Which space exploration toys are best?

On September 26, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is launching the Double Asteroid Redirect Test spacecraft directly at Dimorphos, an asteroid passing by the Earth, to test its capabilities in the event of an imminent threat to the planet. It’s an exciting time for space fans and an even better time to introduce the concepts of space exploration to your children. Among the best ways for kids to learn is through play. Even if the toy you choose isn’t meant to be educational, it can inspire a fascination that lasts a lifetime.

What to know before you buy a space exploration toy

Age range

All toys have suggested age ranges. You should always double-check the suggested age range for safety and to ensure you don’t get a toy that’s too simple or complex for your child. You can safely fudge the numbers on some toys by a year or two should your child be more or less mature than other kids.

Education factor

Some space exploration toys are explicitly meant to serve as educational tools. These usually have books with space-related information or are “experiment kits” meant to teach various concepts such as rocketry. If you know your child wants to learn, save yourself the effort of googling all the answers to their questions by grabbing one of these educational toys.

What are the best space exploration toys to buy?

Best 4M Toysmith Green Science Solar Rover

4M Toysmith Green Science Solar Rover

This toy gives your children something to build, something to play with and something to learn from all in one. It’s for ages 5 and up, and there are five other kits besides the solar rover.

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Best A Ainolway Space Water Beads

A Ainolway Space Water Beads

There are 10,000 reusable, recyclable and non-toxic water beads included, plus three large squish balls, two medium squish balls, six small squish balls and two astronauts.

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Best ArtCreativity Saturn Rocket Plush Toy

ArtCreativity Saturn Rocket Plush Toy

This plush is great for younger children as it can spark the imagination without being harmful if dropped or should they poke themselves or someone else. It stands 18.5 inches tall.

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Best Astro Venture Space Playset

Astro Venture Space Playset

This set includes a rocket and lunar rover, plus two small astronauts that can fit inside both. It has lights and sounds to keep younger children engaged, and it includes the necessary batteries.

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Best BooTaa Dart Board

BooTaa Dart Board

This massive 29-inch space-themed dartboard is equally fun for kids and adults. Because it uses plastic sticky balls, 12 of which are included in four colors, there’s no risk of damaging your walls on a miss.

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Best Gifts2U Magnetic Rocket Toy

Gifts2U Magnetic Rocket Toy

This magnetic set includes 33 pieces that kids can use to make four different rockets or one massive one. The pieces are environmentally friendly and washable. It comes with a storage container.

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Best iPlay, iLearn Solar System Floor Puzzle

iPlay, iLearn Solar System Floor Puzzle

This 48-piece puzzle is made of polished wood for durability and is meant for kids ages 3-8. It also includes a planetary exploration guidebook full of fun facts to help kids learn.

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Best Jackinthebox Space Educational STEM Toy

Jackinthebox Space Educational STEM Toy

This toy for kids ages 7-10 includes six activities: a space explorer board game, a rocket science experiment, a constellation arts-and-crafts, a solar system wind chime, a build-your-own kaleidoscope and a recipe to make “phases of the moon” cookies.

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Best Joyin Rocket Ship Play Tent

Joyin Rocket Ship Play Tent

This play tent is the perfect place to let your child’s imagination rocket to the stars. It’s even better when you buy other space-themed toys to use to stuff it. It’s 41.5 inches wide and 54 inches tall in the center.

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Best Jsinma Space Shuttle Building Set

Jsinma Space Shuttle Building Set

This 807-piece set is meant for kids ages 6 to 12 and lets you build a space shuttle, lunar lander and lunar rover. It also comes with four mini-figures.

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Best Lego City Deep Space Rocket And Launch Control

Lego City Deep Space Rocket And Launch Control

This set includes 837 pieces and is meant for kids ages 7 and up. It comes in frustration-free packaging for an extra cost and the rocket is over 16 inches tall once built.

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Best Lego City Lunar Research Base

Lego City Lunar Research Base

This set includes 786 pieces, including six astronaut mini-figures, and it is for kids ages 7 and up. It’s inspired by real NASA equipment and comes with physical and digital instructions.

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Best Lego Creator Three-In-One Space Rover Explorer

Lego Creator Three-In-One Space Rover Explorer

This set includes 510 pieces that kids can use to make three different space-themed items: a large rover, a space fighter and a base. It’s meant for kids ages 8 and up.

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Best Lego Duplo Space Shuttle Mission

Lego Duplo Space Shuttle Mission

This set is meant for kids ages 2 and up and comes with 23 pieces with larger connectors than standard Legos so they don’t get frustrated.

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Best Little Experimenter Projector Telescope

Little Experimenter Projector Telescope

This telescope is the perfect toy to inspire interest in space and astronomy. It comes with three discs with eight images each for 24 total projections, plus each one has a passage in an accompanying guidebook.

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Best Myriad365 Rocket Science Kit For Kids

Myriad365 Rocket Science Kit For Kids

This rocket-building kit is meant for kids ages 8 and up and includes enough “fuel” to launch it up to five times and up to 50 feet high. The company is based in Austin, Texas.

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Best Remoking Space Adventure Toy Playset

Remoking Space Adventure Toy Playset

This 30-piece set is good for children as young as 3 and is perfect for multi-child households. There are several rockets, vehicles and astronauts so each child can play with a similar toy.

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Best Science Can Talking Astronomy Solar System Model Kit

Science Can Talking Astronomy Solar System Model Kit

This is packed with educational avenues that can keep kids as young as 3 engaged. There are three projection slides with a total of 24 images and the recording can play in English or Spanish.

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Best Spooktacular Creations Astronaut Helmet

Spooktacular Creations Astronaut Helmet

There’s hardly a better way to help your child feel like a real astronaut than to get them the most important part of the uniform. The fully functioning visor is the cherry on top.

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Best Watinc Outer Space Story Board

Watinc Outer Space Story Board

Your child can build their own solar system with this felt board and 39 hook-and-loop planets and figures. It also includes four hooks so you can hang it up, though you can leave it on the floor.

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