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Welcome to Simply Summer School—weekly activities and tips to keep your child learning and engaged over the summer vacation gap! Try out this week’s tips and activities to get your child motivated to keep learning!

Weekly Activity: Learning about constellations

Children and adults have always been fascinated with the night sky. Stay up late with your children on a clear night and take a look at the night sky. The website Kid’s Astronomy has this free sky map of constellations. Print it out and see what you can find! Here are a couple of constellation activities that can be adapted for preschoolers through middle schoolers.

*Adaptation for younger children:  For younger children, don’t worry about making a real constellation. Let your child create their own constellations with these activities if they are too young to replicate real ones. Your child can name their own constellation after themselves! This adaptation works for most of these activities. Preschoolers, especially, love making constellations named after themselves!

Marshmallows Constellations

Materials:

Pretend marshmallows are stars for this activity! Pick out your constellation and lay out the marshmallows as the stars are placed. Then use the toothpicks to connect them. My daughter really enjoyed this activity–probably because she got to eat marshmallows while she did it!

Constellation in a box

Materials:

  • Shoe box
  • Black paper
  • Scissors
  • Safety pin
  • Map of constellation
  • Pencil
  • Tape

Start by cutting a small, 1 centimeter hole in one end of the shoe box. At the other end, cut a window out leaving an edge around the box. Using the star map, pick out a constellation that you want to make for the box. I like to use a pencil to make dots marking star placement of the constellation on black paper. Then use the safety pin the pierce the dots. Tape the construction paper on the window end of the box. Put the lid back on the box and peer through the smaller hole. Aim the box toward a window or light to see the stars sparkle and you can view your constellation!

Flashlight Constellations

Materials:

  • Construction paper
  • Toothpick
  • Constellations map
  • Scissors
  • Flashlight
  • Pencil

Trace a circle the size of a small bowl on the construction paper and cut it out. Use a pencil to mark the constellation on the paper and punch the holes with a toothpick. In a dark room, shine the flashlight at the constellation and watch it appear on your wall.

Chalk Constellations

Materials:

  • Black paper
  • Star stickers
  • White chalk
  • Constellation map

Place stars on paper to form a constellation. Use chalk to connect the stars and create your constellation!