Posted: Sep 02 2015
Teaching children about the subject of space shouldn't be dull, dull, dull, particularly when this is a topic that can be so inspiring and intriguing! So here I take a look at five awesome constellation based activities from tried and tested kid friendly websites that provide fun and creative hands on learning ideas for your little space cadets!! Enjoy :)
1. Constellation Geoboards
Geoboards are a wonderful way to demonstrate and teach constellations. They consist of a pin board, a black background and a handy print out for the constellations that will serve as the base into which pins are pushed and strings are tied. You can find a number of blogs on this topic but this one is my favourite.
2. Paper Tube Telescopes
This tutorial from the well-known and seriously creative Kids Activities Blog really lets children’s creative side run wild. Here the little ones get to create a telescope of their own and decorate it as they wish with silver thread, glitter and silver and gold stars.
The telescope is then coupled with plenty of print out constellations that can be held over the end of the tube to learn the various shapes of constellations such as the Plough, Orion and Andromeda.
3. Constellation Sewing Cards
Sewing is great for improving fine motor skills and when coupled with some ready-made constellation templates you have one fun activity that helps your little one learn about space as well as improve their hand-eye coordination.
4. Star Gazing Party
Confetti Sunshine is a website that is stuffed full of fun kids’ activities and this particular blog article is all about teaching a whole party full of children about space, whilst keeping them all thoroughly entertained. The blog includes links to NASA constellation maps (suitable for each month of the year) as well as handy hints and tips for managing the stargazing session.
5. Constellation Craft For Kiddies
This last activity is a lovely task for children from a very young age (particularly as there are no pins or needles in sight!). Here kids get to create constellations upon black craft paper with the help of chalk and sticky stars. The constellations that can be created cover all the popular constellations and can be printed from the Montessori for Everyone website resource page. Includes link for cool Smartphone app too.
Ten Awesome Facts About Constellations
- There are 88 official constellations. 48 of these were recorded by Ptolemy in 150 AD.
- The largest constellation is Hydra which takes up 3.6% of the sky.
- The Plough (or Big Dipper) isn't a constellation. It is what is known as a Asterism - it in fact forms part of the constellation Ursa Major (Latin : Larger Bear).
- Knowledge of constellations came from early civilizations.
- There are actually 13 zodiac constellations (only twelve of them are used in astrology).
- Look to the East to see new constellations appear throughout the year.
- You can see different constellations depending on the time of the year and where on Earth you are gazing up from. Star maps are typically created for the Northern Southern Hemispheres.
- The brightest star in the sky is called Sirius (Ancient Greek for glowing) and can be found in the Canis Major constellation.
- The word constellations comes from Latin and means 'set with stars'.
- The smallest constellation is called the Crux.
Constellation Hunt - fab little online game albeit a little tricky as constellations are quite small
Heroes in the Sky - great resource for kids from Royal Museums Greenwich
The Night Sky - Lovely book full of lots of detail - includes star map and stickers too!
Sun, Moon and Stars - fabulous introduction to the topic for 4-6 age range.
Zoo in the Sky - Enchanting book - beautifully illustrated and full of interesting facts. I love this book.
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