Build a Recycled Spaceship for Earth Day (Video)

Homemade Cardboard Spaceship
A kid flies his homemade cardboard spaceship into the great beyond. (Image credit: Curious World/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

If you're looking for a good space-themed Earth Day activity to do today (April 22), this spaceship tutorial could be right up your alley.

A video by Curious World, an entertainment learning app, shows one way to creatively combine recycled materials to build a "zip ship," which the young host boasts "can go anywhere, superfast."

The kid provides instructions that elementary-school children should be able to follow on their own. Materials include a cardboard box, tinfoil, paper towel holders (though I think toilet paper rolls would do in a pinch), a yardstick, a bandana, a plastic plate, corks and bottle caps. The host also uses a handheld fan and clip pin, as well as old Christmas lights to make the homemade spacecraft sparkle.

While generations of children have exercised their imaginations while playing with cardboard boxes, the new video could provide a boost to today's more digitally oriented kids. The host gets bonus points for cuteness as he explains a bit of the reasoning behind his decorating choices.

"I labeled this cap X, to go in the unknown — and I get a force field," he said.

Swim goggles double as flight goggles for missions into deep space.

The video is part of the Recycled Superheroes video series that Curious World includes on its learning app, which targets children ages 2 to 7. Produced by global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the short videos encourage children to play and create. While the app itself is part of a paid subscription, the spaceship-building video is freely available on YouTube:

Follow Nola Taylor Redd on Twitter @NolaTRedd or Google+. Follow us at @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Nola Taylor Tillman
Contributing Writer

Nola Taylor Tillman is a contributing writer for She loves all things space and astronomy-related, and enjoys the opportunity to learn more. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English and Astrophysics from Agnes Scott college and served as an intern at Sky & Telescope magazine. In her free time, she homeschools her four children. Follow her on Twitter at @NolaTRedd