Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences, dating back to ancient times. The sky at night with its stars, planets, changing phases of the moon, meteor showers and auroras and all the mystery surrounding them have been a source of fascination for humanity for ages, making our imagination run wild with various scenarios.
Given the fact that we still continue to discover so much even to this day and we still don’t have concrete evidence and answers for all of our questions and theories, it’s hard not to have at least a slight interest in the topic which you can also wake in your child. Here are some ideas as to how you could make that happen.
Encouraging the child to explore
Not just astronomy, but science, in general, is based on having an idea and testing it out to see if it can be proved true – similar to the way kids are developing by trying to understand the world they live in. Of course, you have to be careful not to let them get hurt in any way, shape or form, but there are safe things they can practice.
A good way of encouraging kids to be more curious about the universe is to buy them a telescope. The Orion Skyquest XT8 can be a bit extravagant, yet definitely worth it, but there are many models out there that can do their job for now. You can even start with just a pair of binoculars and see how it goes from there.
Choose books and sites aimed at children
Like any science, astronomy can get really complicated and even adults can have a hard time understanding everything if they aren’t trained in the said field. Pick websites and books that explain astronomy in a way both you and your child can easily understand.
A good website or book about the subject should be able to explain the concepts you are studying in a very simple and clear type of language, using examples a child can understand easily and relate to, while also having lots and lots of pictures.
You can encourage them to have a book which explains all the phenomena and a notebook in which they can write down the things they noticed so you can talk about them together, find out what they are and so on. This is quite simply a perfect bonding time!
Use astronomy software
PC software can add a new visual dimension to studying and understanding astronomy. This way, the child will also have a way of controlling the pace in which they learn, what they want to learn about more and see things in 3D form.
Such software can display the map of the stars depending on the latitude and date so you can go out together and see if you can find them yourself in the night sky! These programs also feature the positions in which the planets are at the moment, what is the phase of the moon at the moment and so on, all being interactive.
Many of these programs can be found for free online as they are also used as teaching techniques by teachers so you won’t even have to worry about spending money.
In order to make things even more interactive, you can install similar apps on the smartphone such as the ones that take a picture of the sky and tell you what constellation you are seeing at the moment.
There are so many resources you can use to educate your child that you’ll slowly get more into astronomy yourself.