Our ancestors knew the night sky like the back of their hands. They observed them until they found patterns in the stars and utilized them as tools for navigation. They made up stories about mythological creatures and characters which they associated with the star patterns.
Astronomers began to make maps of the stars and called them constellations. There are 88 officially recognized constellations in the sky. At different times of the year, different constellations can be seen. Different constellations can also be seen depending on where you are on Earth.
Listen to the picture book Zoo in the Sky read aloud, then go outside and look at the stars and try out some of our suggested activities at the bottom of the page.
You don’t need to be an astronomer to find stars or constellations in the sky with the free SkyView app. Download it from the App Store or Google Play and let it guide you to the constellation’s location and identify it. The app uses your camera to precisely spot and identify celestial objects in the sky, day or night. They even have a great tutorial you can watch to learn how to use the app.
CONSTELLATION CHALK ART
Do you have sidewalk chalk at home? Make constellations using rocks for the stars and chalk to draw lines in between. Make your favorite from the story, make up your own, or practice your ABCs with rocks and chalk. Tag us at #ydlsummerchallenge to share your creation!
GALAXY PLAY DOUGH
Make a batch of homemade play dough using black food coloring you can find in the cake decorating aisle in Meijer. Pretend it’s the night sky and let your little one push shiny objects or rocks into it to represent the stars.
FOR MORE FUN IDEAS, TRY THESE
Watch a YDL storytime on YouTube and sing along! There’s a new live storytime each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday morning. Or tune in for Marlena’s classic tales retold.
SUMMER CHALLENGE SECRET CODE
Read on Hoopla
A classic kids guide to constellations called Find the Constellations was written by H.A. Rey, the author of Curious George! Check it out on Hoopla.