Children have their own innate interests and parents should always encourage them. But subjects like astronomy needs an introduction, as its presence in our day to day life is almost nil. All the more, not only it could turn out to be a career option, but also learning about astronomy and the wonderful universe would give the children a broader vision and outlook about life in general.
One of the most exciting events in the history of humans was the moon landing in 1969. When the two astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, walked on the moon for the first time, the whole world celebrated. That single event made lots of children dreaming about a career in the aerospace industry. Now, decades later, space exploration has again captured mainstream media attention with privately funded organizations like SpaceX openly speaking about their mission to Mars. The Lunar surface is also about to be explored more as the human race bravely steps out of its comfort zones. As a whole, governments around the world have realized the importance of venturing out and seeking habitable planets is vital to the survival of our species.
Five Simple Steps to Get Your Child Interested in Astronomy
- Paint the Ceiling
This is one of the easiest and effective ways to get your kid’s attention turn to the skies. You can use any image like a night sky, stars, moon, the solar system or even that of a galaxy. You can do this as soon as the baby is old enough to recognize images. Now there is glow in the dark paints available which will brighten up the ceiling like real night skies. Moreover, it will provide hours of fun for the tiny tots along with some necessary learning about astronomy.
- Take your Kids Star Gazing
As your children become old enough to go out, parents can resort to the oldest method by which humans used to observe the heavenly bodies: star gazing. On clear cloudless nights, make them observe the skies from your backyard or even your rooftop. Make sure that you don’t miss out on any extraordinary events like a lunar eclipse or a meteor shower. Also, there are times during the year when other planets like Mars, Venus, and even Jupiter are clearly visible to the naked eye. This is one activity that can be incorporated and turned into some fun family time. Make stargazing your main aim while camping. Choose a location like a hilltop where the sky is not obscured by trees and the visibility is good. Your children will love some quiet time where they can just sit around a campfire, look above with dreamy eyes and wonder what lies beyond.
- Buy them some Books on Astronomy
Older children who like reading books will certainly prefer to know more about space through books. While most parents can boast about only the basics of astronomy, books provide a much deeper and accurate picture of the skies. As your kids grow you can buy them books which are more scientific and in-depth in their subject matter. Little children will definitely love books with lots of pictures.
- Buy a Telescope
A Telescope provides a closer, more detailed view of the objects in the sky. It can do wonders for a child’s imagination and his interests could grow multifold. But, remind yourself that telescope is expensive and only buy them if your kids really show an interest in knowing more about astronomy.Children are curious by nature and love asking questions. If you want your kids to know about astronomy, you should be prepared to answer some questions from them. So, brushing up your memory or learning about celestial objects and their positions in the sky is a must for parents in order to answer your kid’s query. And an active participation from the parents makes kids more enthusiastic about stargazing with you.
- Get the Star Walk 2 – Night Sky Map
This app is great for the whole family to begin to fully discover what is up in the night sky. Great to have along with your telescope to find objects to explore. With this app you can discover the wonders of the universe. Just aim your device (smartphone, iPad, etc.) to view the real-time positions of planets, stars, constellations, and more. You can zoom in to explore Wikipedia articles, 3D models, and other media related to our favorite celestial bodies.
Astronomy or just stargazing is a great way to encourage curiosity and learning in your children. It is a great family activity that brings everybody closer together. If you live near a planetarium, you should go as a family for one of their shows. They can be awesome experiences to share and they usually have some great interactive exhibits as well.