All Things Inspired By Desert Living & Loving ~ Big Bend Country, Far West Texas ~ Graphic Designs

Desert Night Sky Love for Kids with Links and Video Sources

Free Resources for Night Sky for Kids _
Sharing my FREE homeschooling resources that I have encountered online.
Including videos, paper craft, and worksheets that have been big hits with my little ones on their journey to the stars!

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Homeschooling is a humbling experience and what is even more humbling is looking up at the night sky.
So massive and revealing and yet mysterious and abstract. Check out my features on the beautiful night-scapes captured out here in the Big Bend desert of West Texas.

To many we are in the “middle of nowhere,” but to us its definitely the “middle of somwhere.” My in-laws live in the “big city” in a gated community among other retirees and the word spread that we live out here. Lucky for us bewilderment and sympathy abounds for our far-flung status and often results in some pretty groovy cast-offs. One spurred our most recent educational path to astronomy is a telescope.

If you don’t have a telescope – I’ve read that binoculars are actually a better way to start. I can be rather impatient, so I am glad “Magnum” is participating with this. I think I may have abandoned ship with the telescope pretty darn early. You have to be extraordinarily patient the more powerful the magnification ability of the scope.

My little ones are also fascinated with the fantastical characters and worlds in Greek Mythology, so astronomy was all eventual. “In the stars” as they say. “Magnum” and I are both rather blind when it comes to astronomy. Thank goodness he is at least handy, so he’s tackling the mechanics of the telescope and I’m doing the homeschooling with projects/videos/learning tools to engage and hopefully sustain their blossoming interests.

We started with a couple of weeks on the Solar System overall.

Again, I am primarily sharing FREE printables and/or sources that I have been lucky enough to unearth online. It can be quite an endeavor to go through all that is available. Many are redundant and some not as clear or interesting, so I thought it may be worth sharing for those traveling on the same learning paths.

The one thing I do spend money on is a library resource, but we are voracious readers so we also use Amazon’s Kindle ebooks for free downloads.
In my lesson plans I always try to hit the following:

Here we go — My Introduction to the Solar System finds:

1. Paper 2-D rendition of the Solar System — Fairly simple with just a bit of cutting and gluing to do. This was a handy visual for my little ones – they love spinning the mobile, seeing how the planets orbit around the sun.
Solar System paper craft mobile _
Click image above for the Canon Creative Park site. Warning: awesome FREE paper craft printables awaits!

2. The Planets Song video — with Nick Jr.’s Blues Clues
“Cottontail” loves having a song with every lesson. It really helps her get excited about it.

3. Videos – Planets introduction > View of Earth from Space > Moon craters

4. Worksheets

We also had a couple of bonfires with marshmallows (of course!) to get that fun and darkness connotation firmly impressed. There is so much to delve in with the Solar System, but it was a nice way to get your feet wet and the kiddos interested before going into the Constellations!

— My Introduction to Looking at the Stars aka Astronomy finds:

1.  Free Skymap – Click image below for the free Skymap printable. Enter the month and time to get an overview of possible constellations up in your sky.

free sky map link _

2. Free Constellation Printables from Lie Back, Look Up blog

  • Cards with images on one side and names on the other.
    • We started off just going outside and looking up. Without a reference to fall back on – we could not locate any of the constellations. There are free apps for your fancy phones for this, but we didn’t want to rely too much on the technology without using our noggin a bit – brain likes its exercise!
  • Stargazing Diary 
    • “Cottontail” really liked this. She liked drawing her own constellations and tracking the changes in the moon.

3. Free printable“Stars: Best Way to Learn the Night Sky”

  • Great printable with an overview and tips on the constellation viewing.

4. Videos that were the most approachable for my little ones. They are outgrowing their training wheels and I honestly thought that the content would be over their heads, but they were eager to watch more videos with this lovely lady.
“Its not too fast, mommy! We love her – more videos please!”
Afterwards we went over the main ideas and the concepts really did hit their targets.
We watched the first one as an overview of what stars are and how they’re different from planets and how to discern them.

Like she insists in the video, it takes a lot of patience and steady observation to really witness and practice the difference between a star versus other objects in the sky.

Then we watched the next couple of videos that discuss the constellations and how to approach observing them.

6. Amazon Kindle e-Books — All currently free.


Finally, our main book resource:
A Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky 

Excellent book.

I wasn’t sure how my kids would tackle the illustrations for the constellations, but they didn’t seem to mind the whimsical free-hand way they were presented. The book is full of illustrations with great details, so they like to sit and go through all every page before we embark on the reading and discussion. Overall, they thoroughly enjoyed the brief stories with the constellations.

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@ 2016 Vi Dotter/My Desert Love Designs & Blog All Rights Reserved.

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  1. February 28, 2016    

    This is awesome! Looks like a pretty fun opportunity to teach kids about stars! And well.. to learn too haha

    • Vi
      February 28, 2016    

      I really hope so! Its never too late as they say and I think this awareness at a young age really deepens the soul.

  2. February 26, 2016    

    One of my dreams is to have my own telescope. I always love staring at the night sky.
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    • Vi
      February 28, 2016    

      I wish you a telescope one of these days. I bet Craigs List may be a good way to go if you’re in the big city. So many people get a telescope and get tired of fiddling with it. Also they are so fragile and big! So glad to share the star love!

  3. February 26, 2016    

    What a great post. These are perfect for my niece. She would love this. Great information thank you.

    • Vi
      March 3, 2016    

      Thanks so much for posting your response – my first kinda post like this and I’m really encouraged!

  4. February 26, 2016    

    These are really interesting ways to get kids to look up into the sky and take an interest in the Universe! I especially love the 2-d solar system!

    • Vi
      March 11, 2016    

      I really do hope so! Glad you share my paper craft love!

  5. February 26, 2016    

    What great resources! I love teaching my kids about the solar system.

    • Vi
      March 11, 2016    

      Awesome – they are some lucky kids!!

  6. February 26, 2016    

    This is truly a great post with ideas that most parents will be happy to use!

  7. Lexie Lane
    February 26, 2016    

    My son loves learning history and Science, he loves watching video like this. I’m sure he would love this.

  8. February 26, 2016    

    I loved getting a telescope on my birthday, so, I keep the tradition. I give telescopes to other kids for their birthday and it is amazing to see their faces light up
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  9. Debbie Denny
    February 26, 2016    

    What a bunch of great resources. So cool of you to share these.

  10. February 26, 2016    

    I could stay all day reading this post and watching the videos but since it is 1.40 in the morning that is probably not a good idea lol!

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