Learning About the Stars and Planets

New Year's Eve and even New Year's Eve eve are great times to teach the kids about stars and planets. Why? Because this year, for much of the country, Venus will be visible just below the moon in the southwestern sky. A short time later, Mercury and Jupiter will be visible on the horizon to the south-southwest. Find out how and why HERE.

My son is a toddler and loves the Planet Song from Blue's Clues. We don't know if he's connecting the dots, but it's a start. See this segment from Blue's Clues (sung mainly by the show's original host, Steve Burns) by clicking on the thumbnail.

"Well the sun's a hot star.
Mercury's hot too.
Venus is the brightest planet
and Earth is home to me and you.
Mars is the red one
Jupiter's most wide
Saturn's got those icy rings
Uranus spins on it's side.
Neptune's really windy
and Pluto's really small.
Well we wanted to name the planets, and now we've named them all!"

Of course, poor Pluto has been downgraded since this song was recorded. But think of it as another chance to explain what separates a planet from a moon.


Laurel Kornfeld said...

Pluto is not a moon. A moon is a body that orbits a planet. Pluto orbits the sun, not another planet.

The downgrade of Pluto was done by only four percent of the International Astronomical Union, most of whom are not planetary scientists. It was immediately opposed in a petition by an equal number of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto. Stern and many other astronomers still consider Pluto a planet, and you and your son should too. This debate is far from over, and there is a good chance Pluto's planet status will be reinstated. I'm not a mother, but I am an aunt, and I'm teaching my nephews all the planets, including Pluto.

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