Growing up in suburban Chicago, we didn’t get to see a lot of stars growing up. The smog and lights make it hard to find just about anything besides the Big Dipper. But when I was little, I remember driving out into the country and seeing a real night sky. And I’ll never forget it.
Many years later, I went to college in Arizona. On the way there, my father and I stopped in the middle of the desert to pull over and look at the stars. It almost brought me to tears. I hadn’t seen the Milky Way in more than a decade. And I almost couldn’t find the big dipper because the sky was suddenly so crowded with sparkling lights.
To this day, star watching never gets old and that’s saying a lot for being so immensely ADD in the rest of my life. So I’ve made a point to bring my kids out into the country to let them see stars. They come up with the most amazing questions when we go—like do I think there are aliens? And how did we get here? Who’d have thought that star watching would make little kids get so philosophical about life?!
I’ve gotten rusty on my summer constellations over the years, so I’ve made some printable constellation maps to help me find them for my own kids:
How to find Sagittarius
How to find Scorpius
How to find Virgo
How to find Libra
Originally published on Sparkplugging