard telescope kit is a great project for kids to get involved in and features all the lenses, mirrors and parts needed to build your own telescope for observing the night sky. Plus, its build-your-own design is a great way of teaching young astronomers how telescopes work.
Space Racers: Make Your Own Paper Rockets
So you've made your own cardboard telescope, now how about making your own paper rockets? This paper rocket kit is ideal for the young or young at heart and includes such iconic rocket designs as the Vostok K, the Space Shuttle and even a 60cm-tall Saturn V.
Deep Space Home Planetarium & Projector
Turn off the lights, draw the curtains and turn your bedroom into a planetarium. This planetary projector has two domes and projects 24 different colour NASA images. It includes rotating star patterns and had its own stand. For more ideas, read our guide to the best home planetariums.
NASA Space Shuttle Construction Kit
Get ready for launch with this NASA Space Shuttle Construction Kit. This challenging build features over 450 pieces, which screw together to create an attractive display model of the iconic Space Shuttle to stand on your shelf.
Playmobil Mars Research Vehicle
If you know a young, budding rover operator or planetary scientist, this toy Mars research vehicle may be just the thing. It comes with a grippler, drill bit and functioning lights and sounds.
Exqline Kids Space Play Tent
This kids play tent features illustrations of the planets and spacecraft and is suitable for indoor and outdoor use, making it a great play den for a bedroom or living room, or a fun way of camping in the back garden under the stars.
LEGO International Space Station
Build your own International Space Station with this 864-piece LEGO set. The set has posable solar panels and comes with a mini Space shuttle, three cargo spacecraft and two astronaut microfigures.
For more, read our pick of the best Lego space sets.
LEGO Apollo 11 Moon lander
Recreate Armstrong and Aldrin’s legendary moonwalk using LEGO's new Apollo 11 lunar lander set. The 1,087-piece set features a detailed replica of the Eagle lander on the Moon’s surface, complete with mini-footprints and US flag.
Homestar Original Planetarium
Bring the Milky Way to your home with this planetarium projector. Swap the image disc to change the view or enjoy your own personal meteor shower with the shooting star function.
Saturn V Lego Set
The Saturn V rocket was the spacecraft that launched human beings beyond low-Earth orbit to put feet on the surface of the Moon for the first time. It was developed during the Apollo programme and would later launch the first American space station, Skylab.
This LEGO set enables you to construct your own Saturn V rocket, and comes complete with its own Apollo lunar lander and command capsule. The kit includes 1,969 pieces and the finished rocket stands over 1m tall. The Saturn V may now be a piece of spaceflight history, but this LEGO set is a testament to its iconic design.
For more options, read our guide to the best Saturn V rocket models.
Iain Todd is BBC Sky at Night Magazine's Content Editor. He fell in love with the night sky when he caught his first glimpse of Orion, aged 10.