Fun Friday: Go Stargazing

Photo by shanon wise

Fun Friday activities are quick-and-simple ways to explore nature in your own backyard.

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We aren’t often lucky enough to see stars in our night sky – and if we do, there are usually just a couple of them. One of the drawbacks of living in a big city (and a very polluted one, at that).

But on Halloween night, the stars decided to put on one of the grandest displays I’ve seen in quite a while – and we were all outside to see it. (And, no, these aren’t my pictures; sadly, none of mine came out, so you’ll have to take my word on it.)

Turns out that stargazing with kids doesn’t have to involve any fancy equipment or a trip to the “perfect” spot in the mountains (although it certainly can!). We were able to enjoy the view from the comfort of our own front yard.

As we were making our way home from our trick-or-treating, I noticed how many stars were out, so many in fact that I stopped counting at 20 (that’s a lot for us!).

Since dad is a bit more knowledgeable about planets and constellations, I asked him to point out anything of interest. We saw Orion’s belt, the Little Dipper and Venus.

Meanwhile, I hoisted the little explorer up and pointed high in the sky, encouraging him to take in the beautiful spectacle. He joined me in one of his favorite activities – counting out loud. Then he echoed what I couldn’t stop saying. “Wow!”

It was a perfectly scripted ending to a lovely Halloween night. I hope you were able to catch some of nature’s treasures during your time outside, too!

Take-Home Tips 

  • Talk about what you see. Is the moon out? Can you see any constellations? How about planets?
  • Tailor your gazing to include little ones. Toddlers can practice their numbers by counting the stars, either solo or with you. You can also talk about the “biggest” and “brightest” stars you see.
  • Keep everyone comfortable. Warm clothes, a blanket, hot chocolate – they all encourage the kids to stay outside and enjoy the view.
Photo by talesofrachel

More Ideas for Outdoor Fun
I’m looking forward to our Family Nature Club outing this weekend – we’re taking an urban nature walk through the Venice Canals. I hope you’ll get outside and explore nature near you, too! Here are a few ideas to get you out the door.

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  1. says

    Sounds like a lovely end to a fun evening! I remember during our backyard camp-out this past summer, Shane was mesmerized by the stars…he'd never been awake and outside that late at night before! Now that it's dark early again, I'll have to plan an stargazing adventure, and bundle him up to head out and check out the stars!

  2. says

    @Juliet: I hear ya! Thanks for sharing your link!<br /><br />@Sarah: The full moon is coming, so be sure to get out &amp; see it! 🙂

  3. says

    I&#39;ve been meaning to go on a little stargazing adventure. There&#39;s a big street light right in front of our house, so it isn&#39;t the best place. However, my daughter is obsessed with the moon, how it seems to be &quot;following us&quot; while we&#39;re driving and how it changes shape from one night to the next. 🙂