Greetings! I am starting this blog as a proud astronomommy to share ideas with other parents about ways to foster children’s astronomical interests.
My 20-month-old son gets very excited about the Moon and stars. If he sees the Moon, or a picture of the Moon, he’ll point and say “MOON!” repeatedly. Actually, it sounds a little more like “moom,” but we know what he means. 🙂 “Star” and “Moon” were among his first words. I don’t think I did anything extraordinary to bring that about (although I did decorate his room with stars and planets). “Star” came about through shapes books and toys. “Moon” was first said when we were reading Bears in the Night. I pointed out the moon and other images on the pages as we read, and he latched on to the moon and began to repeat it, happy to know what something was. Now if we watch The Universe on TV, if he sees the Moon, he will stand up close to the screen, touch it, and say “Moon!” We found he called all the planets “Moon,” so as the Earth appeared, we would shout “Earth!” as he would call it “Moon,” until one time he shouted, “Earth!” (or “uhth,” as it came out sounding). Now he distinguishes the Earth and Moon pretty well.
I wouldn’t say this alone qualifies me to give people ideas about fostering astronomical interest in their children. What does inform me is six years of experience as a Planetarium Assistant giving shows to the public and school groups of all ages. Some of the lessons we teach there are things you could do with your children under the real night sky. So, over time, I will share some ideas with you on how to share the night sky with your kids. Since I am writing from North Dakota, examples I give may have a bias to mid-latitude viewers in the northern hemisphere, but I think nearly all concepts and ideas should be usable by anyone in the northern hemisphere, and many should be usable by southern hemisphere readers, with substitutions.
Well, this is my introduction. More useful posts will follow as the children allow me time. Until then, keep looking up!