Childhood is often a time of wonder. It’s a time when kids are discovering how the world works and what interesting things exist in it. Ideally, it’s also a time when, as a parent, you will be working on sparking your child’s imagination and encouraging their curiosity in the wonders around them. And one thing that kids are always curious about is the stars in the night sky.
The stars shine down on your house every night and sooner or later your little one will ask what they are and how they work. This gives you a great reason to begin exploring the wonders of astronomy for kids and to start researching the opportunities available for broadening your children’s science horizons.
So let’s talk about what options you have available to educate your kids on the many wonders of astronomy.
What Is Astronomy for Kids?
Astronomy can be a complicated topic. It often involves a lot of complex math and hard to understand concepts that may be a bit much for a child to process. Ideally, astronomy for kids should focus on giving children a fun introduction to astronomy without bogging them down with more details than they can handle.
Giving them this information in a simpler and more digestible format encourages their curiosity and sense of wonder without making it all seem like a chore to them.
If you approach it carefully and playfully, astronomy is a great topic to start your kids in the direction of learning about science and other STEM topics. Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences and has a rich history behind it.
In addition to being a fascinating topic by itself, the development of astronomy as a science is filled with interesting people and great stories about their adventures and misadventures in pursuit of the mysteries of the stars.
Another good angle when getting your kids interested in astronomy is to remind them that nearly all modern science fiction evolved from early tales about the stars. Many fascinating stories have emerged as a result of the study of the night sky and the wonders and mysteries that it contains.
Super-hero fiction is also highly dependent on astronomical concepts, with many of the fictional heroes your kids probably love originally coming from beyond the stars.
Astronomy for Kids Books
Books are a great resource for children to learn from and there are quite a few that focus on the topic of space and astronomy for kids. Books about the stars are great for reading to your young child, and as your kid grows they will probably take an interest in reading those books themselves. Here is a small selection of astronomy books to help your child begin learning about the universe around them.
The Little Kids First Big Book of Space by author Catherine D. Hughes is part of the National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books series and is a great book to start your child’s journey to the stars with.
The book features a colorful cover that will encourage your child’s curiosity to look inside.
Once there they will find more colorful pages and bright illustrations to keep them engaged. The text is a simple introduction to the stars that won’t overwhelm them or bore them with more detail than a young child can handle.
This book cover topics starting with the Earth, moon, and sun. It then discusses the other planets in our local solar system along with dwarf planets, asteroids, non-terrestrial moons, and other nearby astronomy interests.
Once these have been covered it goes further afield into discussions about other solar systems, galaxies, black holes, and the universe in which we live.
The book is a hardcover with 128 pages intended for children 4 to 8 years of age.
Another book published by National Geographic, the Kids Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Night Sky by author Howard Schneider is a great choice to help kids learn about the night-time sky and the mysteries it contains.
The book is filled with photos and facts relating to astronomy and covers topics such as how to spot stars and constellations, how to identify satellites, and which of the stars in the night sky are actually planets. It’s a great book to use as a resource for backyard stargazing.
This book comes in paperback format and is 160 pages long. It is targeted at children 8 to 12 years old.
This is a great book if your children are into fun facts about space and the universe. Written by author Kathi Wagner, it covers topics such as how galaxies come into being, how the sun’s surface gets to 50 thousand degrees Fahrenheit, what causes the earth to spin, how gravity works, and many other interesting bits of information.
The book comes in paperback and Kindle formats and is 144 pages long. It is intended for children of 7 to 12 years of age.
The aptly named Astronomy for Kids by Dr. Bruce Betts is fully illustrated and filled with entertaining and engaging facts about astronomy. It provides a hierarchy of interesting things for kids to look at in the night sky, starting with objects they can see with the naked eye and progressing to the use of binoculars and telescopes.
This book is 168 pages long and comes in paperback format. It is designed for kids in the age range 7 to 13 years.
Astronomy for Kids Magazines
This special issue from Astronomy magazine features one hundred pages of astronomy content targeted at kids to encourage their interest in STEM topics. The magazine includes over two hundred astronomy facts, activities, and other fun bits of content for your kids to enjoy.
