If your little munchkin is fascinated with the big, dark sky at night, teach her a little bit about the stars and beyond with some artistic activities, tasty treats and even a family day trip. Make the most of an upcoming weekend and jam pack your night sky activities into two days of learning fun, or take your time and incorporate night sky ideas into your regular routine.
1. Glittery Star Mobile
Start with some different colored sheets of construction paper and cut out some stars and a moon shape. Have your little artist transform each one into a glittery accessory for his mobile with sparkles and glue. If you're feeling energetic, don't stop at the stars and the moon. Use the mobile activity to teach your little tyke about the nocturnal creatures that occupy the night sky with cutouts of owls and bats to decorate as well. Poke a tiny hole through each of the cut outs, thread a piece of string through each hole and attach the strings to a metal clothes hanger to complete the mobile.
2. Night Sky Pictures
If your preschooler is an aspiring little artist, let her discover the night sky with a simple painting activity. Start with paints and paintbrushes and help her to make star and moon shapes with every color she wants. If you see her eyes move longingly to those finger paints, make her day and don't worry about the cleanup. Let the paint dry a bit, then let her fill in the sky's empty spaces with silver moon and star stickers, glue-on felt shapes and star stamps.
3. Candy Cookie Stars
Turn your little baker into an astronomer with a simple cookie project in the kitchen. Start with sugar cookie dough and have your preschooler roll out the dough. Now, let him cut out as many star shapes as he can with a cookie cutter. Use a smaller star shape cutter to cut out a star from the center of each larger star. Cover a baking sheet with wax paper and place the bigger cookies on the sheet. Melt some semi-transparent hard candies in a double boiler and then spoon a little in the center of each star. (Keep little hands away from the hot candy.) Bake the cookies and then enjoy your starry treat. If you want to stay away from sugary treats, that's no problem at all. Cut slabs of different types of melon and let your little guy use cookie cutters to make some tasty night sky shapes.
4. Family Field Trip
Let your preschooler learn all about the night sky and find out what lies beyond from an expert on the skies at a children's museum, planetarium or observatory. At many of these venues, preschoolers can learn the basics of astronomy, constellations and even a little ancient mythology with a multitude of hands-on, interactive exhibits. When her little mind has absorbed all it can for the day, make a quick trip to the gift shop so you can bring home a memento or two to remind her of your night sky adventure.
- Wishing on a Star; Fran Lee
- Storytime Magic: 400 Fingerplays, Flannelboards, and Other Activities; Kathy Macmillan, et al.
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