Google+ Authentic Parenting: Kid's Activity: Constellations

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kid's Activity: Constellations

Written by Iyas, Freaky Rivet

On a clear night, there's little that relaxes and opens the mind more than just lying back and gazing at
the stars. Now admittedly, this is probably more easily done where 'clear night' is a description (for example in Laura's Liberia) than where it's just crazy talk (for example in my England). But suspend your disbelief you Northern Europeans and Canadians, and think of those two or three nights a year when it happens!
Well, on those clear nights, spotting constellations with your kids can be enormous fun. Not just the ones that actually exist - and here's a great kids astronomy site where they can learn a few - but also imagining some on a particularly starry night. We've done a "dad's belly" constellation in my family, but given some time and inspiration, your kids could get a lot more offensive than that!
Aside from spotting them in the great outdoors, and especially for those of us who's skies are too regularly cloudy, it can be great fun to do a craft project and create a constellation with the kids for their bedroom. Black paper, a favourite cartoon character, and some stick-on glow-in-the-dark stars, and we're all set. Stop reading now - you know what the rest of this activity is...

Choose a favourite cartoon character with your kids. Preferably one with a very distinctive shape - say Lisa Simpson. Find a clear picture of them on the internet, blow the image as large as you can to fit on a piece of paper and print it out. Cut around the shape, pin it to the black card, and then place shiny stars on either the key points of the character or where the outline has a dramatic change of direction. Try to avoid just putting stars along the full outline - that's not how constellations look - but just stay with the key points of changing direction. Remove the outline, and you should be left with stars that mark out the shape of the character.
Done! Stick it on the ceiling above their bed or behind the bedroom light, and when the light goes out, they'll be left with a Lisa Simpson (or whomever) constellation.

Leaving you to go outside, lie back, look at the stars with a glass of wine, creating your own risque constellation outlines with your partner!

Freaky Rivet was founded by Iyas, the author of this article and father of four, and Kevin, an ex-teacher of over a thousand children and who also runs activity days for schools. Iyas used to lead a business and technology consulting organisation of nearly 500 people, which he left for the bigger challenge of herding his four children with his wife around Latin America for 6 months. During this life-changing trip to recover from the corporate world, he discovered both the subtly addictive nature of gadgets and technology for children, and their ability to enjoy exploration, discovery and activity when peeled away from the technology. It was this eureka moment that led him with Kevin, an old friend from their time together at Oxford University, to come up with the Freaky Rivet concept - inviting children into a life of activity, of exploration and of discovery by using technology rather than fighting it. In his spare time (kidding, right?) he runs a charity for children living in disadvantaged and war-torn environments.


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