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News & Discussion

How to Stargaze with Your Kids

May 28, 2018 12:00 AM

Kids enjoy looking into the night sky at the twinkling stars and finding the “Man in the moon.” When was the last time though that you took your children to a local park to truly take in and observe the magnificence of the night sky? You can also weave in some educational elements too, like mythology, math, and astronomy, of course.

Not sure how to make the most of your stargazing experience with your family? Here are a few tips:

1. Go to a secluded park or field, or even the beach. You want to be as far away from city lights as possible. The artificial lighting will prevent you from seeing the brilliance of the different constellations and differentiating them from the planets.

2. Bring chairs and blankets to get comfortable for stargazing. Then, you can relax and watch the night sky in comfort. The blankets can be used to lie on or cover up with if it’s a chilly evening.

3. Set up your chairs, etcetera just before dark (while it’s dusk) because your eyes need about 15-20 minutes to adjust to the night sky.

4. Bring a telescope or binoculars so that you can focus on the stars and planets.

5. Don’t forget to bring space themed snacks, like Meteorite Rice Krispy Treats. (Rice Krispy treats are one of the easiest treats to make, and all you do to make them into meteorites is to form them into balls. Easy as that)!

For more tips on how to prepare for your stargazing trip with your kids, read more at (https://www.getoutwiththekids.co.uk/activities/learning/stargazing) and (https://www.greenchildmagazine.com/stargazing-with-kids-101/).

Most young children don’t have a long attention span, let alone an interest in stargazing, so plan this activity according to your children’s age and maturity level. If your youngsters are early elementary school age, eight years old or under, you may want to consider bringing an astronomy picture book with you to help them pick out the constellations. Some books that you might be interested in are Look Inside Space by Rob Lloyd Jones, Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers, and A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman. Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet by Buzz Aldrin, Chasing Space by Leland Melvin, and Sally Ride: A Photobiography of America’s Pioneering Woman in Space by Tam O’Shaughnessy are fascinating books for older kids, ages ten years old and up.

One of the most recognizable constellation groups is Orion’s Belt. This is an excellent group to find for preschool-aged children. Have your kids locate and count the three stars that are in a row diagonally. Older kids should be able to find Ursa Minor, or the Little Dipper, as well as Ursa Major, the Big Dipper. Both look like saucepans except one is larger than the other. Finding these shapes is a great way to tie in math concepts to stargazing without your children realizing it.

When you spend time with your children, not only are you making special memories that will last a lifetime, but you are also teaching them that they are part of an enormous universe. Stargazing makes them feel connected to nature. These times together can facilitate and encourage them to discover and explore space and the galaxies as they grow up.

Are you looking for a space program that is age-appropriate for your children that will get them excited about science? Why not sign up for our Space Camp? Hurry call today to register because space is limited and it’s filling up fast!


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