Perfect for your slumber or outdoor camping party, have your young guests explore the night sky. It’s been fascinating people for centuries, and it still does when we help them see.
Even in winter, a 1/2 hour or so walking outside looking up and really observing is a great ‘settle down’ activity for a slumber party.
Either request everyone to bring any binoculars they have at home to your party or round some up from friends and relatives ahead of time. If you can get your hands on a telescope or two, that’s a super addition to the binocs, but not a replacement- have as many of both as you can get.
A big coffee table art book of constellations from the library will give the kids a reference point. You can help out ahead of time by marking with stickies the pages for the constellations they are likely to see in your local night sky. Print out constellation diagrams such as you’ll find at stardate.org for the kids to take with them outside to help them find the constellations. Turn it into a game- who can find “X” constellation first and point it out to everybody else.
Take it all a step further and do a little research yourself before the party and WOW them with some fun facts- how far away the North Star is and how long it would take to get there; what are falling stars and does anybody see any, how to tell the difference between a planet and a star, what planet can you sometimes see in the night sky.
Games don’t need to be mindless- learning really is fun and the sooner our kids figure that out the better off they’ll be. Keep it light and interesting and not too lengthy and a little learning disguised as a game can be a great addition to your party.