The sky and celestial bodies like stars, the moon and the Sun have always been a subject of fascination across cultures. Many ancient cultures have worshipped them and there are many myths attached to them. Children are not immune to their beauty and the mystery that surrounds them.
From stargazing to exploring space through virtual games, there are numerous ways in which children can experience the universe.
Kids can begin by stargazing. You could drive out to a lookout point close to where you stay or just sit out in your backyard and try to identify visible constellations like the Ursa Major and Orion the Hunter. Take it inside by getting children to recreate their favorite constellation with glow-in-the-dark stars. If your child loves making things, why make stars the limit? You could make a chart of moon phases, the demo of an eclipse or put together the solar system.
Eye on the Sky
You can start with a telescope to get a closer look at the stars. Some observatories attached to schools allow the public on occasions. There are also talks and demos that can offer additional information that will interest young astronomy enthusiasts. Planetariums take it up a notch; they simulate the sky and this is accompanied by detailed explanations and stories covering everything from our solar system to comets and asteroids.
Universe in Your Hands
There are many well-designed apps, websites and computer programs that bring you simulated and real footage of the universe. Kids can start with the solar system with the Planets app and the Solar Walk app; both offer a 3D experience. NASA’s official app is informative; there are footages from the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as news and articles. If kids want something fun, you could try the Kids Discover Space app with an interactive magazine format. For interactive experiments, Stephen Hawking’s Snapshots of the Universe is the app to try out. Space journeys look exciting – find out how it works with the F-Sim Space Shuttle app.
These activities will not only sate the curiosity of children, but they can also inspire a passion to explore the subject further!