Lockdown Day 24 – Family Time!
All of our posts up to now have provided you with suggested activities that you can do with your children mostly during the day time. Today we have something special just for the evening…
* STARGAZING *
You will need to download an app called Skyview Lite. It is free and easy to use. There are other stargazing apps, but we have found this one to be the most useful for children. It even has cool stargazing music in the background to enhance the experience!
SET THE SCENE
This experience will be more fun if you make an event out of it. If you have a garden, set out a picnic blanket, bring along some pillows and snuggle blankets. A snack or two (or a hug of hot chocolate) would also be a welcome addition!
LAY THE FOUNDATION
Before you start – have a bit of a discussion about stars and the universe. If you need some inspiration, take some time today to ask Google! The best thing to do is to search children’s sites as the language contained there is more child-friendly than on ‘adult’ sites!
You can start with the ‘BIG PICTURE‘:
- What is the universe?
- Our solar system is part of the Milky Way Galaxy
- Our planet is part of the Solar System
- There are eight planets in our Solar System
- All these planets orbit around the Sun
Then narrow this down to EARTH:
- Earth is the third planet from the Sun
- Earth has its own Moon
- At night, we can see the Moon, other planets and the stars of the Milky Way
- Depending on the age of the child, you may also like to explain what a star is.
SETTLE IN TO ENJOY THE MAGIC
1. Open the app.
2. Point your phone (or tablet) at the stars and slowly move it around to see what pictures pop up. These will be of constellations, planets, the moon and man-made objects like telescopes.
3. The app gives a short description of what you are seeing. Translate this into age-appropriate language for the child.
4. Lower the phone and see if you can identify the stars that make up the constellation without the use of the app.
5. You could use this opportunity to explain to children how the ancient people used the stars to find direction – both on land and at sea. They also used the stars to create calendars to show the passing of time.
In the night sky at the moment (April 2020), you should be able to see:
Also look out for:
- the Hubble Space Telescope
- the International Space Station
If you are lucky, you may also get to see a shooting star!
The more you research the night sky and all that is in it, the more you will be able to share with your child!
Here at MCSA, we have a saying: “The more interesting you are, the more interested your child will be!”