One of the greatest challenges this summer has been finding activities that my son who is going into first grade and my daughter who just turned 3 will both love. When I suggested we make a glow in the dark paintings after seeing the stars out on 4th of July ( they aren’t normally awake late enough to see any! ) they both thought it was a cool idea. These glow in the dark stars paintings are really easy to make and despite being locked out of our house for hours in the middle of making them we still had a great time. And they really do glow in the dark !
- Gather your materials. You will need a canvas, black acrylic paint, glow in the dark paint , paint brushes ( the bigger the better ), paper plates, and star stickers. You will also want wipes or a wet cloth and a good drop cloth when working with non washable paints.
- Pour the paint on to a paper plate . I like using big brushes when the goal is coverage. With 3 year olds making the activity attainable is key to making it a success. Paint your whole canvas with the glow in the dark paint. My daughter started then we realized we were locked out of our house ( without shoes and I was in PJs ) so we took a 2 hour break while we tried to find an open window gave up and went to the safety of a neighbors to call a locksmith.
- Add stickers when the canvases are dry. My daughter did a random smattering of stars and I helped her make sure they were all pressed on and my son made a constellation.
- Add the black paint. My son helped his sister and to my surprise she let him. This picture is what I love most about crafts, just doing something together with family. Let dry to the touch. The stars peel off easier if they aren’t 100% dry.
- Carefully peel the stars off. This never gets old for my kids. They love seeing the shapes emerge. Leave the paintings out in the sun to dry 100%.
- Find a dark room and watch them glow – sorry for the bad picture but my inexpensive camera isn’t great for glow in the dark. Trust me it was cool! Pop them in your kids bedrooms to see the stars every night.
Books About Stars
Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle is often not read in classrooms simply because of a depiction of a naked man and woman. It’s not what most parents expect to find in an Eric Carle book but it is very fitting in this beautiful and really touching book. The story although very similar to a biblical creation story isn’t necessarily reflective only of a Christian viewpoint, rather as I read it is was the author’s own creation. It begins and ends with a star, and hits all the right points in between.
Stargazers by Gail Gibbons is a good choice of book to teach about stars, constellations, telescopes, and more. My son sat listening to this book and every now and then was engaged but it was a bit lengthy and a little too in-depth for him ( he’s almost 3) however the book is great, it explains complicated scientific information in a really accessible way. I even learned a few new things about telescopes! I will be taking this book out of the library again for sure when my son is a little older.
Our Stars by Anne Rockwell is another wonderful non fiction book from this author-illustrator. The book shares the most basic facts about stars with the reader as well as more complicated facts about constellations, comets, and meteors. I love that the facts are shared pretty independently on each page, so if something is above your toddlers head you can simply skip that page until they are. The illustrations are fun enough to grab attention but detailed enough to help explain the facts being presented.This post contains affiliate links.