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Read about Space
Smarty was reading books about space since she was 2. Now she is all about fantasy, but space is an only subject that still pulls her back to non-fiction. Her recent non-fiction space finds include Ken Jennings’ Junior Genius Guide to Outer Space and Ripley’s Shout Outs: Zoom!
So far we have only built Lego rockets – Smarty received a Lego shuttle as a present for Christmas one year, and Papa built her this shuttle out of standard Lego bricks to prove a point that it can be done. We still have plans to launch a soda bottle rocket, Alka-Seltzer rocket, and bike-pump rockets.
Watch the Night Sky
When opportunity presents itself, we go with Smarty on night walks. Most of the nights, our Silicon Valley sky is clear, but light pollution is pretty strong, and we can only see brightest objects in the sky. Alas, none of us is strong is astronomy and star identification, but SkyView app really helps to at least identify major constellations and planets. We also bought a Target telescope for $15 once, but that was a dud. We are still contemplating a better telescope, but, to be honest, Smarty is not really interested in astronomy that way. She is more intrigued by more profound questions – what was there before the Big Bang and why did it happen? Will the universe expand forever? What is dark matter? Will we discover alien life? Those are questions occupying her mind, especially at night.
Go on a Field Trip
Alas, we cannot go on field trips into space, but there are so many fascinating exhibits related to space. We had a privilege to visit a few of them so far:
Ames NASA Museum
NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View has a small museum that is open to public. It has an interesting collection of exhibits related to early space exploration and about current robotics program. Our 4 year old mostly enjoyed touching a real moon rock.
Space Shuttle Endeavor
We stopped in California Science Center on our way from San Diego in 2013, because we all wanted to see Endeavor. It was still in temporary facility and 6 year old Smarty hated the smell of it. She wanted out in 5 minutes, but she enjoyed the permanent space exhibition in the museum and the rest of hands-on exhibits. I am hoping we will come back there when she is older.
Museum of Natural History
Since my parents live in New Jersey, Smarty has visited the Museum of Natural History almost every summer during her visit to grandparents. All prior times she was anxious to see the dinosaurs, but this time she opted to spend most of her time in the Rose Center for Earth and Space. She especially enjoyed The Hall of the Universe and this time she actually read the information instead of just playing with hands-on exhibits. It’s fascinating to see how her knowledge expands and changes as she gets older, but some of her interests still stay the same
Follow Space News!
Smarty, as other young and old space enthusiasts around the globe, is thrilled about New Horizons probe approaching Pluto. Your kids can follow NASA online, read astronomy news, or follow astronomy picture of the day for fascinating pictures of the universe.
Do you have space enthusiasts at home? How do you encourage their interest in space?
More Astronomy for Kids?
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Original article and pictures take http://www.planetsmarty.com/2015/07/support-your-kids-interest-in-space.html site