In space, they can still hear eight year olds scream
April 6, 2010 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Space-themed games for a bunch of eight year olds?

Minicliff is turning eight in a couple weeks and the theme this year (because Legos and Star Wars have been done already) is "Space." So now Mrs. Cliff and I are brainstorming for games and activities that fit that theme.

So yeah, space-themed games for a bunch of eight year old kids. Pin the tail on the comet, Hit the beachball with the rock and wipe out all life as we know it, who can stare at the sun the longest*, that type of thing. Only, you know, not lame.

General space-themed ideas for decorating and whatnot are welcome too.

Party will be in early May, hopefully outside. Indoors if it's raining.

posted by bondcliff to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Transcendence (just now 1.0). A rogue-like action shooter with very high production values. When they start to get bored with the base game (or if it's too hard) you can add user-made extensions to mix it up.
posted by bonehead at 12:31 PM on April 6, 2010

Rent one of those giant inflatable moonwalks and let the kids have at it. No other games will be needed, guaranteed. This does, of course, require cooperating weather.
posted by bfranklin at 12:36 PM on April 6, 2010

Can you launch model rockets? You should be able to find incredibly easy models (molded plastic tail fin "rings" that slide on the back instead of having to align the fins by hand, etc.) for 7 or 8 bucks each. Let them spend some time at the beginning assembling and painting, and then take them out to the field in the afternoon. Get small motors so they can be easily retrieved.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:37 PM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm sorry, I should have been more clear. I'm looking for group activity games to play during the party, not video or board games. Stuff like pin the tail on the donkey or Mother May I. Only space-related.
posted by bondcliff at 12:39 PM on April 6, 2010

Best answer: Asteroid field: take a bunch of objects to be asteroids. Balls, or crumpled up paper, or something. Blindfold one person, randomly arrange the objects, and have the other people try to talk them through the asteroid field without touching any asteroids. "OK, now move your left foot a little to the right..."
posted by novalis_dt at 12:44 PM on April 6, 2010

Aw, classic theme. My family's space party secrets. Decor: if there's room, set up a "solar system" using labeled balloons as planets, so that there is outer space for the kids to explore-- they love being like "race you to Mars!". Party project: gather up and wash a bunch of different size stones from your backyard, get some acrylic paint in shiny colors, and some glitter if you don't mind a mess, and your guests can all make their own "moonrocks" to take home. Games: you can definitely play hide and seek (or tag) where the person who is "it" has to wear alien antennae. Also good: treasure hunt, where you hide "alien artifacts" for the kids/astronauts to find (glow sticks, etc.).
posted by neitheror at 12:47 PM on April 6, 2010

Best answer: If you're looking for inspiration, NASA has some pretty good "for kids" stuff up on their website. I think I'd do some Space Trivia and have people move towards the sun along some sort of planet hopping path. Some other project ideas here, some seem very "gameable"
posted by jessamyn at 1:13 PM on April 6, 2010

One year we did this theme, we had Star Wars music playing for a round of musical planets, in which all the planets were made of large painted cardboard circles, and we took one out each round. We had a large cardboard alien set up with a hole for a mouth and a nerf bow and arrow to shoot it with. Kids won tokens from these games to use in a mock vending machine with snacks. We hung balloons and tied party wire ribbon around them to look like planets with rings.
Have Fun!
posted by coevals at 1:52 PM on April 6, 2010

Best answer: SPACE DERBY!!!
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:17 PM on April 6, 2010

Man from Mars: One kid is the "man from mars." He or she says, "I'm the man from Mars. I'll chase you to the stars, but only if you're wearing the color (insert color)." All the kids who wear that color have to run to the other end of the yard or wherever. Anyone who gets tagged has to help the man from mars. Rinse, repeat until there's only one kid left.
posted by FakePalindrome at 2:22 PM on April 6, 2010

Best answer: Film canister rockets. They're fun and edumacational.
posted by drlith at 5:45 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My 1971 Good Housekeeping Complete Book of Home Entertaining has the following instructions for "a memorable party for first or second graders":

"Turn a corner of your basement into a space lab. Begin by covering the walls with aluminum foil (It's a handsome permanent finish and can be applied to any wall. Or you may just want to use a backdrop made of plywood).

