Need to find a gift for a kid who loves to build, explore or read great stories? From telescopes to building kits to illustrated books, Space.com has you covered. Here are our spaced-out shopping suggestions.
For even more stellar gift ideas, check out our other buying guides:
littleBits Space Rover Inventor Kit
This littleBits robot kit includes the electronic building blocks to build their own space rovers. Customers on Amazon don't just include parents; elementary teachers also use these kits in their classrooms to teach STEM in an engaging way. ($101 on Amazon)
Why We Love It: This toy allows kids to customize their space robot with various features like a robotic arm and a sample-collecting scoop. And in addition to building and customizing the rover, kids can drive the robot using an app. (Full Story: Kids Can Build, Drive Mars Rovers with New littleBits Kit)
Lego Deep Space Rocket & Launch Control Building Set
NASA inspired this 2019 Lego City set, which includes the pieces to build a large multi-stage rocket and opening launch control tower. When put together, the standing rocket measures over 16-inch (42-cm) high, 4-inch (11-cm) wide and 2-inch (6-cm) deep. ($100 on Amazon)
Why We Love It: The 837-piece set comes with six unique minifigures, including scientists, astronauts, geodes, a camera, a rover and a space telescope. A functioning monorail system is also part of the set.
Playmobil Mars Space Station
Playmobil has created this Mars base set for ages 6 to 10. It features an illuminated base and two docking stations, and the set includes two astronauts, one robot, computer, tools, food supplies, space crystals, telescope, video recorder, and other accessories. Keep in mind that like many such toys, some parts could be choking hazards for kids younger than 3 years of age. ($56 on Amazon)
Why We Love It: Customers on Amazon say their children love the variety of missions their imaginations can take them on with this kit. The set is also very detailed, such as including sleeping compartments for the astronauts.
Levenhuk Telescope, Binoculars & Microscope Set
This affordable science introductory kit comes with a microscope, telescope and binoculars. It also includes 20 accessories and is ideal for kids aged 3 to 7.
Why We Love It: These are kid-sized versions of the instruments, made for little hands and faces.
Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope
This sturdy 13-lb (5.9-kg) telescope was rated "Best Children's Telescope for Viewing and Value" in Space.com's telescopes guide. This Orion Starblast is a great beginner's telescope and would be ideal for older kids who want to start skygazing. ($200 on Amazon)
Why We Love It: Customers on Amazon rave about this telescope. It comes in a compact size and comes pre-assembled, so recipients can grab and go stargazing with this gift. The moon, the planets, nebulas and stars can be seen with this telescope.
Celestron Cometron 7x50 Binocular
This binocular is great for general and astronomical use. The light-gathering ability of the Celestron Cometron binoculars allows users to enjoy plenty of backyard astronomy, whether it's moon gazing or star spotting. ($26 on Amazon)
Why We Love It: Kids will have an easy time keeping a hold of these lightweight binoculars. And included in the gift is a carrying case, objective covers, eyepiece covers, lens cloth, and instruction manual. This binocular is also designed to be water resistant for use in damp conditions.
Timex Snoopy in Space Watch
Fans of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts characters will enjoy this special "Snoopy in Space" Timex watch with an astronaut Snoopy floating in the middle of the dial. It comes with an adjustable red 0.8-in (20 mm) nylon fabric slip-thru strap that can fit up to 7.5-inch wrist circumference. ($54 on Amazon)
Why We Love It: Snoopy looks adorable! Also, the watch's numbers are large and easy to see thanks to the dark space backdrop, making this gift great for young and old, or any who may be hard of seeing. You can browse Timex's entire Snoopy in Space watch collection here.
"Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11"
This illustrated book by Brian Floca first came out in 2009, for Apollo 11's 40th anniversary. The new 2019 edition expands on the details of the mission and includes parts about the diverse team members who helped from the ground so that Apollo 11 could reach the moon. ($12 on Amazon)
Why We Love It: Many customers have commented that they like the writing very much. The words read like poetry, according to one Amazon customer, making reading aloud to children very enjoyable. (Read our review)
"The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon"
This illustrated book tells the story of Apollo astronaut Alan Bean, the fourth person and first artist to land on the moon. This book is intended for ages 4 to 8, or Preschool reading level to 3rd grade level. ($13 on Amazon)
Why We Love It: The narrative also travels back in time to when Bean was a child, inviting kids to see where the incredible places their imaginations could one day take them. Customers on Amazon have also remarked that the book is a lovely read. (Read our review)
"An Earthling's Guide to Outer Space"
Canadian author and science journalist Bob McDonald has written a new 240-page book full of cosmic descriptions that astronomy beginners will find easy to follow. ($25 on Amazon)
Why We Love It: This 2019 book is great for science readers of all ages, providing simplified explanations for a range of space topics. (Read our review)