Next stop… the stars

star-gazing-1149228_1280Beyond the unavoidable super hero and Harry Potter obsessions my kids have had, (we are talking Captain America and Hogwarts here people — who can blame them? ) I try and adhere to the philosophy that the hobbies and interests my kiddos pursue meet a handful of requirements. That said, hobby/sport/interest should be:

  • something they can “grow into”, and by that I mean that they can enjoy it at any age, appreciating and learning different aspects relevant to their level of interest, time availability, effort, and knowledge level.
  • as expensive — or inexpensive — as we make it. We shouldn’t have to take out a second mortgage to enjoy the hobby, but if the kiddos are super into it we can invest a bit for splashier results.
  • something they can learn and leave… and come back to later in life.
  • something that doesn’t take up a ton of room in my house (we live small).
  • something we can do together and independently

Stargazing is our newest adventure, and thanks to a new (inexpensive) telescope courtesy of Grandma, we are rocketing past just pointing out the moon and the night’s first star. A whole new world is revealing itself full of mythology and science and imagination. We have the thrill of our nightly spotting of planets Venus and Mars (which are visible now), the game of linking together lions, warriors, and bulls. Questions galore — so many questions! — about planets and space travel and how stars are made and where does the moon go during the day and… phew! You get the picture.

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Looking at the stars is as easy as looking out the window, or you can step it up a bit and invest in a telescope for as little as $25 on Amazon so you can see all those cool craters on the moon. Websites like kidsastronomy.com help with all the zillion questions and inspire cool activities like marshmallow constellations and sundials. Don’t think you have to wait until summertime to get your star-shine on either. You can hook up with a pro, Dirk Horton, at  Wenatchee River Institute in Leavenworth when they kick off their planetarium program January 21. You can register online and the planetarium (a big dome you sit in that brings the night sky to you, indoors) is open to all ages. Plus, the program is free for kids.

The bitter cold and cloudy skies haven’t dampened our enthusiasm for this new hobby. I have the library books, paper towel roll scope, and freshly painted star pictures to prove it.  Plus, we can check it all out while we still totally rock it in our super hero capes and Harry Potter glasses.

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