Participating in dark sky activities gives kids first-hand, meaningful experiences that help them understand the obstacles we face in protecting our dark skies. Creating fun opportunities engages and empowers the decision makers of tomorrow. Below is a list of ways you can enjoy dark skies with kids!
Exploring Dark Sky Places
Exploring IDA Dark Sky Places is a fantastic way to spend quality family with your kids. The variety of parks, communities, reserves, sanctuaries, and developments are areas that have been identified as having exceptional quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected. Searching IDA’s website can help you find a Dark Sky Place near you.
Learning About Nature
Life on earth relies on the predictability of Earth’s rhythm of day and night. It’s encoded in the DNA of all plants and animals. Humans have radically disrupted this cycle by lighting up the night. Plants and animals depend on Earth’s daily cycle of light and dark to govern life-sustaining behaviors such as reproduction, nourishment, sleep and protection from predators.
Kids can make real world connections by identifying both the wildlife that live near you as well as the various outdoor lighting in the area. Matching both the wildlife and outdoor lighting near you initiates great conversations about light pollution.
IDA’s work protecting sea turtles in Florida is a great example of how light pollution affects the natural world.
Picking Out New Outdoor Lighting Fixtures
Involving your kids with home alterations teaches them just how important it is to make conscious decisions about the items purchased for the home. A scavenger hunt in the store to find IDA’s Fixture Seal of Approval logo will help them to begin identifying which type of lighting is dark sky friendly.
Finding Dark Sky Events
Searching online for your local IDA Chapter can help you find events in your area to bring your kids to. Our chapters host a variety of events such as star parties, camping trips, school science nights, and presentations.
Night sky and star photography and poetry are creative ways to energize kids. Browsing through the Hubble Telescope images are a great place to find inspiration. For a beautiful art project, use chalk pastels on dark construction paper to recreate the images taken by the telescope.
The internet is a vast resource for how to engage children in enjoying the dark skies. We’ve created a list of some of our favorites. So many of these sites are filled with a wide variety of activities from arts and crafts, teaching kids about constellations, games, and lists of kids books about dark skies.