Once upon a time, in a galaxy exactly like this one, well it was this one, I followed a link to a video of Chris Hadfield and his brother singing about Canada (it’s here and definitely worth watching by the way). And as we watched I tried to explain to Kitty that one of the guys singing has been to space; when it finished she turned to be with a slightly baffled expression:
“But where was the spaceman Mummy?”
One click later and we fell head shoulders knees and toes down the rabbit hole of Canadian Space Agency videos. Forget CBeebies, move over Disney princesses, what Kitty would really really really like to watch is “a space video”.
Her absolute favourite is Tears in Space (Don’t Fall), which in our house is called “the crying one”, but she’s also fascinated by anything involving space food. I’d put Wringing out Water on the ISS at the top of my personal playlist but if we’re being honest I’ve found them all really interesting.
I know far more about micro-gravity and the working of the ISS now than I did a few weeks ago and Kitty’s soaking it up like the proverbial sponge. If we’ve watched a couple of videos after lunch she always wants to tell H about them as soon as he gets home, and then we usually have to play it again for him to make sense of some of the comments.
“Daddy! If you put water in your eye it just stays there!” just doesn’t make much sense if the chatter at that point was about going to the butcher and having pasta shapes for lunch.
It’s also cued a few discussions about when and where it is OK to squirt water into your eye (answer: only in space) which have turned into a vast array of conversations that start “when I’m in space…”
But this is supposed to be about reading not obsessively watching You Tube videos, fun though the latter may be (and the wringing out water one is just cool!). So on our last trip to the library I pulled out all of the books about space and stars that I thought even vaguely appealing or appropriate, stacked them on the children’s table and asked Kitty to pick one.
And this is what she choose:
The Universe Rocks: Stars and the Dust that Made Us! And it’s perfect. Perfect for an inquisitive three year old and perfect to dip back into when she’s a bit bigger.
For starters it’s got a lot of very gorgeous pictures of stars; and no great big huge pages of text. Detail has its place without a doubt but right now we’re just scratching the surface, and in the same way that a two or three minute video will hold Kitty’s attention for long enough that she will stay focussed and actually absorb what she’s seeing; so will a little paragraph about white dwarf stars, or blue and red stars.
It’s not a book I think I’ve ever sat and read cover to cover with the girls, it doesn’t have that kind of story telling flow, instead we flip to whatever page takes their fancy and read a few bits and bobs from there.
My knowledge of astronomy is gleaned from Winter Holiday and a few teenage physics lessons; I can pick out Orion’s Belt and the Pole Star but that’s about it, so there’s so much of this that is new to me too; did you know that some stars shoot out jets of hot water – it was news to me!
And if all that weren’t enough – there are experiments! (Let it be known that my inner science geek is jumping up and down and waving flags at the prospect). And more to the point they are easy experiments for a three year old to actually take part in.
So far we’ve tried finding out why stars appear to twinkle (lots of fun cutting out tin foil stars; we decided we need a better torch and a darker room to make them truly sparkle), I’m on a promise to acquire a ping pong ball for the Supernova Blast Wave, and I’m saving counting the stars and making our own constellations for darker and rainier autumn days, but they’re all things I can do with Kitty without needing anything I don’t already have in the house.
What more could you want!
If you’re in the mood for something a little more down to earth; Rachel linked up last week with the most gorgeous Around the World book with the cutest illustrations that’s understandably her son’s new favourite bedtime story!
And if you have a favourite, or just something fun your little ones have enjoyed reading lately please do join us. The linky is always open for the whole week so there’s plenty of time. And so, without further ado, it’s over to you to tell me what we should be reading!