Maybe you think astronomy is a worthwhile and educational hobby. Or maybe you are interested in astronomy and you want to enhance and enrich an activity you can do together with your child. Maybe your child has expressed interest in astronomy but you do not know how to get started. There are many reasons to want to get your child interested in astronomy. The only question is how to do it.
Astronomy is a vast and varied hobby that can be started at a young age. One of the greatest things about astronomy is how deep it is. There are things to do for casual families and kids and things to do as advanced hardcore astronomers with years of experience. If you start your kids young and get them hooked on this fascinating hobby, it can pay huge dividends for years to come.
Here are some easy and effective ways to get your kid interested in astronomy.
Take Them Stargazing
This might seem like a no-brainer but a lot of newfound interest can be discovered simply by going outside on a dark night and looking up. This can be interesting for kids and adults alike. Going outside and showing them things like the moon, Mars, Orion’s Belt, and more can immediately grab their attention.
Once you start looking up on a regular basis, it is easy to quickly realize that there is a lot out there to see. A lot. Going over some of the most prominent constellations and planets with your child can garner a lifelong fascination with the night sky.
In fact, looking up at the constellations and finding bright stars and planets is an activity that people have been doing since the beginning of time. This can not only connect your child to the current night sky but also connect them to a rich and varied history of naked eye stargazing.
You do not need telescopes or binoculars or any equipment at all to start stargazing. There is plenty to see in the skies above with just the use of your eyes. If you run out of things to look at unaided, then perhaps it is time to think about upgrading to an actual telescope for your child but step one is simple stargazing without any devices.
Get Them Some Books
Books are a great way to learn about a new topic for adults and children alike. If your kid likes to read or even if they just like looking at pictures, there are tons of really great books available that can show them tons of new things about the universe.
There are entire night sky atlases that go over all of the visible stars and planets in great detail. Also, there are books on star charts. There are books about the solar system. Books about the sun. Books about the moon. This could be an easy way to get your kid thinking about the universe at large.
I have read some truly spectacular books about the universe in my day. Some of them from a very young age really grabbed my attention. If you want your kid to start thinking about space and astronomy giving them a good book about the topic could be a great first step into a wider world.
Get Them A Telescope
One of the easiest ways to get a kid’s attention focused on the stars is to get them a telescope of their own. Telescopes are a great way to explore the wonders of space and simply providing one can instantly boost their interest in the sky above. If you are worried about spending too much money or your kid breaking their telescope there are plenty of affordable and durable options on the market.
In fact, we wrote a guide going over the best telescopes for kids available today. You can check out that guide here if you are interested in learning more.
Getting your child a telescope can be a fun way to explore space together, especially if you already have one for yourself. If you do not have a telescope of your own, there are plenty of child friendly telescopes available that can work for both kids and adults. This could be a perfect way to learn together. If you are interested in learning on a telescope, then they might be willing to learn with you.
Watch Some Documentaries
One of the things that got me interested in space and astronomy was the Magic Schoolbus. When I was a child, there was nothing more engaging than watching the episode where the kids all went to space on a field trip. One of the kid’s head was turned to ice when he took his helmet off. I can’t remember the exact details but I vividly remember that episode of the Magic Schoolbus.
After that, I was hooked on space. It was beyond interesting. There are plenty of documentaries available on the web or on TV that can get your child more interested in the wonders of the stars. Neil Degrasse Tyson has a ton of new, family friendly, material that is coming out these days about the wonders of the cosmos. Bill Nye, The Science Guy is still kicking around as well with material both aimed at kids and adults. Bill Nye did a lot of work about the sun, the solar system, and on space in general.
If you do some general searches for documentaries about space, a ton comes up. Maybe you are not ready to buy a telescope or perhaps the weather has been no good in your area making stargazing difficult. I know that documentaries like these had a profound impact on my interests as a child and I’m sure they can have a similar effect on your children as well.
There is so much to learn about the universe and astronomy is an inherently visual hobby so documentaries are a great way to get your child interested in this field.