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Enjoy this fun idea for kids 🙂

We’re loving this clever book! Most science experiment books, however well intended, require numerous other materials to complete each experiment, and depending upon how easy they are to get, the book is more or less of a success. That doesn’t apply here! Inside This Book Is a Planetarium are a series of pop-up experiments that your child can do, with nothing more than a smartphone (for two experiments, the loudspeaker and planetarium).

The experiments work well, even though they’re each made out of a card-stock popup. Moreover, the experiments and their accompanying, brief explanations of the how & why, explain various scientific concepts amazingly well. My daughter’s favorite is the planetarium, from which she has learned the names of several constellations. We’re delighted with this IRL wonderful book!

I’ve enjoyed looking at space photos for most of life, yet I am in awe of the photos in The Planets: Photographs from the Archives of NASA, the vast majority of which I’ve never seen before. The book shows close-up photos of the Sun, all the planets, most of their moons, a comet, asteroid, and last-but-not-least, the almost-planet Pluto.

The strikingly clear photos of Pluto’s surface, and the panoramic views from Mars are perhaps my favorites, but I had no idea we had such detailed and clear photos of objects throughout the solar system. The brief explanatory paragraphs for each photo note details about each body, including which are real color and which are enhanced; Neptune is such a pretty blue. Amazing, beautiful, and vastly interesting book.

One of my son’s favorite toys is his older brother’s passed-down gears set. They both have loved to create little machines where they’ve assembling machines of their own design, and learned about engineering and cause and effect. Here, Space Machines extends those lessons within a space and moon exploration context. The book part offers cute illustrations and brief, engaging paragraphs.

The gears part includes a project on each two-page spread — 10 in all. Kids use the thick card-stock cut outs, which they connect to a board with polka dot holes throughout, to create, say, a space vehicle. Then the project will include a specific type of movement made possible by turning the various paper gears. It’s all quite clever and educational fun!