Stellar Space Activities for Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor Kids

Try one of these space-themed activities with your family.

In our family, we celebrate seasons in a big way. Changes in weather offer exciting opportunities for learning and exploration. With spring almost upon us, we now shift our attention toward growth.

For myself, my wife and three small boys, this means a focus on gardening but also reflection. One of my favorite parts of this seasonal work is that it helps to remind us of the history and traditions of this type of work throughout time.

At night, when all of the tools are put away and all the thirsty plants are watered, we shift our attention to the sky where so many before us looked for inspiration, guidance and direction from the stars. The dark speckled blanket acts as the perfect backdrop for sharing stories, asking challenging questions and having other great conversations that ultimately contribute to important growth for our family.

Great ways to get started include activities and events that encourage us to simply look up and take note of the beauty and curiosity looming overhead. What wonderful traditions await you and yours?

Family Activity: Constellation Cups

Did you know The Big Dipper — an asterism that is part of a constellation of stars — is known as “Plough” in the United Kingdom? Or that many people have used constellations to navigate the world, tell stories and explain their experiences throughout history?

Try this activity to learn more about stars, constellations and asterisms — and the stories told about them. While you’re at it, try your hand at authoring a new story about a particular constellation or asterism!

Here’s what you need:
  • Paper or Styrofoam cup (6 oz or larger is best)
  • Glue stick
  • Push pin
  • Flashlight
Here’s how it works:
  1. Cut out one constellation circle found here.
  2. Glue it to the bottom of a paper cup.
  3. Carefully poke holes through each star with a push pin.
  4. Label your cup with the name of the constellation or asterism.
  5. In a dark room, shine a flashlight into the cup to see the light shine through the holes. Try projecting the constellation or asterism onto a wall or ceiling.

Get the Family Excited About Space

Michigan’s Challenger Learning Center is one of just 40 fully immersive, space-themed, STEM experiences in the world. While there, families get to learn (and even meet!) about NASA astronauts, conduct super science experiments and learn more about outer space.

Closer to home, visit the Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills. See a real piece of the moon, plan your next trip to Mars, tour a full-scale future lunar habitat and more.


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