Summer nights are the perfect time to get out and explore the stars. We've had star gazing on our bucket list, and to kick it off we made a constellation board. Learning the star patterns that can be seen in the night sky as well as some of the stories behind their origins helps the world feel a bit smaller to young minds. If you're looking for some great reading on constellations, check out the picture book, A Zoo in the Sky with its bright and colorful illustrations.
The constellation I can always spot best is Orion the hunter, with his belt of three stars, but that constellation is visible in the winter sky for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. So I needed to brush up on my knowledge of the star patterns, too! I found the above fabulous constellation map at Mr. Printables, and I think it's the loveliest version I've seen.
From this map, we were able to explore the shapes of the constellations. Some constellations are more faint to the eye than others so we decided to study the original shapes to see if we could find all of the connecting stars.
Taking this to the next level, we mapped out the shapes ourselves. To make a constellation board, you need:
- A cork board
- String in a few different colors
Beginning with the Summer Triangle, three bright stars in the summer skies, we placed pins on the board and wrapped yarn around them. Tying a tight knot, we trimmed off the excess string. Next, we placed the pins for the stars in Cygnus which became a great lesson in geometry, scale, and art.
We added the other two constellations that make up the Summer Triangle as well as a few other constellations that my children found particularly interesting because of their names or stories, like Hercules and Pegasus. To create a truly colorful piece of art, we chose a different bright-colored yarn for each constellation. The final product is a beautiful piece of string art that we have hanging for all of us to enjoy during the summer days and nights!
How do you share the intergalactic beauty with your children?