Camp Mama: Astronomy

Cross-posted from Cherry Blossoms The Blog.

 

We saved the final frontier for the final week of summer as a perfect lead-up to the solar eclipse. I’ve been feeling melancholy about summer ending soon but I’m grateful I can look back at so many great memories. As a result we squeezed in as many crafts and field trips as possible.

Craft: Pinhole Viewers

Our small and mighty library hosted an eclipse event last weekend wherein the kids made pinhole viewers. School begins today but this NASA craft packs flat so I’ve sent it with my kids. When they go out for recess or lunch (or maybe they’ll have a teacher who takes them out?) they’ll be ready to watch the eclipse in a safe manner. Once the news started rolling in of the unsafe eclipse glasses and the unavailability of the good ones, I was happy my family had a plan that didn’t rely on staring at the sun and hoping for the best. With a pinhole viewer your back is to the sun and your eyes are safe from damage.

Craft: Space Art

This art project was one I made with my sixth graders in Hawaii when I was student teaching. All these years later I still remember it and was so excited to make it! The kids had fun, too, and thought it was neat how everyone’s was different.

Craft: Marshmallow Constellations

Gemini
Orion the Hunter

Making constellations out of marshmallows and toothpicks was a very popular afternoon activity. If I hadn’t just run out of printer ink I think we would also have made flashlight constellation viewers, but maybe we’ll just do them on a whim sometime. (Who am I kidding? The school year is crazy enough, that’s why I try to pack the summer with as much fun as possible.)

Night Sky

Once they had made several constellations each they created their own constellations (which were 3-dimensional for extra fun) for which they needed to create origin stories.

Field Trip: Meterorite Museum

This is an easy field trip that won’t take all day, in fact visiting the Monnig Meteorite Museum at TCU will likely only take you an hour. You’ll be glad you did it, though. Either you’ll become entranced with the variety of specimen available, you’ll fall in love with a particular type (I am crazy for pallasites, they are so gorgeous and so amazing!), or you’ll feel a rush when you touch a piece of the planet Mars. The video and the interactive computer program put things into easy terms for kids, but some of the details on the wall provide information for people smarter than me; in other words everyone will learn something.

Field Trip: Noble Planetarium

The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is a great museum and worth the visit even if you aren’t planning to go to the Noble Planetarium, but as it is included in your general admission ticket, why would you not? We skipped the Sesame Street show, but caught all the other shows of the day, interspersed with our standard museum exploration. It was so much fun!

Picture yourself in space.

Field Trip: Perot Museum

We’ve been members and regular patrons of the Perot for several years. However, the trip this week was different for us because we went with the intention of exploring the space stuff. We’ve previously spent very little time in the Expanding Universe Hall, so it was quite refreshing to shake up our museum routine.

Activity: Eclipse Game

I admit I don’t really know what this was. I was really tired and as you can see from the photo I was needed to run baby interference. Whatever it was, my ten year old created the game himself and they played until the rain picked up. It had something to do with throwing the EZGrip ball between the two cardboard boxes on the Swurfer. I believe the boxes were the sun and the earth and the ball was the moon and the goal was to create an exclipse. Regardless, it’s good for kids to make up their own games, I’m proud of him.

Music

In addition to finishing up the audio book we had started on our vacation earlier this summer we also enjoyed some space-themed favourite songs. Of course we had to listen to the perennially favourite TMBG classic “The Sun”

as well as the updated version of the same

and “How Many Planets?”

Randy Kaplan’s new “Mr. Spaceman” made it into the mix as well:

I had planned to get out of the city and watch the Perseoid meteor shower but the skies were overcast and it was rainy. We will try again another time. Regardless of the setbacks of the things we were unable to do, we had so much fun this week! I don’t know that we are ready for school but we have done our absolute best to fill our summer with memories.

 

Camp Mama follows a weekly theme to encourage diverse activities with the kids during the summer. See all our Camp Mama posts here.

 

Disclosure:
I have nothing to disclose.
I received no compensation for this post.
Anything that was free for me would be free for you.
I paid for my own supplies and admission fees.

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