Like most preschool fascinations, I’m not entirely sure how it began. It might have been the Star Gazing Discovery Bottles I made last month, or the fact that they are in bed before they actually appear in the sky every night. Whatever the cause – studying stars has become the summer obsession in our house. And since they are in bed before they can see them in the night sky, we decided to create some of our own with a DIY constellation projector and printable constellation cards.
Printable Constellation Cards & Projector
While our study of the stars started with books about stars for kids, nothing can replace the learning experience of hands-on play. So after reading to learn the stories behind the constellations, the girls were ecstatic about recreating some to shine on the walls!
The Stories Behind Constellations
First, we read a few stories about constellations appropriate for preschoolers. I especially love Glow in the Dark Constellations – mostly because I remember it from my own childhood. And of course the girls loved it because the constellation formations actually glow in the dark, making it a fun bedtime experience!
DIY Constellation Projector Supplies
To project your own constellations, you only need a few simple supplies.
Cost: Free to less than $5
Prep Time: Less than 5 minutes
Clean-Up Time: Less than 5 minutes
With the benefit of a little trial and error, I quickly discovered that using my iPhone as the flash light worked much better than a cheap flash light. You want your light source to have as concentrated a beam as possible, also known as collimated light, so it remains focused points of light when projected through your constellation cards. Otherwise, you get more dispersed light with halos instead of concentrated points of light.
Grab your FREE printable constellation projection cards from our Printables store at the end of this post.
To project your own constellations, first print out the printable constellation cards. I recommend printing them on cardstock. It will hold up better to manipulation by little hands and block light better for projecting as well. Next, place the print out on top of a piece of Styrofoam or cardboard to protect your working surface. Then, give your child a push pin and instruct them to poke holes at each dot in the constellation formations.
This was a great fine motor skill challenge for both girls! Yes, even my 2 year old could do it… love that little look of concentration!
Once your holes are punched, cut out the circle cards and affix them with tape to the top of a toilet paper roll.
Last, tape the toilet paper roll to your light source and project your constellation formations on the wall. We did ours in the dining room where we have dark walls for the greatest effect!
Which constellation is your favorite?
Make Your Own Constellations
For some added fun, the girls wanted to create their own star formations. You can also get a blank template for your kids to design their own constellations too! Draw your formation, then follow same directions above.
Get Your FREE Printable Constellation Projection Cards
Click below to add the Printable Constellation Projection Cards to your cart. Complete the checkout process, and on the order confirmation page, click the link to instantly download your free printable.
Are your kids fascinated by the stars? If you enjoyed this post, be sure to save your printable constellation cards and DIY projector set-up, because you will need it for the next activities in the series coming up next week: Glow in the Dark Constellation Cards! You can follow along with our Studying the Stars series here. You might also enjoy our other STEAM activities for kids, including the Architecture and Engineering for Kids series and Art History for Preschool activities.
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