Life skill: Exploration
Step 1: Splatter the stars (This is less messy if done outside in old clothes and shoes!)
—In a small container, mix about 1 tablespoon of washable tempera paint (yellow, golden, glow-in-the-dark, or neon colors work best) with a small amount of water until it’s the consistency of syrup. (Don’t worry—it’s not an exact science.)
—Place a piece of black construction paper on the ground.—Dip a paintbrush into the paint and flick the paint off the brush with a sharp snap of the wrist. Make as many stars as you want, with as many colors as you want!
—Let the paint dry.
Step 2: Discover new constellations
—Have your child search for patterns in the stars that look like familiar shapes: animals, plants, clothes, cars, whatever! (Think of the shapes more like stick figures than dot-to-dot creations.)
—Use a light-colored crayon, glow-in-the-dark marker, or glitter glue to connect the stars and create new constellations.—Name the constellations. Many are named after ancient Greek and Roman myths, but kids can get creative and name their constellations after whatever the shape reminds them of.
—If your child makes more than one picture, tape them together on the ceiling to make a nighttime scene.
Craftier kids can try these ideas.
Frame your constellation. Grab two circular objects of different sizes, like a dinner plate and a salad plate. Before you paint, use the larger plate to trace a circle onto the paper, cut it out, then splatter the stars onto the circle. On cardstock or posterboard, trace the smaller circle inside the bigger circle, and cut out both circles so you have a frame. Decorate the frame, then glue it over the star art. (You’ll need to trim the edges of the art so it doesn’t show from behind.)
Build a telescope. This DIY craft works on both real constellations and your new splatter-art creation. (Check out this article about stargazing as a family.)
Make a constellation night light. Poke holes through some of the stars, then glue or tape the paper into a tube so the stars are on the outside. Glue or tape a round piece of black paper over the top of the tube, and place it over a small flashlight.