Astronomy For Kids
The subject of astronomy is one of the fascinating that science has to offer. While it is understandable that children may be bored when learning about botany or geology, astronomy is the kind of thing that is perfect for the overactive imagination of a child. While Astronomy is certainly complicated, a basic understanding of astronomy for kids is a perfect way to ensure an ongoing fascination with the cosmos in later days.
There are many books, websites, and magazines that specialize in astronomy for kids, but none are absolutely necessary. Any parent or teacher with a general knowledge of astronomy can help their children or students nurture an appreciation for our stars and planets. Constellations are a great way to start teaching astronomy for kids. Identifying them can be as fun as finding Waldo, which one might argue isn't very fun but it is certainly more entertaining than sitting in a classroom. Two great constellations to start with are the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper, also known as Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.
Ursa Major and Ursa Minor are always visible in the night sky and never set below the horizon. In addition, they are simple to find. The Big Dipper, understandably, looks like a giant ladle. The Little Dipper looks like a smaller spoon, and is found inside the Big Dipper. Once they are located, you may wish to tell the children the mythological story behind the two constellations. This may fill their mind with curiosity about the other constellations in the sky. Cassiopeia is another great constellation to identify. It isn't terribly difficult to find. It is the only constellation that looks like a "W". One thing you'll want to make sure of is to refer to an astronomical guide to see which constellations are visible in your hemisphere during the particular time of year you are in.
The planets of the Solar System are also great subjects to create an interest in astronomy for kids. One thing to keep in mind, no matter which aspect of astronomy you're teaching, is this: Children respond more to visual stimuli than the written word. Show them the sky, if you are able to. Show them brilliant telescopic images of comets or galaxies. These will prove to be far more exciting to a child than simply reading about the subject matter. An early appreciation of the beauty of the skies will harbor a future fascination with all things celestial.