Brush the wall with wallpaper paste and apply strips of slightly crushed foil, overlapping each sheet and patting the foil to the wall surface. Rub with a soft cloth to smooth. If desired, paint lightly with an oilbased paint, a section at a time; when partly dry, rub the paint off.

For spheres, cut a number of heavy-duty foil sheets long enough to go around inflated beach balls (use two sizes, one large and one small). Cover the balls thickly with foil (spheres must be strong enough to hold the goodies later to be placed in them -- see below) and crush tightly, but leave the spout end of the ball uncovered. Then deflate the ball and remove from the foil sphere. Thread heavy cord through a foil-covered cardboard tube and pull one end through a hole punched in sphere, then through a 3-inch cardboard circle; tie a knot in the end. (This will prevent the cord from pulling out of the sphere). Fill the spheres with party snacks, fruit, candy, or gifts, and hang from the ceiling.

And now for the eats: Space Burgers are regular hamburgers, assembled with lettuce and onion slices and garnished with cherry tomatoes on picks. For Moon Pizzas, spread toasted English muffins with pizza sauce and desired garnishes, and bake at 375° for 10 min or until bubbly. Orbit Punch? Make paper cones to fit the tops of drinking glasses, then cover with foil and cut a hole in the top of each for a straw. Place the cones on glasses filled with any good fruit punch or canned fruit drink.


Blow up a number of balloons and scatter them around on the floor. Blindfold each contestant and have him hop, skip, and jump from one side of the room to the other, in the manner of spacemen tackling the lesser gravity of the moon. (No shuffling along to push the balloons out of harm's way is allowed). Contestant who breaks the fewest number of balloons in his "walk" is the winner.


Arrange 20 to 25 objects on a tray. They may be almost anything: nail, pocket mirror, pen flashlight, key chain, piece of candy, pebble, razor blade, plastic bandage, toy compass, etc. Show the tray to each child and explain that it contains items vital to his survival on the "space trip" he is about to take. Then remove the tray, give each child a piece of paper and a pencil, and have him write as many of the items from the tray as he can remember. Winner is the player with the highest number of correct items.


Before the party, hide lots of small pieces of paper-wrapped candy ("moon rocks") around the room. Also provide a "space glove" (mitten, cooking glove, catcher's mitt) for each player, plus a paper bag for each. Object of the game is to find and place in the bag as many "moon rocks as possible within a given time. Handicaps may be assigned if some players' mitts are less cumbersome than others'."
posted by nonane at 7:48 PM on April 6, 2010

The illustration shows the full effect of all this decorating.
posted by nonane at 7:57 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Party is over and done with. Thank Christ. Little kids are insane and I hate them*.

The film canister rockets were a big hit, though at this age 1/3 of the kids were too old to appreciate them, 1/3 were like Ralph Wiggam and got their tongues caught in the canister, and 1/3 totally dug it. None of them knew what came inside film canisters.

The "asteroid field" was fun, we used that as part of our astronaut training course, which was just an obstacle course with a space theme. They had to put nuts and bolts together with gloves on, walk the gangplank out to the space capsule (built out of PVC pipe and cardboard), retrieve a "moon rock" (goody bag) with a "sampling tool" (one of those grabby-claw things you use to retrieve jars from high shelves), poop while in free fall**, and some other stuff that 1/3 of the kids enjoyed and 1/3 were bored with. 1/3 of the kids got their tongues caught in the grabby-claw thing.

I decorated the cake to look like the surface of the moon, which basically meant I could apply the frosting by flinging it off the spatula blindfolded from 30 feet away and still look like I put some effort into it.

We closed the party with a "launch", which involved several bottles of Diet Coke and a few dozen Mentos. It was anti-climatic and all the kids wanted to drink the soda afterwords and I could only assume the Mentos turned it into poison so I had to say "no." I suck.

Only one minor meltdown and nobody lost an eye. All in all it was a pretty fun party. Thanks to everyone for the help!

* joke

** another joke
posted by bondcliff at 12:30 PM on May 7, 2010

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