It doesn't matter if you're young or old; space is an awe-inspiring topic that invigorates the greatest scientific minds, authors, and artists. That endless unknown behind this beautiful blue sphere of ours is an explorer's dream. There's so much we still don't know about what's out there, and yet some much we've learned, especially this past century.
Trying even to know where to begin when learning about or teaching space can be a head scratcher - but never fear, we've compiled some mind-blowing games, resources, and reads to point you in the right direction.
ESA - Let's start with a bit of an all-rounder when it comes to space games. The European Space Agency, or ESA, has a great website with a bunch of really great mini-games designed to teach kids and adults alike about the universe. Constellations, spacecraft assembly, even space waste management; they've got you covered!
PBS Kids - Next up, if you are an adult looking to get your kids into learning about the cosmos, then PBS Kids has a fantastic array of games to spark their inner astronaut. Just because it is made for kids doesn't mean that adults can't learn a thing or two as well. Learn about the mars rover, the mission to the moon, or even how rocket ships are made!
Space Base - Now for those of you out there who love a good board game, you'll be happy to know that the world of tabletop fun extends into the universe too! Space base is an excellent board game that is super easy to pick up but can teach you more than you ever thought about deep space. Get ready to take charge of your fleet and explore the unknown!
The Crew - 'The Crew - Quest for Planet Nine' is another great board game to pick up. With over 50 missions to complete, this cooperative game encourages everyone to get involved! Play with friends or get the family involved; either way, you are destined to learn a tonne from this space game classic.
Flashcards - Finally, for those of you out there who want a more creative experience and something that can really get down to the nitty and gritty of space education, try and create your own flashcard game! Simple cut out some cards, collect some awesome space facts, and manifest a unique, original game of your own!
NASA - Learning about space vocabulary can deepen your appreciation and understanding of our universe. The first place we would recommend checking out is NASA! In their educational department, 'Space Place,' they have an excellent glossary of all the space terms you will ever need!
Your Dictionary - Just like NASA, 'Your Dictionary' has a great glossary of words that dives even deeper into space vocabulary. Learn about all the types of jargon used for space exploration, rocket creation, and space body movements. Not only can you improve your astronomy knowledge, but also level up your word games skills here. Mastering as many five-letter words as possible can be helpful to unscramble word puzzles and crosswords. Words like 'Earth,' 'Pluto,' 'Venus,' 'Solar,' 'Meteor,' 'Orbit' are always a good first move when playing Wordle.
Sea Sky - Our last glossary on this list, which we simply have to mention, comes for Sea Sky. Once you've wrapped your head around the basics of space terminology, Sea Sky is where you go to get super technical. What's the difference between Aurora Australis and Aurora Borealis? Well, Sea Sky has the answer!
ESL - Next, we have ESL Games, which takes all that new vocabulary you've learned about space and challenges you in an easy-to-understand and fun minigame. Guess the right words, get a score, and see if you can beat everyone else!
Woodward English - Woodward English has a similar game to ESL, and is definitely worth checking out. Their fun quiz gets you thinking about all the vocabulary you know and matching the answers with the right questions. You'll have a great time and learn new things in the process.
All Things Topics - All Things Topics has a great space learning resource page on their site that includes many exercises and activities to help you learn. The site is designed to be a learning resource for teachers to use with their students, so whether you are an adult or you need some ideas to help your kids, All Things Topics has got something for you.
Pinterest - Last up on our vocabulary resource list is Pinterest. You may have used this site before to get design ideas, but Pinterest is actually a great resource for space! Browse the site, and you'll be able to find mini-quizzes, resource sheets, and fun activity ideas for learning and remembering space terminology.
Space.com - Now, you've no excuse for not remembering this address. This is your go-to site for the latest news on spaceflight, astronomy, skywatching, and more. There are pages advising on the best new telescopes and binoculars and even a forum to meet like-minded space fans.
The Martian (2015) - Hollywood and space don't often have a very grounded relationship - as anyone who's seen Michael Bay's 'Armageddon' will tell you. However, an acclaimed film like Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' starring Matt Damon might possibly hold the title as 'most realistic space film.' A mixture of exploration, problem-solving, and the power of the human spirit. Informative and entertaining.
Star Walk Kids: Astronomy Game - Your children always asking big questions about the cosmos? If so, you can aid their curious minds with this free iPad app which uncovers the basics of astronomy in an interesting and colorful way. Winner of an Apple design award and used by over 10 million people.
No Man's Sky (Playstation 4/5, PC, Xbox One/X) - If you fancy escaping Earth and all its stresses for a few hours, we can't recommend this exploration game enough. Players are free to explore within an open world universe, including over 18 quintillions randomly generated planets! Document flora, trade resources, build bases as well as huge fleets as you progress.
Hardspace: Shipbreaker (Playstation 4, Windows, Xbox One) - Good accompaniment to 'The Martian,' this recent release sees the player take charge of a space scrap worker who has to salvage and dismantle dangerous shipwrecks in zero gravity. Featuring incredible mechanics and a more realistic theme than your usual sci-fi fare, Hardspace: Shipbreaker is a uniquely immersive experience.
Space may be the final frontier, but we hope the resources above have helped guide you to some facts that'll change your perception of life itself. As everyone's favorite cinema treasure Tom Hanks once said, "You cannot look up at the night sky on the planet Earth and not wonder what it's like to be up there amongst the stars."
About the Author
Sam Walker-Smart is a British culture journalist currently based in Bristol. His work has appeared in CLASH, The Huffington Post, Vinyl Me Please, Barcelona Metropolitan, Little White Lies, and other outlets. He enjoys writing about inclusivity in gaming, fun for seniors, educational apps, and entertainment for all. In his spare time, he enjoys weird folklore, sad songs, and good beer.