Under The Stars

Summer is the perfect time to learn about astronomy and explore the stars with your kids. There are lots of fun ways your family can learn about the night sky together right in your own backyard – no telescope required!

After it gets dark, step outside with your family and ask your kids what they see. Do this several nights in a row, and your kids will probably notice that the sky looks different every night. This will be a great starting point for a little astronomy and a lot of family fun!

There is an amazing website called My Kids’ Adventures that has an excellent guide for ways to explore the night sky with your family. Most of the activities take less than 15 minutes of prep time; some will need to be completed at night when the stars are out, but others can be done right at the kitchen table.

There are six fun ways to learn about space with your kids listed in this article.

  1. Read about the moon and stars – There is a list of suggested books on this site to get you started.
  2. Create your own constellations – After picking a favorite constellation, draw it on black paper with a white crayon or pencil. Then construct the constellation using mini marshmallows and toothpicks. Yummy!
  3. Track the size of the moon – Print out a calendar page from Science Net.Links, then go outside each evening or early morning and find the moon. Draw the shape of the moon on the calendar square for that day. (You can also track the moon’s shape using apps on your phone.)
  4. Head outside and locate constellations – This works best on a clear night. You could even have a moonlight picnic while stargazing!
  5. Visit a planetarium or observatory – This could be a field trip the whole family would enjoy.
  6. Add some twinkle to your room – There are peel and stick star kits that glow in the dark available online. There are also several toys and projectors that will shine stars and constellations on the ceiling of a dark room. (I bet your kids won’t gripe about bedtime if they can stargaze from bed!)

Stargazing is a great way to spend some quiet time together with your family. For more details about each of these activities, click here.

– Becky Lynn is a writer for EllisDownHome.com. She and her husband Bob enjoy spending time with their 8 grandchildren and traveling. Becky loves cranking up the music and heading to the kitchen to try out new recipes or cook for an upcoming party. She is passionate about continuing to be a life-long learner!


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