Astronomy

Christmas 2007 Astronomy Gift Ideas for Children



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Star light, star bright may my wish come true tonight...does your child sit and watch the stars? Do they wonder what is out there beyond their reach, or wish to fly to the ends of the earth and back again? Do you wish you could give them the moon? Well, here are some wonderful gift ideas that could put a little twinkle in your child's eyes this Christmas.

1. Give them a star. www.starregistry.com is an International Star Registry that allows you to purchase a star and name it. It comes in three
different package levels that range in price from $54.00 to $139.00 but each kit comes with a certificate, a chart of where it is, and a
booklet.

2. A bit of a different spin on naming a star is a plush stuffed animal called the "Shining Star Collection". These adorable stuffed animals are
made by Russ, and come in a wide variety of animal characters such as dogs, cats, pigs, horses, frogs, you name it. The stuffed animals
cost around $15.00, and come with a certificate so that your child can name his or her own star. What is unique about these stuffed
animals is that your child can also go on-line and play on an interactive website. These stuffed animals can be purchased on-line through
the star registry or at card stores.

3. Every young astronomer needs a telescope. The Celestron ExploraScope is a great one to start with, and Mom and Dad, it doesn't cost a
bundle! You can check it out at www.opticsplanet.net/celestron-explorascope-special-telescope.html. The start up kit, with everything
your child needs to start seeing the stars costs around $60, but what is great about this telescope is that as your child's interests
grows,and as their experience builds, the Celestron ExploraScope can be added onto! It is lightweight and easy to use, a real winner all
around!

4. Bring the moon right to their room with "Moon in my Room". This has to be the coolest thing I've ever seen. It is a 12 inch in diameter
moon that hangs on the wall and is remote control operated to let your child change the phases of the moon. It looks just like the one
outside. It comes with an informational CD, and remote- or you can set it to automatic for moon phases. It also has a wall hanging kit.
I got mine at a company called HearthSong-www.hearthsong.com it retails for around $30.

5. For kids ages 7 and up, try this very cool game- Professor Noggins Card Game Series on Outer Space. This game has won awards-
Parents' Choice Award in December of 2002, from the prestigious Parents' Choice Foundation, Dr. Toy's Best Vacation Products for 2003
and NAPPA Gold Award. The game is for 2 to 8 players and will help your child to learn all sorts of fascinating facts about planets, moons,
spaceships, asteroids, and anything else up there in space! The game can be purchased for around $10 and we found ours at
www.thinkbutton.com.

6. For the little guys, everybody knows they love to do puzzles! With its large pieces and vibrant colors, this puzzle is sure to be a winner, it's
called the 100 Piece Solar System Puzzle again, from www.thinkbutton.com. The puzzle sells for $5.95, and is really worth it for it's
durable, heavy pieces.

7. Does your child like to read? Here are some excellent books that my children LOVE.
- A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky: The Story of the Stars, Planets, and Constellations-and How You Can Find Them in the Sky by
Michael Driscoll
-The Planets in Our Solar System, by Franklyn M. Branley
-Constellations: A Glow-in-the-Dark Guide to the Night Sky, by Chris Sasaki
-Astronomy (DK Eyewitness Books)
-Born With a Bang: The Universe Tells Our Cosmic Story by Jennifer Morgan
AND
-DK Readers: Astronaut, Living in Space, by Kate Hayden

8. I just love the Smithsonian Institute toys that they put out. One in particular is the Smithsonian Home Planetarium and Astro Lab. With
this kit, comes a solar system with nine revolving planets, a light-up sun, and a projecting planetarium with a evening sky dome. The
dual-function planetarium projects the evening sky onto your ceiling or can also serves as a light-up solar system model. It is very easy
to use so your child can do this on their own. This is appropriate for kids ages 8 and up and retails for about $30.00.

9. Looking for a great stocking stuffer? Try this, the Backyard Star Guide by Klutz. This is a really cool guide to the constellations, it sells for
about $5 and can be found at any book store.

10. Check this out, saved the best for last...http://stellarium.sourceforge.net/. This is free, open source software for your PC or MAC and
what it is is a planetarium for your computer. All you have to do is set your coordinates and get ready for an experience of a lifetime.
What more can I say, it's FREE!

I sure hope that your child will find as much joy as my children have found in these suggestions. The hardest thing about getting someone a gift is knowing where to look for it, and sometimes the best gifts in life just take a little imagination. Whatever your child's age, or whatever your budget I hope there was something on this list that will make your little one's Christmas a little brighter.

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More about this author: Amelia Tibbett

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