Have you and your kids been following Perseverance’s landing on Mars and the images coming back? Aren’t they amazing!
My kids have been fascinated with it and we really wanted to learn more. So if your like our kids then this DIY Mars Rover craft for kids is perfect to make. You’re not going to need some lego and a cardboard tube. To make it even more Mars like we’ve also got a recipe to make your own Mars dirt too!.
DIY Mars Rover
Once the idea of space travel to Mars has captivated your child’s imagination, you may like to craft a scene for imaginary play.
As Perserverance landed we were amazed at the views coming and the kids keep checking in to see what is going on this live video stream is one of our favourites.
Although we have taken some licence with our design and projected into the future what it will be like for the first visitors to Mars to explore just like Perservance is. We’ve added in a bubble so that the explorers can see the landscape ahead of them and to the sides.
Materials Needed for Creating your Own Perseverance
- Cardboard Tube
- Lego Wheels
- 2 Long Lego Strips to attach the wheels and the cardboard tube
- Semi Sphere Clear Plastic (our was from a toy but a Lego bubble would work)
- Hot Glue gun
Instructions for DIY Mars Rover
Get a toilet paper tube and cut the side hatch doors out carefully with a craft knife.
The kids can do this next step: paint the tube inside and out. Let dry. Meanwhile, find Lego wheels and a base for them. They don’t have to match perfectly.
Finally, with kids at a safe distance, hot glue the Lego base to the cardboard tube. You can glue the clear vending capsule on, or leave it unglued for your kids to take on and off as they play.
Making a Mars Playscape
If your children want to pretend they’re going to Mars, they’ll also want something to stand in for the Red Planet.
It should be sturdy enough for play, and small enough to store easily. I settled on a piece of corrugated cardboard. For more longevity, you could use a scrap of plywood. Consider where you’ll store it, and cut your cardboard or plywood to fit. Then, paint it a reddish brown.
Next, give your board a dimensional rocky appearance. The secret ingredient? Lava sand. Make sure you get the reddish kind, not the black. I found mine at a local garden supply shop, but you can also get it online.
Pour out the desired amount of lava sand and mix it with white glue (I just used school glue) so that it is well coated. It will look terrible, but remember that the glue will dry clear. It will also soak into the porous rocks. Spread the mixture out onto your board, and then let it dry thoroughly.
Playing with your Rover on your homemade Mars Playscape
My kids couldn’t wait for me to finish this project. They were dying to drive the Lego wheels over that rough Martian surface. They loved putting the astronauts in the rover and exploring the planet.
It was a good day for a “spacewalk” too.
Later, back on Earth, my girls were happy to snuggle up for another reading of their favorite space book. I hope your kids enjoy it as much as mine do.
More Space Themed Activities for Kids
- Create your own Puffy Paint planet or moon with our DIY paint recipe
- Make a Rocket to get to Mars with this Rocket STEM Activity
- Get cooking with our Edible Space Rocks that kids will love.
Space Themed Printables in Store Now!
Book Link Max Goes to Mars
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The storyline in Max Goes to Mars is well developed, with a few exciting twists and turns. It’s perfect for kids, like my girls, who’re ready for longer picture books. It’s also appropriate for older children seeking a break from chapter books.
Interestingly, author Jeffrey Bennett is an astrophysicist. You’d never believe it reading his engaging storybooks, but he’s also written college textbooks on astronomy and astrobiology. In Max Goes to Mars Bennett has taken great care to depict a research-based, plausible future of space travel.
As a former middle school reading teacher, I’m always on the lookout for good fiction-nonfiction book pairings. Each genre supports comprehension in the other, helping kids get a little deeper in their understanding.
So I was excited to find that Dr. Bennett has woven fiction and nonfiction into one book. Each page has a sidebar with factual information related to the unfolding story. My 9 year old son went back and read them all after he enjoyed the fictional tale. The sidebars were too advanced for my 5-year-olds, but they did teach me a thing or two!
The story opens with Max and his teenage owner on earth. They learn that Max has been selected to accompany the first human spaceflight to Mars. He’ll help keep the astronauts’ spirits up on the long journey.
After preparations on Earth, during which we learn a bit more about Mars, Max and the crew launch. On Mars, they begin exploring the red planet. We learn that our space dog has another role there. He has a special spacesuit that allows him to sniff for signs of life.
My kids loved following along with the excitement of exploring a new planet, and the suspense of wondering what Max might find.
More Space Books to Read Together Too!
Read more from Heather
Heather from Books and Giggles
Heather is a teacher turned stay-at-home-mom to a son and twin daughters. In her (limited) free time, she loves reading, sailing, and outdoor adventures.