Learning about the stars is very exciting to many children. This fun science activity for kids will teach them how to identify several popular constellations. Additionally, it will let them explore ideas behind the structure of the universe, including the fact that these stars are outside of our solar system and, in some cases, outside of our galaxy.
Plan this activity for a clear night, one preferably without a full moon. If you live in the city, you may want to travel to a park or other safe place in order to see the sky more clearly. If you don't have a telescope, there are astronomy clubs in virtually every city that offer free viewing. The clubs can also tell you when and were to view the best and most interesting objects in the sky.
Before heading out for the stargaze, look up constellations and stars with your kids. Print out information about each of the constellations your children are interested in viewing. These constellations are often accompanied by historical stories, myths, or legends. Bring these along, as well, as they will be fun to discuss during the stargaze.
There are many amazing inexpensive mobile stargazing apps that let you point at a section of the sky and learn about what you're seeing.
When you get outside, set up the telescope and get your bearings. Have your kids search for constellations with their naked eyes before having them look through the telescope. During the search, talk about how far away these stars are and how ancient civilizations used them to navigate. Additionally, bring up any fun facts that you encountered during your earlier Internet research. Encourage your kids to ask questions and write them down. Once you get home, find the answers together.
- Clear night sky
- Telescope (or connect with an Astronomy Club)
- A star chart (or a great mobile App)
- Information about constellations and stars
Learning about the night sky is a great way for kids to grasp their own place in the universe. Additionally, this activity provides insight into the value of myths and legends.