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Family Fun Under the Stars

Star light, star bright, explore the skies with your family tonight! The International Year of Astronomy 2009 isn’t just for professional astronomers. It’s a global event to bring the wonder of the universe to everyone.

What to bring

On a clear night, venture outside with a blanket, lawn chair, flashlight, binoculars and star map.

What to do

1. To find fascinating things to look at in the night sky, visit or a local planetarium’s website to make your own star map. Eye spy the three stars on Orion’s belt, Venus the first star in the night sky, Polaris the North Star, and even the International Space Station. Visit to find out when the station will pass above your town.

2. Play a star story game. Before the big night, checkout a book from your library on star myths. Your children will love hearing how vain Queen Cassiopeia came to be hanging upside down in the heavens. Invite your child to make up their own star stories.

3. Plan an imaginary journey to space. Ask your child to name three things they could not live without on a space journey. Learn more about space and astronauts on the Canadian Space Agency’s website at

Back inside

Finish off the evening by making an edible star map. Using ready-made sugar cookie dough spread out the package onto a circular baking sheet.

Next, press chocolate chips into the dough to make constellation patterns.

Bake according to instructions.

When your cookie has cooled, you can admire the stars and even take a bite out of the heavens.


Anita is the author of Explore The Solar System: 25 Great Projects Activities Experiments with Nomad Press. Learn more at

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