Astronomy for Kids Solar System Sets, Models, and Toys
Kids love playing with toys and as every parent knows, the best toys to get them are the ones that engage their curiosity. There is a large range of toys available for kids who are interested in space and astronomy, from card games to mini-planetariums. Here is a small selection to help you cultivate your child’s interest in the stars.
The Qurious Space card game is actually several card games in one. The game can be played in multiple ways, from trivia questions to a matching pairs game. The game was designed by several moms to encourage their children’s interest in STEM topics and space.
It’s a great way to educate your child while entertaining them and is also good for taking on long trips to break the boredom.
The model lets your child move the planets around and see how they are meant to interact.
The planetarium makes for a great DIY parent-child project that will give you the opportunity to talk to your kid about space and astronomy, and hopefully encourage their interest in STEM topics.
This star wheel or planisphere as it’s also known, lets your kid dial up the positions of the stars for a particular time and date and match the results with the view in the night sky.
This is an invaluable tool to have on hand with you anytime you’re outside in the evenings looking up at the stars with your child. It’s a great visual way for them to learn star positions and constellations.
The planetarium projector in this science kit allows you to project a rotating star map against your child’s bedroom wall. You can choose between a variety of other space-related scenes to project too.
These include planets, nebulae, astronauts, spacecraft, and various others with over fifty different image combinations.
Astronomy for Kids Telescopes
Sooner or later your inquisitive child will get bored of looking at the stars with their naked eye and will want a closer look. This is a great opportunity to get them interested in stargazing through a telescope.
Below is a selection of scopes that will suit children from a very young age up to the more serious budding astronomer.
The 2x scope lets them get a better view of the night sky and the projector that comes with it allows them to project space-themed scenes onto their bedroom wall.
They can easily change the scene using the twenty-four projection disks provided with the scope.
The telescope features a 66mm astronomy refractor along with 12x and 6x interchangeable eyepieces. It also comes with a finder scope and a compass to help make locating objects in the night sky easy and fast.
The mobile phone holder allows you to use your phone camera to take pictures and video of the view from the scope. The package also comes with some other things that your kids will love, including glow-in-the-dark space stickers and activity books.
It also comes with a 60 mm objective lens, 2 Barlow lens, 2-element achromatic objective lens, 3 U.S. standard 1.25″ eyepieces, and a 5 x 24 mm finder scope.
The ToyerBee telescope features a 3x Barlow lens and two H20mm and H6mm eyepieces that allow for a magnification of 15x to 150x. Its 70mm aperture and 300mm focal length allow for clear images with plenty of light in the scene.
The scope allows a smartphone to be attached to it to record the distant scene. It also comes with a finder scope to make locating the star of your choice an easy matter.
This is a great scope for a child who is serious about astronomy.
Children’s Astronomy Websites
You can find a huge number of online astronomy resources for both kids and adults with a bit of clever searching. The best places to start though are the official sites that focus on space and astronomy. This makes these three websites a great beginning for your child’s adventure into space and astronomy.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been at the forefront of space exploration for over sixty years and were responsible for putting the first humans on the moon. This makes the NASA Kids Club the perfect place to start educating your kid on astronomy and the future of space travel.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is made up of 22 member states all working together for the peaceful exploration of space. Their website for kids has a huge amount of information and media relating to astronomy and space.
You can find a wide variety of interesting resources on this site, though some may be better suited to older children rather than young kids. The site is also great for teachers looking for information for their class curriculums.
This is a great site for teaching your children that the various governments, organizations, and people around the world can achieve more when they cooperate than when they work alone.
Astronomy.com is the official website for the world’s best-selling astronomy magazine, aptly named “Astronomy”. The kids section of this website provides many useful resources for children and has some fun practical projects to do.
Astronomy is a great way to get your kids interested in science. The stars are always readily available for a child with a decent telescope, and astronomy leads naturally into other STEM subjects such as mathematics, engineering, optical technology, and many other fields.
So, start exploring the wonders of astronomy for kids today and see where that journey takes your children in the future.
We certainly hope you’ve found this article informative. We have covered a lot of material and products that can help inspire and cultivate a love of the stars and space in your child.
If you found this article interesting, be sure to check out our other, equally, interesting articles here on AstroJunkies.com.
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