DIY: Rocket Ship for the Kids (Plus Cosmos for the Adults)

At this point, Elon Musk’s mission to Mars couldn’t come any faster. We’ve all been cooped up with nowhere to go and running out of ideas to keep everyone entertained. We’ve baked bread, planted vegetables, and made chalk obstacle courses—that I still am unable to get out of my kids’ clothes and our new sofa cushions, FYI. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not super enthusiastic about going totally back to “normal” yet. So this means more at-home time. While on a bike ride with the kids, I stumbled upon a refrigerator box in my newly moved-in neighbors’ recycling pile, and it sparked an idea: a DIY rocket ship for the kids (plus, while the kids are going to the Cosmos, I figured I could follow the theme and pair it with my own “cosmos”).

Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to make your own DIY rocket ship for the kids, as well as a delicious and easy Cosmopolitan recipe. And tell me in the comments about the best thing your family has crafted while in quarantine!


What You’ll Need

  • 1 large box (preferably a refrigerator box) or 4 equal-size panels of cardboard
  • 2 cardboard panels, equal in width, for the roof or 4 if you want the roof fully enclosed
  • scissors or X-Acto knife
  • duct tape
  • paint
  • paintbrushes
  • glue
  • stickers, glitter, tin foil (or whatever your heart desires to decorate your spacecraft)


Step 1

Build the body of the ship: If you happen to have a refrigerator size box lying around, you are steps ahead of putting together the body of the ship. The biggest component is to make sure you have four walls around your kiddos. If you don’t happen to have a built-in body, then you need to get your hands on four cardboard sides that are approximately 2.5 to 3 feet wide and at least 4 feet tall. Before you tape the 3 sides together paint any colors or patterns that will be time consuming. It’s much easier to do this pre-assembly. We painted ours all white and then added small details after. If you want any windows or portholes, now is the time to cut those as well.

Step 2

Cut a door: Once the paint is dry, grab duct tape and tape three sides of the ship together. Hold off on taping one cardboard side, so that you can cut a door to get in and out. It is easiest to cut if it is not already attached. On the fourth wall, draw whatever size door and use a scissor or an X-Acto knife to cut open. We placed our cardboard on our cement driveway to support as the knife went through. Once the body is secure and you’ve cut your door, attach the last and final piece of the body.

Step 3

Add the roof: This part can be a tad tricky, which is why we just made a cardboard lean-to roof with two sides. For our roof, we used a cardboard square that was as wide as the rocket ship, so the piece would fit nicely on top of our rocket. We cut that square in half, painted it and then duct-taped it together for an upside “v.” Next, we taped the piece to the rocket ship.

Step 4

Make the wings: We had leftover pieces of cardboard, so we created two obtuse triangles to have a more elongated wing effect. We painted them silver with some glitter along the edges (don’t recommend as glitter is insanely hard to get off and out of everything). After they were dry, we taped them to the sides to give the rocket a “lift” feel.

Step 5

Decorate to your heart’s content: Get creative. Look at space pictures or aliens or anything that sparks joy. I found a NASA logo and had some fun painting that, and the kids made planets and splattered paint. Just have fun and remember to breathe. And sipping on a cocktail is highly recommended. See the Cosmo recipe below.

For the adults: Cosmos

In case you need a cocktail to go with all this crafting, might I recommend this classic Cosmopolitan recipe from The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks? 


1.5 ounces vodka
¾ ounce Cointreau
1 ounce cranberry juice
¼ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
Orange peel, preferably flamed for garnish (but who needs a garnish really?)


Shake the vodka, cointreau, cranberry juice, and lime juice with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the orange peel, flamed for dramatic effect. Cheers!


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  • Amanda Holden

    I love this! Cardboard boxes have always and will always be the perfect canvas for imagination. We were getting tons of deliveries due to ordering online while staying home and our kids built an entire town out of the boxes. There was a two story school, animal hospital, hotel, several houses, and zoo at one point. It took over both their bedrooms and drove me crazy trying to clean around, but it sparked so much joy for them.

  • Alissa Vermillion

    I don’t have kids, but it’s fun to watch what you do for yours (and how they enjoy it)!

  • Alexandria Nicole Moses

    Gen, You Are Literally The Best Mom Ever. Always Coming Up With These Great Ideas With Your Kids And Your Family Is Very Lucky To Have You In Their Lives. YOUR AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!

  • Aloha Selam

    I love those ideas and definitely will try to do that too! Mahalo.🌈🌴🌴

  • Leora

    Just love these articles. You are an amazing mom! I fell in love with the Winchester boys 15 years ago, but have gained a loyal respect and love for you and your precious babies. Thank you for sharing your family!!!!

  • Eugenia Kennedy

    Wow!! Thank you for sharing your DIY rocket building adventure!!! You all have the best creative ideas for fun!!! Looking forward to this weeks launch!! So amazing!! Also excellent pull ups!!! Thanks for making us smile!! 🚀🌈🤩

  • Kim Jacobs

    What a great craft idea for the kids! I see having an extra y’all hubby also came in handy. The Cosmo looks delicious, too!

    Have as much fun with your kids as you can possibly cram in. What’s happening now is a once in a lifetime event and pretty soon everyone will be getting back to their busy lives. Take the time to breathe and make the most of family.

  • Vicki Croisetiere

    Great idea! My boys would love this. And there’s drinks!!!!!

  • Christa

    A great idea! I enjoyed your accompanying sound track if you’d be will you share 🙂 thank you!

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