Not too long ago there were seven (7!) new Earth-sized planets discovered! Of course, at a distance of approximately 40 light years away, these planets probably aren’t going to be visited by humans any time soon. Recall 1 light year is a shy 6 trillion miles. That would put these moons 6,000,000,000,000 miles! But let’s use this latest discovery to spark an interest in the NIGHT SKY!
Over the Moon About Books…
There are some fantastic books with a Moon theme that range from fantasy to folklore, cultural to scientific. Moon-themed classics like Goodnight Moon and, from classic children’s authors like Maurice Sendak , In the Night Kitchen; others include Man on the Moon by Simon Bartram and The Moon Lady by Amy Tan.
I would definitely recommend reading the previously mentioned books to your kidlet. Then for the Night Sky activity:
READ: Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle, another classic children’s author. In this story the different phases of the moon are prominently featured and that’s what the following activity will highlight.
Enrich the Learning: The Night Sky…
This NIGHT SKY activity is a month-long activity that’ll track how many nights the moon is visible and reveal its phases.
Night Sky month chart–add dates
Month Chart, see below
‘Moons’–included in Night Sky chart
‘Clouds’–included in Night Sky chart
Scissors ( a parent or other adult can cut out moon and/or cloud squares)
Glue or paste
• Take your child(ren) out and look up at the night sky for the moon. Can they see it?
• Let your kidlet draw what they see for that date OR have them shade in one of the ‘moons’, darkening the area of the moon that wasn’t shining and then glue or paste it onto the chart of the square for that correct day/date.
• As the month progresses, point out the changes that their chart is revealing.
• Share the terminology for the different phases of the moon. Is it a waxing moon or a waning moon? Is it a quarter moon or full moon?
• Hopefully they’ll be able to see all phases of the moon; the apparent growing of a waxing moon and the shrinking of a waning moon.
Remember—accept all answers!!
• You might also want to note if you see any falling stars, meteors, and/or planets* on the chart!
• Also, with our typically wet, PNW weather, some nights the moon could be hidden behind clouds. IF the moon is hidden behind clouds give your kiddo the choice to leave the chart space blank or they can feel free to add clouds!
Moon-themed Nursery Rhymes to share…
Hey diddle-diddle, the cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon,
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
The Man in the Moon:
The man in the moon,
Looked out of the moon,
Looked out of the moon and said:
It’s time for all children on the Earth,
To think about getting to bed!
At the end of the month:
Tally how many days in the month the moon was visible. Count how many days the moon was hidden by clouds. Compare which amount was greater? Which amount was less? Did there happen to have equal numbers? Count up how many days there was a crescent moon, a half-moon (a quarter phase), a full moon and new moon.
*How to tell a star vs planet: One of the easiest ways to distinguish between stars and planets in the Night Sky is by looking to see if the object twinkles or shimmers. Planets do not twinkle; their brightness remains constant. Stars shimmer or twinkle, hence the nursery rhyme “Twinkle, twinkle little star.” It feels like I should use Casey Kasem’s sign off from America’s Top 40: “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” Instead I’ll use my own….
Yours in Play!