Enjoy the winter sky with children
Winter is the perfect time to look up to the skies, with lots of cloud activity in the daytime, and early nights making stargazing accessible before bedtime.
Here are a few ideas for getting outside and enjoying the sky, and some ideas for activities indoors once you’ve been inspired by your sky observations.
Watch the clouds go by
Cloud watching is a gentle activity that’s great for imaginations. Wrap up warm, take a snack and a hot drink, and see what you can spot in the sky. There are lots of ways to enjoy the clouds:
• Look for different shapes and imagine what they might be – can you spot a dragon, a tree, a curled up cat from the wispy clouds?
• Notice which way the clouds are moving. Are they going fast or slow?
• What else is in the sky? Can you see flocks of birds, or aeroplanes?
• If you want to know the difference between types of clouds, or understand how they are formed, and why some are grey and others are white, take a look at this simple guide.
• Once you’ve had your cloud-spotting adventure, carry on the cloud theme at home by trying these cloud-inspired crafts.
Watch the sun set
The sun is our very own star, and often puts on a spectacular display as it sets, usually between 4-5pm in the UK in January, depending on where you are, of course.
Take a twilight walk, find an unobstructed view of the sky and notice the changing colours as the sun sets. What else is happening in nature at this time? Can you hear the birds or spot any signs of animals?
Or if you’re up and organised in the morning, take a picnic breakfast and go for a morning walk to enjoy the sunrise – a wonderful activity to start the day.
If you or your children are curious about the changing colours as the sun rises and sets, this simple science experiment is something you can do at home to explain why we get such a variety of hues.
Go constellation spotting
While summer has the weather for lying outside and gazing at the stars, winter nights make this more accessible for younger children – you just need to keep it to short sessions and wrap up warm! Clear nights are colder, so ensure you’re comfortable. Rather than stand craning your necks, put down a waterproof picnic rug, or even a pop-up tent so you can look up in more comfort.
It’s a good idea to learn a couple of constellations to spot, so you can point these out to children. Venus is often clear too. The National Trust has a guide to picking out Orion and some companion constellations to get you started.
Then, as with the clouds, why not get creative and make up your own? What shapes can children spot in the sky?
Either before or after your star gazing adventure, try your hand at these constellation science and craft activities – perfect for inspiring a love of our night sky.
We hope you have fun looking up this winter! Don’t forget to stay cosy with our warm and waterproof clothing – including hats, gloves and socks so little ones don’t lose any body heat from the extremities!