Monthly Archives: March 2011

Wonders Of The Universe Revisited

From my previous blog post today you will have seen I recommended watching Wonders of the Universe, but it’s only on BBC’s iplayer for a couple more days. If you thought you weren’t going to have the chance to watch it before it finished, I have good news. I’ve just discovered that The Wonders of the universe dvd is due for release on April 4th 2011. So if you miss it on iplayer, there is still a way of seeing this great series, yay. It’s available in both regular and blue ray dvd too. 

Mercury and Wonders Of The Universe

The first ever image obtained in Mercury’s orbit from the spacecraft MESSENGER can be seen hereHow awesome is that ! It was taken just a couple of days ago. It makes the universe seem a much smaller place when we can see images like this. 

Continuing this theme, we’ve also enjoyed the Wonders of the Universe TV programme, with Brian Cox. It was on TV but you can watch it on iplayer at the moment but only for the next few days it would seem, so be quick, something to watch this weekend? We have found it suitable, enjoyable and informative for children too, I’d say from about 7 years upwards, particularly if they are interested in science/space/the universe. It’s an hour long, goes into quite a lot of detail, it’s interesting and it provides different visuals to help explain. 

We really enjoyed the stardust episode, where we found out that Betelgeuse is expected to go supernova, we’ve actually enjoyed them all, but that was our favourite. Wonders of the universe is a fabulous series containing lots of information for both young and old alike.

Sharing information and programmes like these are good for capturing a child’s interest in space, it brings it all to life a bit more. For more ways of developing a child’s interest in space further see my other blog post  and if you have any recommendations for good planetariums to visit, we would love you to comment and let us know.


Over on the main site, we have been busy creating a  Fairies theme section. It contains a mixture of different activities to make and do, some fairy colouring sheets, word search, a great room sign to make, recommendations for fairy chapter books, and more to come over the next couple of weeks. So if you have a child that loves fairies come across and take a look.

The moon and the stars

You will often find that children become interested in things that are happening around them, something that captures their interest. Such as if they have watched the news or heard the information about the moon, with it being a super moon, it’s brighter and closer to earth than usual, the first for nearly 20 years. Maybe you’ve been outside to have a look at the moon with your children. 

Also if they are exposed to an interesting place or experience it can  trigger off an interest. For instance a visit to a planetarium can spark off an interest in space, there are various planetariums around, see if you can find one close to where you live, they are certainly worth a visit. They are generally good  to visit from about age 7 upwards, and some actually have a minimum age for admission. Generally the child needs to be able to sit still and concentrate and not mind being in the dark.

For any children interested in constellations, there is a great phone app called google sky map. It’s fantastic, just point the phone at the sky and it matches up where you are and tells you what constellations, or planets you are looking at. It really brings astronomy alive, and makes it interesting in a modern way, that the children of todays technology age can relate to. 

Once their interest is sparked, it’s useful to have some information resources at home for them to immerse themselves in and find out more. 

Posters are good, very visual and immediate to look at and find out the information you want. Below is a good one showing the constellations, having a planet one is a good idea too, some show pluto, some don’t, it depends if they take into account it’s reclassification. The middle link below is a bigger sized poster than standard posters and is very detailed. 

Books are a great way to find out information too, these tend to be more generically about space, but consequently tend to hold more varied information. The first book linked to is an ideal book for a younger child with an interest in space, it keeps the style simple, while still providing information suitable for a preschool child, ideal for a 3-4 year old. The second book is an Usborne see inside book, which are great for interactive learning, as they contain lots of information flaps to open really bringing the book to life, and is suitable for approx. 5-7 year olds. Next is a book, Solar System, aimed at the age group of 7+, it has more information than the first too, but is still larger print with lots of pictures. The last book the Encyclopedia of space, is packed with lots of information, and is suitable for older children, or those who are simply wanting more depth of information, it’s more aimed at the 9+ age group but younger children may enjoy looking through it, particularly if they have a strong interest in space, or have exhausted the simpler books and are ready for more.