Held each year from October 4-10, World Space Week is a great time to foster a love of STEM subjects through space related activities. While there’s no shortage of events being held by space agencies, aerospace companies, and museums, you can also celebrate World Space Week at home with free STEM games from NASA.
Free STEM Games from NASA for World Space Week
NASA Kids’ Club features fun, free STEM games for your astronaut- planetary-scientist -mission-control -specialist-to be. The easy to navigate and ad free site encourages pre-K through 4th graders to learn about NASA and its missions while reinforcing STEM skills through interactive games.
All games and activities are correlated to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA), National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and Common Core State Standards Initiative — English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards (CCSS)
These 13 free STEM games and activities on the NASA Kids’ Club site teach and inspire kindergarten through fourth graders during World Space Week and beyond.
4 Free STEM Games for Kindergarteners
Kindergarteners view a row of space-related objects and must choose the one that comes next in the sequence. This game teaches math skills by requiring kids to recognize, describe and extend patterns, such as sequences of sounds and shapes or simple numeric patterns, and translate from one representation to another. It also involves describing and comparing measurable attributes which is a CCSS standard.
Kids compare two space-themed drawings and are challenged to find five things that are not the same. This game requires visual discrimination to spot the differences and sorting and classifying objects according to their attributes.
This game requires spatial reasoning and visual memory to put together a digital puzzle. Kids start by to choosing a photo to put together according to the level of difficulty (from 1-4, 4 being the hardest) they select. Puzzle pieces click in place easily when dropped and when the puzzle is complete, players can read a short blurb about the image in the completed puzzle.
This game encourages practicing keyboard skills as well as hand-eye coordination as kids try to catch as many astrophysical phenomena (galaxies, Webb, supernovas, exoplanets, black holes, dark matter, etc.) as possible while staring through the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope before the clock runs out.
3 Free STEM Games for First Graders
Rocket Builder teaches basic engineering design by giving kids a variety of shapes that they use to build a rocket. Players need to recognize, name, build, draw, compare, and sort two- and three-dimensional shapes in either a timed or untimed game.
Numerical understanding is an important concept for kids to grasp and Airplane High Low lets kids practice by figuring out a secret number given by a cartoon airplane character. This game teaches the relative position and magnitude of whole numbers and of ordinal and cardinal numbers and their connections and is an important skill used when solving addition and subtraction problems.
This game reinforces healthy eating through a fun game where the goal is to match foods to clear the board to reveal a NASA picture about food. When players clear groups of five or more foods, extra points are awarded. Speed can also help players earn more points.
2 Free STEM Games Second Grade
Solving addition problems are more fun when they result in a rocket launch! In this game, students use computational skills to add and subtract numbers up to 20 by clicking on numbered tiles. I love that there’s a box at the bottom of the screen that adds as kids click to help them know what numbers they need to add up to reach the sum.
There’s something addictive about clicking on groups of stars of the same color! In this game, click to capture stars and when they disappear, you earn points in the game. There’s some strategy involved in the game to ensure stars of the same color are captured before single stars are left and you run out of options. This game reinforces an understanding of patterns, relations and functions in a really fun way! It’s a game kids will want to play over and over again!
4 Free STEM Games for Third and Fourth Graders
In this Memory-like game, students are challenged to match analog times to the corresponding readings on digital clocks. With each match, the plane gets a little closer to take off. When all cards are matched, the plane takes off and kids are presented with a fun NASA fact about flight. The game increases the number of cards as kids successfully complete each level.
If you ever played Mastermind, this game is the digital version of it but with planes! In this game, airplanes are mixed up on the runway. Players use logic and reasoning skills to determine the correct arrangement of the airplanes on the runway. To play, click on the planes to change the type. Different symbols indicate if you get a plane in the right spot or if you have selected a correct plane from the fleet.
NASA Space Place aims to inspire and enrich upper-elementary-aged kids’ learning of space and Earth science online through fun games, hands-on activities, informative articles and engaging short videos. Content is available in both English and Spanish and the site features resources for parents and teachers. The Space Place also helps educators build lesson plans that align with the Next Generation Science Standards.
This website tells the story of our changing planet through the eyes of the NASA missions studying Earth. The site features games, activities and articles that make climate science accessible and engaging. can help educators build lesson plans that align with the Next Generation Science Standards.
No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are my own. Images courtesy of NASA.