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Kids & stargazing


Orion_the_Hunter
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Hi, I'm really chuffed with my 6yo daughter. She has some kids encyclopedia & keeps finding things in it with such interest & is always asking questions.

Tomorrow night she wants me to show her where Polaris is and what's special about it.

I think it's great that she is interested in the stars. (The closest youngsters seem to get these days is to 'stars' like Jordan AKA Katy Price:icon_confused:).

Just thought I'd share that with you all!

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It's hard to show whats special about Polaris but what I've done is show my daughter where it is at the start of the night and had her note where some of the bright stars are - a few hours later (Anna stays up reading far too late) I've shown her that the stars have moved but not Polaris....

She seemed impressed, sort of...

James

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Both my kids were keen on the stars and I have no idea where it comes from. Could have been the planetarium Grandmother got them for Christmas last year or school where they have already learnt the name of all the planets.

Getting our first 'big' scope and seeing the moon in all its details has got then hooked to search for more that's for sure.

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My son drew me a star map. It looked a bit wrong, but then I realised it was of the Southern Sky! Now it has pride of place in my office....

Awwww would love to see a photo

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I'm always disappointed by the relatively small number of parents-and-children I get to visit but, when I do, the experience is absolutely brilliant.

I do, though, have a wonderful neighbour, a pre-historian, who puts on stone age weekends for children and often gets me to do something on astronomy for them. If you think kids are stuck to computer games and the telly, forget it! They are fantastic observers with serious stickability. Also their minds are flexible, which is no bad thing when it comes to accepting that radiation pressure in the universe causes it to contract!!!

Olly

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I do public outreaches about 6 or 8 times each month, mostly at elementary schools. Of course, the challenge is always to put the wonders of the night sky into terms that children can handle, and grow with.

Polaris is a surprisingly easy tool with which to work. After all, it certainly has no season, so it's available as needed. And finding our way at night based on always knowing North helps lead into the simple lessons of using the markers in the sky. But there is another lesson I often use Polaris with; double stars. A star is like our sun. In fact, our sun is pretty average in most ways but one; it is a lonely traveler. If one star is born, others will be along with it. Then I show them Polaris in the eyepiece, and the blue companion allows the introduction multi-star systems, and of color indicating temperature. Stars are often not alone, Polaris helps us find our way, and the color of a star indicates its temperature all are pretty easily discussed with young children. For the older children I can introduce precession with a spinning top or a draedle winding down, and tell them how fortunate we are that we have Polaris as a pole star right now. Of course, if the clouds don't cooperate it might turn into a meteorology lesson!

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My 9 year old daughter loves stargazing and has just done a really good presentation at school on Betelgeuse, the Orion nebula, Polaris and The Hubble. What suprised me was that my 5 year old son has obvisously been quietly soaking up info in the backgroud as well.

He took my wife on a tour of the skies a couple of nights ago which really impressed her.

Rgds

Rob

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My 7 yr old niece is starting to show a keen interest in the night sky without ANY help from me.

Last week she asked me if she could use a pair of my bins to check out the moon simply because it was visible when she and her gran (my mother) went outside to hang out some washing.

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I wouldnt even be here if it was not for my 9yr Old daugther - hooked since the august meteor showers. out doing Dr Barths beginners course last night :p

Richard and his daughter are one of many parent-n-child pairs that "take" my astronomy course for fun! I do a lot of outreach introducing kids and parents to the night sky at various schools (Skylook and I are colleagues in this, although we have never met IRL).

I post a lot of free activities that are perfect for parent and child time at the eyepiece. Almost all are one-page-easy, and self explanatory. You can do them with your youngster in about 30-40 minutes - just about perfect for young kid's attention span. You can see and download more at the Join My Astronomy Class! thread.

Don't get too wound up with "Gotta finish the science activity, Dear!" (nobody likes a nagging Mum chiding them over homework! :) ) As long as the little ones are enjoying themselves, they will be learning lots more than you think.

My two older boys don't come out with dad any more (they have families of their own now), but the youngest still does once in awhile - and I wouldn't trade the memories for anything!!! And besides, the oldest grandson will be 5 this June - just about the right age for Grandpa and Telescope time!!

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Make the most of your young children's interest as the grow up so fast. Then it gets to the point where you want to show them something and the reply always is... "Do we have to?"....Then you have to wait until they are young adults before the interest is rekindled. Here in the Southern Hemisphere we have the same interest in finding the Southern Cross and the Pointers as you do with finding Polaris.

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Make the most of your young children's interest as the grow up so fast. Then it gets to the point where you want to show them something and the reply always is... "Do we have to?"....Then you have to wait until they are young adults before the interest is rekindled.

Ohhhh, do we have to?

:(

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Sadly, my kids have always been at the 'do we have to?' stage. I suspect that it's my unbridled enthusiasm for everything which has rather stifled their own curiosity or exploration, and it's another example of 'dad's off again'.

I just hope that they will appreciate me one day. Preferably before I'm pushing up the dasies.

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"Do we have to" is probably better than "are we there yet"

Too many distractions these days. My elder daughter was always more interested and even came to Astrofest with her old man a couple of years ago. My son is only interested in cricket.

Geoff

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