Lunar and Planetary Institute

Space Bound!
EXPLORE! Health in Space

Space Bound!


Space Bound! is a 45 minute kick-off to your space program for children ages 8–13 that sets the stage for the further explorations and activities in Explore! Staying Healthy in Space. As a group, children listen to a story about living and working is space. Through discussion, they identify the challenges astronauts face!

What's the Point?

  • There are many challenges astronauts face as they live and work in space
  • Daily life in space is different than life on Earth, but in both environments humans have the same basic needs


  • Scrap sheets of paper for children's notes
  • Poster board or poster paper
  • Marker(s)
  • Writing utensils for children
  • Several books about life in space (refer to Resources for other books). A few possible selections could be:
    • Space Stations
      Roy A. Gallant, 2001, Benchmark Books, ISBN 076141035.
      Gallant describes life on a space station for children ages 8–12. His book is 42 pages, with text on one side and images on the other, and large print for easy reading.
    • The Life of An Astronaut
      Niki Walker, 2001, Crabtree Publishing Company, ISBN 0865056838.
      Walker's 31 page book for ages 10–13 is replete with images and interesting vignettes about astronauts and life in space
    • Living in Space
      Katie Daynes, 2002, EDC Publishing, ISBN # unavailable
      This 29 page Usborne book is an excellent place to start for beginners. It contains several images on each page and large print for ages 7–10.

Shopping list


Older children may wish to select the book and may want to participate in the reading. You may wish to have several copies of a book available, or several different books. If you are working with diverse ages, consider having the older children read to the younger ones or have them help lead the discussion.


1. Assemble the children in a group and prompt them to think about what living in space is like. Keep track of their ideas on poster paper.

2. Read the story you have chosen about living and working in space, or, with older children, have them take turns reading to the group. You may wish to divide into several smaller groups before beginning, with each group tackling a particular aspect of life in space or a different book

3. After reading the book, launch a discussion.

4. If the children have questions about the vocabulary they are hearing, have them begin a "vocabulary wall" — a place where you or they can collect the words they do not know. Have them write the words on sheets of paper. Invite them to search for the definition and then share their findings with the group. After the discussion, ask for volunteers to help explain or define the vocabulary terms.


Ask the children if they would like to learn more about living and working in space. They will soon be invited to participate in several activities that will give them a better idea of what it is really like. They will also learn some surprising ways in which children and astronauts are alike!

Last updated
February 4, 2010


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