Amazing space projects for kids
Take the kids on an out-of-this-world adventure this half term, you won't even need to leave the kitchen...
Make half term magical in your very own kitchen this February with our beautiful but simple recipes for kids. Inspired by Tim Peake and the infinite mysteries of space, we’ve created some extra special recipes to celebrate our amazing universe and to help kids learn as they experiment, play and have fun.
One of the greatest parts of having children is their fascination with the world around them. When it comes to imagination they have a thing or two to teach you – so step inside their world and let them take you to the moon and back.
Arm yourself with our simple biscuits recipe, a pack of icing gels and your budding young astronaut and you’ll be ready to take off for an afternoon of cosmic fun creating our planet cookies. And to make the ‘teaching bit’ easy for you – here are some fun facts your kids might enjoy while you’re icing the cookies.
Fun facts: Mercury is the closest planet to the sun in our solar system. Being so close means the daytime temperature on Mercury is absolutely boiling – reaching over 400 °C. But because it has no atmosphere to hold the heat in, at night the temperature is freezing – sometimes dropping to -180 °C.
Fun facts: Venus is the closest planet to the earth and is the hottest planet in the solar system – even hotter than Mercury which is closer to the sun. That’s because Venus is surrounded by a very thick atmosphere which traps the heat from the sun.
Fun facts: 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water and it is the only planet in the universe known to contain life. The first life on Earth developed in the oceans.
Fun facts: Mars (sometimes knows as the Red planet) has seasons just like Earth, but because it’s so much further from the sun – its seasons are almost twice as long. There are nearly two Mars years to one Earth year – that’s because Mars takes nearly twice as long to orbit the sun.
Fun facts: Jupiter is a gas giant and by far the biggest planet in the solar system – in fact it’s more than twice as big as all of the other planets combined and has 70 known moons. Jupiter spins very fast and its day is less than 10 hours long. Jupiter is home to a huge storm called the Great Red Spot, which is bigger than Earth, the storm has raged for at least 186 years.
Fun facts: Saturn is the second-biggest planet after Jupiter and also has a huge collection of moons and a stormy outer layer. Its spectacular rings make it one of the wonders of our solar system. Saturn's rings are made from billions of fragments of ice of all different sizes – when the ice catches the sun's light the rings look very bright.
Fun facts: Uranus is an ice giant and is tipped on its side – it has two moons and is surrounded by a set of narrow rings. Only one spacecraft has ever visited the planet. In 1986, Voyager 2 sent pictures of Uranus’s pale blue globe back to earth.
Fun facts: Neptune is the solar system’s coldest planet and the furthest away from the sun – it's a vast ball of gas, liquid and ice and is a bright blue colour. Neptune’s biggest moon is called Triton and is similar in size to the Earth’s moon.
Moon cycle cupcakes
Have you ever wondered why we see different shapes of the moon throughout each month? Read on for the science bit, then have a go at recreating the lunar cycle with our tasty moon cycle cupcakes. The beautiful galaxy shimmer is simply created by mixing black and blue icing. Sprinkle with edible glitter for a magical finish.
The lunar cycle
At night we see the moon appear to take on different shapes as it orbits the Earth. This is called a lunar cycle. Each lunar cycle takes 29 and a half days, and the shapes we see depend on the position of the moon in relation to the Earth and the sun. We can only see the part of the moon which is illuminated by the sun.
Stage one: The first part of a lunar cycle is called a new moon. In this part we don’t actually see any of the moon at all, because the moon is positioned directly between the earth and the sun, and we can’t see the illuminated part as it faces away from us.
The second stage: As the moon makes its way around the Earth, we start to see a crescent moon shape. This is called a waxing crescent – we can see a crescent shape of the moon’s surface being illuminated by the sun. As the moon continues its orbit we can see half of its surface illuminated by the sun – this is called the first quarter.
The third stage: As it continues to orbit we can see a larger part of the moon’s surface, but not quite all – this phase is the waxing gibbous. The next lunar phase is the full moon. We see all of the moon in this way because it is on the opposite side of the Earth to the sun, so we can see it fully illuminated.
The fourth stage: The whole thing then starts to happen in reverse. We see less of the moon in the next phase – the waning gibbous. Then we see the last quarter where half of the moon is illuminated. The final phase is the waning crescent - this is the last crescent of moon we will see until it’s time for a new moon again.
Have you tried our space projects? We would love to hear how you got on? Or tweet us your photos to @bbcgoodfood and we'll retweet our favourites.