Each month I’ll be bringing you a fun children’s activity from Freaky Rivet’s co- founder, Iyas. You can learn more about Iyas and my affiliate partner Freaky Rivet at the bottom of this post.
So you’ve got a young rocket-scientist on your hands? No? Us neither. But no need for rockets to enjoy one of the most beautiful things we don’t look at often enough. No, not dad! The sky at night.
So how much do you know about constellations? Hopefully not too much. We find imagination is so often hindered by knowledge. I mean, have you ever seen the Pegasus constellation in the sky? A winged horse? REALLY? It looks as much like a winged horse as I do Brad Pitt. Not much. In fact not at all.
Where our knowledge falters, the internet steps in! For instance, you can get a free printout of the constellations from the Kids Astronomy site and do some constellation-spotting with your kids. But once you’ve done that, then unleash their creativity and get to creating your own!
(Aside – when the kids are in bed, a good dose of creativity and wine can make star-gazing for random adult patterns a great activity to do with your significant other. Not that we’d recommend alcohol in excess, but you could say it was in the furtherance of science.)
Anyhoooo – once you’ve had your fill of constellations with your kids, get ’em indoors to make their own. And let them go to town. Ask ’em to choose their favorite cartoon character, and preferably one with really pointy bits like Lisa Simpson. But it could be Mickey. Or Spongebob. Or whatever floats their boat. Then four really easy steps:
- Find a picture of whoever they chose (internet again), and print and cut out their shape to create a template.
- Put the template on some black card, and draw round the outline.
- Remove the template and stick some glow-in-the-dark stars onto strategic points on the pencil outline. Not along the lines – constellations don’t do that – but on corners or wherever there’s a change in line direction.
- Stick it up on a bedroom ceiling, close to the light, and when the light goes out, boom – there’s the Spongiam Bobus constellation on the ceiling.
That’s it. Easy. Fun. And educational. Well, probably more fun than educational.
Freaky Rivet was founded by Iyas, the author of this article and father of four, and Kevin, an ex-teacher of over a thousand children, who now runs activity days for schools. Iyas used to lead an organisation of nearly 500 people, which he left for the bigger challenge of herding his four children with his wife around Latin America for 6 months. During this life-changing trip to recover from the corporate world, he was disturbed to see how easily children’s natural curiosity, discovery and energy could be side-tracked when a video game was in the vicinity. Deciding that technology was still essential for our children, but that it shouldn’t be given free reign instead of kids exploring, moving and creating, he decided with Kevin, an old friend from their time together at Oxford University, to come up with the Freaky Rivet concept – inviting children into a life of activity, of exploration and of discovery by using technology rather than fighting it. In his spare time (kidding, right?) he runs a charity for children living in disadvantaged and war-torn environments.