Astronomy for Kids: Great Books and Marshmallow Constellations - Edventures with Kids

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Astronomy for Kids: Great Books and Marshmallow Constellations

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Welcome back to our super Summer Science series! 

We are collaborating with Inspiration Laboratories to share some great books and fun hands-on science activities each Wednesday during the summer -- this week's topic is Astronomy.

 

I love to explore this area of science during the summer and fall. 

It's the perfect time to get outside for an evening walk and look at the stars (and in some cases, a few planets too!)

Inevitably, the kids will ask us: "How many stars are in the sky?" or "Why do the stars shine at night?" plus a million other variations of those impossible-to-answer questions. 

It's all part of the scientific inquiry process -- being intrigued enough to ask the questions.

Introduce kids to the idea of astronomy by reading a book or two from our reading list (affiliate links are included for further information on each one) and then construct some fun constellations.  Top it off with an evening walk to see if you can spot any of cellestial animals that you read out in the story.

 

Astronomy for Kids

 

Books about the Stars

 

Our Stars

A great book that introduces the stars to younger children.  The simple words and bright illustrations encourage kids to look up and give more attention to the night sky. Great for preschoolers.

 

The Big Dipper (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)

Part of a highly recommended science series, The Big Dipper does a wonderful job of introducing constellations to the youngest astronomers!  Learn how the stars 'move' in our sky, the names of the various stars that are part of the big dipper and how to find the North Star.  Perfect for kids ages 4 - 8 years.

 

Glow-in-the-Dark Constellations

I love the layout of this book!  First, it discusses each constellation in detail including the story of how each was named and the stars found in their structure.  It also shows where it can be found in the northern and southern hemisphere and answers some of those tough questions, such as "Why do constellations appear in different places in the night sky during the year?".  An excellent resources for kids ages 6 - 10 years.

 

The Stars

Older kids will enjoy the star charts and detailed information about the constellations in this great book.  Readers will also learn about the seasonal movement of the stars, information about black holes and other areas of our solar systems and facts about each of the planets.  Best for ages 12+.

 

Construct marshmallow constellations

Marshmallow Constellations

A fun (and tasty) way to learn more about the stars -- construct marshmallow constellations! 

 

how to make marshmallow constellations

Supplies:

    • a bag of mini-marshmallows
    • toothpicks
    • diagram of your favorite constellation

 

Visit Mr. Printables to find a copy of the summer constellations map so you can see the star patterns for each one.  Either print out or draw the constelltion you will create (we used black paper with white colored pencils to draw ours). 

Use dots for each of the stars and lines to frame the constellation's shape. 

 

building constellations

Construct the constellation using the mini-marshmallows for each of the stars.  Connect them with toothpicks so they resemble the outline of the star group.

 

Summer Snack Tip:

Yes, you can use mini-marshmallows to make s'mores ;) 

Instead of cooking them on a stick, they can be melted over the fire or grilled in tin foil and then spread onto your graham crackers.

 

 

Star Charts for Kids

Explore the Night Sky

You'll probably need a star chart or an app to find many of the constellations.  Visit Kids Astronomy to print a star chart for your area

If you'd rather go high tech (and have older kids), download an app for your phone that will help you locate each of the constellations.  These can be really amazing -- you hold your phone up to the sky and it almost find the constellations for you!  If you have an iPhone, try the Sky Guide app.  For Android phones, look at the StarChart app (may not work on newer phones).

To explore more astronomy, head over to Inspiration Labortories for a fun science activity exploring the Earth, Moon & Sun.

 

 

Be sure to visit all of the awesome booklists & activities for all the science topics!

 

Summer Science for Kids

 

June 25th -- {Biology}

Books & Websites that explore Plants, Animals & the Human Body

Backyard Earthworm Experiments

 

July 2nd -- {Geology}

The Science of Rocks, Fossils and Volcanoes

Become a Rock Collector

Digging for Dinosaurs -- Learn to be a Paleontologist

 

July 9th -- {Astronomy}

Explore the Night Sky - Marshmallow Constellations

The Earth, Moon & Sun

Books about Space

Solar System Activities for Kids

 

July 16th -- {Physics}

Fantastic Forces & Water Rockets

Exploring Color and Temperature

Does your Food Sink or Float?

 

July 23rd -- {Chemistry}

Create Your Own Wizard's Lab

Make a Cup Cake (Chemistry of Baking)

Blowing Up Balloons/Blowing Out Candles

 

July 30th -- {Ecology}

Kids Activities that Explore Ecology

A Lesson about Food Chains

Learning about Biomes

Create an Under the Sea World: Exploring Ocean Zones

 

 

 

 

 

 

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