Camping involves many fun activities, especially during the daytime. There might be hiking, climbing, napping, fishing, or splashing around in a nearby creek. At night, many campers think it’s just time to huddle around the fire before going to bed, but there are other things to do.
If it’s a rare time away from city lights, then there might be far more stars in the sky then you’re used to. Do you know how to teach kids to find basic star constellations when the chance arises?
If you’re going to do this, be prepared. Make sure you know a few yourself, and also check the weather to make sure that one of your camping nights will be the right for it. Any cloud cover makes it difficult and, if it’s too cold, kids might be more focused on shivering than looking up.
Also make sure you have enough flashlights to get away from the fire and into a clearing that has enough dome visibility to show most of the sky. You’ll want at least two resources regarding the constellations themselves. One is for yourself, where you know what constellations will be in the sky at that hour for that region and season. That can be a book, a catalog, a chart, or even just wireless access to an online source.
The second is going to be a large and easy to read book or poster for the kids. If it’s a poster, it might be a good idea laminated it for durability.
The Big Dipper constellation is a great one to start with because it’s so large and easy to make out. The front ‘edge’ of the pot lines up nicely with the North Star, the ‘center’ of the sky. Once kids can find that constellation and point, the rest of the constellations are easier to find relative to what’s known.