Each year Astronomy Day is celebrated worldwide. The stars have fascinated humanity for literally centuries, and even to this day captures the imagination of kids of all ages. Celebrate this event with them this year and don’t worry if you don’t own any expensive telescopes. These DIY activities use real life discoveries to inspire your little astronomers!

Track the Phases of the Moon

Bone sticks from across Europe and Africa dating back as long ago as 35,000 BCE that tracked the moon’s phases. Use a simple number line with your kids to track the phases of the moon over the course of a month, from full moon and back again. Do it for several months and see what patterns they begin to observe.

Depict a Celestial Phenomenon

A celestial phenomenon is a astrological event that involves one or more objects. The earliest example depicted was discovered in Germany in 1999. The Nebra Sky Disc dates back to 2000 BC and it depicted a star cluster, phases of the moon and the rising sun.

Use a black paper plate, or even just black paper, and encourage your children to depict their own star formations. If they can’t stay up to observe them at night, project some indoors with this Shining Stars Projector.

Astronomy to Keep Time

The Chinese astronomers kept detailed observations beginning about 600 BC, for the primary purpose of timekeeping. Their records allowed them to predict eclipses, and include the first record of events such as supernovas and comets.

On the other side of the world, the Mayans developed their own astronomical tables for predicting the phases of the moon, eclipses, and the appearance of the other planets. They used these and the cycles of the Sun, the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and constellations to establish the Mayan calendar.

All of the above astronomy was without a telescope, and you can still observe these astronomical events with your kids today. Check out this astronomy calendar and pick a full moon, eclipse, planetary event, or meteor shower to observe as a family.

Try this simple astronomy experiment to help kids as young as preschoolers understand what makes night.

Just because ancient astronomers did all of this without a telescope doesn’t mean your little ones have to! All of the above activities can be done with the naked eye but if you feel like shooting for the stars check out Learning Resources Big View Telescope. How will you celebrate Astronomy Day?

 

DIY Astronomy Day Activities!