The world can seem like a magical and mysterious place to be a first grader, who is just beginning to discover the hows and whys behind so much of what's out there. The night sky is especially fascinating to young children, and particularly elusive, since it seems a million miles away and can’t easily be studied or observed during waking hours.
Here’s a fun and simple way to bring the night sky, and an understanding of what makes a constellation, within your child’s reach at any hour of the day.
What You Need:
- White copy paper
- Black construction paper
- White crayon or piece of light-colored chalk
- Drawing compass with sharp point
What You Do:
- Throw your child’s bedtime routine out the window for one clear, dark night, and take her outside to stargaze. Help her find a common and easy-to-spot constellation, such as the Big Dipper.
- Attach the white paper to the clipboard, and have her use a pencil to draw the constellation, dot-to-dot style. Bring the constellation drawing inside and put it on top of the black construction paper. Use tape to secure the two pieces of paper together. Use the pointed end (a job for an adult) to poke through the dots that your child drew on the white paper. Be sure to poke all the way through both layers of paper.
- Remove the white paper. Have your child use a white crayon or a piece of chalk to connect the dots on the black paper. Assist your child in writing the name of the constellation at the bottom of the paper. Consult a star guide if necessary.
- Finally, use tape to hang the black paper constellation on a sunny window, where the sun can shine through the holes and make the start twinkle in the daylight. Now your child can enjoy the beauty and wonder of the night sky at all hours of the day!
Liana Mahoney is a National Board Certified elementary teacher, currently teaching a first and second grade loop. She is also a certified Reading Specialist, with teaching experience as a former high school English teacher, and early grades Remedial Reading Instructor.