Building a model space shuttle can be a fun and educational activity for children of all ages, and can encourage -- or has the potential to spark -- an interest in science and astronomy. Lots of methods for building a space shuttle are available. This is a very simple process suitable for younger children; for older children see the links in the Resources section.
Wash and dry the milk carton. Open the top completely and make a slit in each corner, about an inch deep. Fold the flaps you have created so they form a flat top to the milk carton and tape them in place. Cover the carton in white paper and glue it in place.
Lay the carton flat and cut two horizontal cuts in one side, the first about an inch from the top and the second about three inches below that. Make one vertical cut in the centre of the two horizontal cuts, creating a door in the carton, then open this door.
Fold a piece of paper into quarters and cut a wide-based, curvy triangle out, creating four identical shapes. Glue the wide edge of each of the four triangles to the top of the carton, one triangle on each edge. Gather the tops of the triangles together and tape them in place, sealing the sides, to create the nose of the space shuttle.
Cut two wing shapes out of another piece of white paper and glue to the underside (the side opposite the doors) of the carton. Use the picture in the References section to achieve the correct wing shape. You can make the wings out of card if you want them to be slightly sturdier.
Glue three of the paper cups to the bottom of the carton. Cut the fourth cup in half vertically and set aside. Cut a fin shape out of paper and fold over one edge to create a flap, and glue this just below the doors. Glue the two pieces of the fourth paper cup to the fin, one on either side.
Cut a small slit into the top of one of the straws. Insert the second straw into the slit at an angle and tape in place.
Cut two small rectangles out of paper. Roll one of them up and glue it onto the other, flat rectangle.
Flatten one end of the straws and tape it to the centre of the paper rectangle. Tape the other end of the straws to the open doors of the space shuttle.
Decorate the finished space shuttle with NASA lettering, flags, windows and any other decoration you desire.
For very young children, do all the cutting beforehand so they just have to glue and decorate.