Review by Polly Conway, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2012

NASA Kids' Club

Explore super space-based games and activities for the younger set

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Math
  • Science

Skills
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
K–5
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

Take a look inside

5 images

Pros: Games are well-designed and fun, and the varied levels make the site versatile.

Cons: Not all of the games are educational, and there could be more content.

Bottom Line: A fun, kid-friendly place to get introduced to the wonders of space.

NASA Kids' Club activities and content can be great supplements to a segment on space exploration, astronomy, and even environmental science. The games can be used as a reward or treat after students complete a quiz or have a successful discussion -- some are heavy on learning, while others are focused on fun.

Continue reading Show less

NASA Kids' Club has games and activities from the space agency. The site doesn't require students to register or enter an email address to post comments, which are moderated. However, some parts include links to social media, which are less controlled. A section of the site also offers Internet safety tips for parents and teachers.

Students can find what they want to do quickly and easily right from the main page. It doesn't take long to catch on to the leveled games (1 = easiest, 5 = hardest), which are usually focused on a single space idea. Other activities like Elmo Visits NASA, Mars Fun Zone, and Buzz Lightyear Return from Space are more elaborate, and kids can take their time. Kids can also check in on current space missions, play more games in a clubhouse, join an asteroid-naming contest, or view NASA photographs.

Kids learn science and math as they play space-related games. For example, in Rocket Builder (a Level 1 game), kids compare and sort 2-D and 3-D shapes as they build a rocket. Starfall (Level 3) teaches the relationship between star color and temperature; grabbing hotter stars earns higher points. Buzz Lightyear Return from Space is more involved -- kids complete missions that cover math conversions and gravity. A teacher area explains the education standards associated with each activity.

Students can learn science, math, and language arts while exploring some basic space topics. Games are aimed toward the K-4 set and are rooted in national and Common Core State Standards. They are organized into levels from easiest to hardest. Games focus on one concept at a time -- for example, converting time, patterns, building a rocket, or the solar system. Students with an interest in space will find the activities easy to access and fun to play.

Nifty space-age noises sound when you click on buttons in NASA Kids' Club -- but that's just one of the clever touches NASA has included on its space-centric site. Don't expect dozens of things to do; there probably isn't enough to keep kids captivated for hours. However, the games, videos, and other activities are well-designed, easy to understand, and -- best of all -- fun. Interactive sections let you compare your weight and age on various planets; some familiar faces also pop up in a Buzz Lightyear game and a video recapping Elmo's trip to NASA.

NASA really has done a great job of incorporating educational activities on its site. Some use visual elements to help kids work out math problems, and to customize the experience, others let kids select an age group (such as kindergarten to second grade). Another bonus: Because NASA offers a text-only version of the site, even families using an old computer will be able to join in on the fun.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Don't expect limitless things to do here; there's only enough to keep kids captivated for an hour or so. However, the games, videos, and other activities here are well designed, easy to understand, and -- best of all -- fun.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Kids learn science and math by playing space-related games. Some activities use visual elements; others allow kids to customize the experience by selecting their age group.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

A teacher area explains the education standards associated with each activity, and users can also explore NASA's vast network of content. 


Common Sense Reviewer
Polly Conway Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Margaret A P. , Other
Other
The Agnes Irwin School
Rosemont, United States
A great introductory resource for young students exploring space.
NASA Kids' Club is a great free resources for classrooms that are exploring space. It has a number of games that integrate academic skills (e.g,. letter recognition and telling time) with a space theme but not all of the games are academic. It gives students' access to real pictures and some facts about space from NASA. I wish it went more in-depth with specific information and facts about space and astronauts and was easier to navigate (e.g., it was clearer how to get around and move between activities). I wish more activities were like the storybook and included an option for any text or directions to be read aloud.
Read full review