One weekend as I sat with my usual cup of morning coffee and Mumbai Mirror to help me find something interesting to do with my 5 and 3 year olds, I saw this big caption “Star Gazing for Children in Mumbai”. My thoughts were “Yay! Finally we will do something little more adventurous other than heading to the Shopping Mall!”
So being an over enthusiastic mother, I instantly picked up the phone and called them “Hey I saw your listing in the newspaper today. How can I enrol my children for this?” But the very next minute my desire to do something different was shattered as I heard the gentleman on the other side explaining to me that this is conducted only for children above 6 years. Once again there was absolutely nothing that I could plan for my children in this city. So we ended up heading again to the lavish Sunday brunch buffet at the Renaissance where they had a room dedicated for toddlers where a lot of interesting games could be played. At least over there my children would laugh and dance.
But I still could not get over with the idea of star gazing. I started looking up resources to educate myself of what to find in the sky above me so that I could explain it to my kids. After much planning, I decided to announce to my family that we will be going star gazing on Saturday night.
Our Building TerraceTime 10 pm (so everybody needs to get a long nap in the afternoon)
For an amateur like me, it was an instant success and the reason was the 6 hacks that I came up with to make it into a super fun night.
So the next time you go on your own little star gazing gig with your kids make sure you;
1. Set the Right Mood
Get more Ideas on the Candy Cane Club App. Click here to Download, and join our world of Play Parenting!It’s very important to set up the right mood for your kids. Tell them that you are going go on a camping trip this evening, even if it is just your own terrace that you are going to go up to. If you have actually taken time off and planned to take your kids to the outskirts of the city, there is nothing like it. Carry your camping mat, torches, pens and papers and whatever else you will need. Make sure the kids are rested up well that day, and are in the mood for a late night. This will get the kids all the more excited about their little Star Gazing adventure.
2. Don’t use Star Gazing Charts
Yes, you read that right. I believe Star Gazing charts are meant for more experienced Star Gazers, and unless you have an idea about how to use it or have done it before you are going to be lost. If you really want to use something that will help you spot and identify what you are seeing in the skies, use Google Sky Map.
It is an online Sky / Outer Space viewer. Also, keep NASA’s website for kids handy, as they have some interesting facts for children about space, in case your child is full of questions about the stars they are looking at. All you have to do is point your phone in the direction at the sky, and it will tell you what it is that you are looking at. I find it pretty cool, and my kids love it! At times when you are looking for the Moon, and it is hiding behind a thick tuft of clouds,Google Sky Map can tell you exactly where it is hiding. And your child will keep looking and waiting for the Moon to come out of hiding. It is brilliant!
3. Create your Own Star Gazing Discovery Map
Make sure you and your kids know exactly what you are going to be doing on your star gazing camping trip. A 2 or 3 year old cannot differentiate between Venus and Mars, but they can definitely spot the Moon, a lot of stars, and maybe even an airplane or a bat! Tell your kids what your mission on this trip is going to be, and see how they don’t get bored halfway through the evening and come back more successful than even you by the end of it!
4. Cook up Stories
Get more Ideas on the Candy Cane Club App. Click here to Download, and join our world of Play Parenting!Be ready to make up stories to make star gazing interesting for your little one. You can try and spot those Crocodiles and Octopuses in the constellations or the clouds, and knit together a whole story for your child in the skies. Don’t be surprised if your child adds to your story, and starts seeing more imaginary objects and creatures in the skies. Start with the classic Hare on the Moon story if you haven’t told your child that yet. My kids have spent hours staring at the moon thrilled on actually seeing the shape of a Hare.
5. Keep Food Supplies Handy
It is a camping trip after all. Food supplies are a must. Pack those sandwiches or whatever else your child is fond of to add to the fun experience.
I even had a marshmallow bonfire once with my kids, and it was a hit! We gathered some twigs, lit up a small fire and placed a saucepan over it. And we roasted marshmallows on that all evening. Yummy!
6. Telescopes are big No No
Telescopes are really not meant for your babies. Most adults also struggle setting it up. If you really want to use a telescope then make sure you get some professional help. Otherwise, just leave that fancy equipment behind and go enjoy Star Gazing like a toddler!
I hope I have been able to motivate you enough to plan your next star gazing trip real soon. I would love to hear about your experiences.Your focus may not be the stars at all. It may turn out to be a totally adventurous storytelling night or just a lazy evening snacking. Just go with what your toddler wants to do.
Get more Ideas on the Candy Cane Club App. Click here to Download, and join our world of Play Parenting!