Constellations for kids can indeed be fun. From reading about famous constellations and their myths to looking at a constellation map there are tons of activities that will bolster your understanding of constellations. In the last part of our kids optics lab we take a closer look at constellations as we build our own miniature telescopes from toilet paper tubes and small lenses (or magnifying glasses and reading glasses). They will use these homemade telescopes to look at the night sky and track pieces of the obliterated asteroid of doom, making sure they won’t wipe us out like the dinosaurs.
I’ve been dreaming up some great science activities for kids to add on to this lab regarding constellations and planets. I added this cool science activity on the scaling guide for every age because, cookies – and what age person doesn’t like a delicious cookie?!?
I drew constellation images in chocolate chips and sprinkles to help engage your child in the process, and the constellation maps help everyone when putting in the “stars”, although I certainly know my 2-year-old will be making up many of her own constellations – or potentially eating a huge amount of chocolate stars! We used mini chocolate chips as the stars and colorful sprinkles as connecting lines to help visualize the constellations. Our free download has a bunch of constellation suggestions and super easy to follow directions! If you want a fun way to learn our planets check out our solar system bracelets!
Learning about Constellations
(Aka great talking points for you while you are engaged in the project)
How many constellations are there? There are 88 common constellations that divide up the skies we see from Earth, although not all of them are visible from one part of Earth, or at certain seasons of the year. See a list of all 88 constellations with images of them outlined in the night sky!
Why can’t I see all the constellations? Not all constellations are visible from any one point on Earth. The night sky we see in the northern hemisphere is always different than that we see in the southern hemisphere. In addition, we see different constellations with different seasons as our Earth revolves around the Sun, showing different parts of the sky at night, astronomers call this the changing night sky.
What is the largest constellation? The largest constellation is Hydra, which takes up more than 3% of the night sky! The smallest constellation, Crux, is less than 0.2% of the sky.
Where did the idea of constellations come from? Many of the constellations have a mythological story to go with them from the ancient Greeks. In addition, the word constellation means “set with stars” in Latin!