As they begin to cast their eyes upwards, children continually become awed by the majestic and mysterious power of the sky and space. It holds the stars, it houses the sun, and it lies above the clouds – all of these phenomena are brand new to young kids.
Teaching your children about space and the world above them can be a fun and exhilarating experience. Here are five ways you can get them to learn about the sky and everything within it.
What child doesn’t like to lie outside in the grass at night and look at the stars? If you can, head to your local library and pick up a book (preferably a children’s book) on constellation names. Before it gets dark at night, go over a few main ones with your child so they know what to look for.
As the stars come out, pick a few constellation names and look for them together. Once you spot them, explain to your child the history or mythology behind the set of stars (this should be included in the book). After you’ve found as many as you can, ask your child to make up a few of their own by spotting patterns in the stars. On a truly starry night, there are endless possibilities to put together!
Make Your Own Constellations
If the weather isn’t holding out well where you live, head inside to make your own constellations!
For this activity, you’ll need cardboard, string, and a pin or toothpick for poking holes. Cut out a few circles from the cardboard (it’s best to start with five). Then, using your poking tool, poke holes in the cardboard to mimic the shapes of stars in a constellation. Make sure that the holes pass all of the way through the cardboard. Once you have finished the stars, poke a hole in the top big enough for a piece of string to pass through.
Now, hang these cardboard cutouts next to a wall in your room, and turn off all of the lights. Once it’s dark in the room, shine a light on the newly made cutouts and watch as the constellations appear on the wall behind you! Now your child can learn about the stars, even on a cloudy day.
Solar System Fun
Now it’s time to teach your child that space holds more than just stars. The Space Exploration Kit is the perfect tool to use for this. Complete with a solar system set that snaps together, a planetarium, a remote-control rocket, a Mars rover, and a moon that glows in the dark, this space exploration game is a great way to show a comprehensive model of the entire solar system. You can show your child the different planets, teach them about the moon, or just step back and watch as they explore the wide world of space, all by themselves!
If you’d like your child to get interactive experience learning about space, head to your local planetarium for a great showing. Usually at regularly scheduled intervals, planetariums hold star showings or virtual explorations on the galaxy or universe. While staring up at the screen, your child will get a full experience of what each aspect of the universe looks like. Planetarium showings are often accompanied by ambient music, making the whole show a fun activity for everyone!
Time For a Telescope
Telescopes come in all shapes and sizes. From the giant ones only seen in museums, to weaker devices used for children, it’s easy to find a telescope for all of your exploration needs. If you can’t get ahold of a basic one yourself, head again to the planetarium or a natural science museum and use theirs. Having your child look through a telescope will allow them to explore the depths of the universe from the comfort of our own planet. They’ll be able to spot other planets, stars, and different things floating around the galaxy – and maybe they’ll even spot a rocket ship!
Explore the Wide World Above
Space and the sky above can be a world of mystery for most children. Use these five activities to teach them about the universe and let them become a space explorer for a day!