eyeball and backyard astronomy for toddlers
September 24, 2018 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Toddler T. has been asking about the Moon and stars and planets. I don't know enough, or have the right kind of knowledge, to talk about what we can see. Can you recommend good eyeball and backyard astronomy guides aimed at toddlers and small children? The books and other resources I can find are geared to about 7 and up, which is too old.
posted by the man of twists and turns to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
My 2yo likes this book about the solar system, which is a good introduction to the planets. Couple that with the Google SkyMap app and you can point out planets in the night sky every so often (they're visible at different times of year but Jupiter, Mars, and Venus are easy to spot with the naked eye).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:13 AM on September 24, 2018

the SkyView and Google Sky Map apps are awesome for this purpose. For books, the DK Space offerings are lovely to browse (and likely at your local library). We've enjoyed spotting Mars and Venus, which are often visible in the twilight transitions of late evening and early morning.
posted by zachxman at 9:53 AM on September 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

Basher Books has a cartoony style and simple format for their science books: astronomy, planet earth, and space exploration. My kid liked them a lot when she was in preschool.

Every month, JPL has a video about what's going on in the sky and lets you know when and where to look for it. This month's is here: What's Up for September 2018.
posted by mogget at 11:51 AM on September 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't know enough, or have the right kind of knowledge, to talk about what we can see. (emphasis mine)

I think the best solution is to fix your own knowledge, then you can scaffold your answers down to the level your child understands. You know your child better than anyone else-- you are his or her best teacher.

If you have a smart phone, there are apps where you can just point your phone at the sky and it shows you the objects there with names, histories, facts, constellations, etc. There are a lot of them out there-- pick one you like. Some of them are free, some are worth the $2 or whatever they ask for. 15 years ago when I was teaching Celestial Navigation to young sailors, I would have loved having an app like "Night Sky" for Iphone. Don't worry, there are plenty of Android apps, too. Here is a list of some of them.

Good luck, have fun, and you are doing the right thing! :)
posted by seasparrow at 12:16 PM on September 24, 2018

Weirdly, I just happen to have an extra copy of Me and My Place in Space (the updated edition with newer illustrations) sitting on my desk ... if you want it & can MeMail me your address, I'd be happy to send it over! It's geared towards pretty young kids, I think, so YMMV depending on Toddler T's exact age and how much she already knows/how complex her questions get.
posted by alleycat01 at 1:00 PM on September 24, 2018

This book has served four generations of my family, from those of us who are budding astronomers to those of us who are just learning about the night sky. Plus, the illustrations outline the constellations in a natural shape, so that they appear as their namesakes.

This website shows what you can see when you look up at the night sky each night.
posted by Lynsey at 2:01 PM on September 24, 2018

« Older Fun activity to do after school regularly with a...   |   Ask him out or focus on myself for a while?... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.