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Build a Mini Planetarium Together in Your Home

July 9, 2009

Star light, star bright
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish, I wish tonight…

Are your children curious when they look into the sky and see those little blinking stars, or the moon? Children are always asking questions. You’re probably used to hearing “Why this?” and “Why that?” pretty often. Children’s willingness to learn is incredible, and this time in their lives is crucial to their brains’ development (and your sanity, of course – we all know the “why” questions can get a bit draining!). It is never too early to start teaching them about the twinkling lights in the sky. Even though little ones may not fully comprehend astronomical theories, you can introduce them to basic concepts like stars, moons, planets, and constellations.

One fun way to ease the curiosity and get the kids thinking is to build a miniature planetarium in your home. By simulating the night sky, the little ones can develop an interest in space and properly grasp where and why planets are in the sky. Don’t be surprised if your child wants to become an astronaut and fly to space after this project!

What you will need to build the planetarium:

  • A medium-sized plastic funnel
  • Black construction paper
  • A pushpin
  • A pencil
  • Tape
  • A small flashlight
  • One or two big blankets (preferably dark in color)

How to build the planetarium:

  1. Tape the black piece of construction paper to the large part of the funnel.
  2. Use the pushpin to poke small holes in the construction paper to represent stars. Make bigger holes to represent planets. Make sure to let your child know why there are small holes and big holes and what they represent.
  3. Set up the planetarium under the dining room table by draping the blankets over the table and sitting with your child under the table and blankets. (I guarantee that they will be SO excited about this part!) The idea is to make this area as dark as possible. (Remember, we’re simulating nighttime!) If you do not want to set up under a table, you can sit in your child’s room at nighttime.
  4. Now, while you and your child are sitting in the dark, shine your flashlight into the small part of the funnel. The light will shine through the holes you poked, simulating the night sky. If possible, try to use a flashlight that will fit into the bottom part of the funnel so that no extra light shines through.

This project is great for kids. Sitting together in your mini planetarium is quite calming and rather pleasurable to look at.  Enjoy!

From JumpStart

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 10, 2009 9:04 am

    We’re glad you liked the article. Thanks for re-posting!

    -The JumpStart Team

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