Astronomy Themed Teatime

Astronomy Themed Teatime

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” With these words, Neil Armstrong linked the magic and mystery of the moon with the wonder of language. Even before Armstrong and the first astronauts left the planet, poets have been exploring space through poems for generations.

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Check out the poems and crafts below for ideas of ways to bring poetry and the science of astronomy into your home in your poetry teatime!

“Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art”

By John Keats

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—
        Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
        Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
        Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
        Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
        Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
        Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

From “She Walks in Beauty”

By Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck (Sonnet 14)

By William Shakespeare

Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck,
And yet methinks I have astronomy;
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons’ quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain, and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well
By oft predict that I in heaven find.
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And, constant stars, in them I read such art
As truth and beauty shall together thrive
If from thyself to store thou wouldst convert:
  Or else of thee this I prognosticate,
  Thy end is truth’s and beauty’s doom and date.

Space-Themed Food

  • Drink from a “space bag”: Pour your (cold) drink or a snack like applesauce or pudding into a ziplock bag and add a straw. Experience drinking like a real astronaut! Inspiration: this post from Mrs. Karen’s preschool.

  • Shiny space treats: cover your teatime snacks with aluminum foil and add a tiny flag or a NASA sticker on top. This is a very easy and fun way to add some space-themed fun to your food! Inspiration: check out the gorgeous pictures on It’s Nice That.

  • Starry food: Use a cookie cutter or a knife to cut finger food into star shapes. Food that works especially well includes slices of cheese, tiny sandwiches, and fruit like watermelon or cantaloupe.

  • Learn about food in space: Check out this infographic from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis about food in outer space and how it’s changed over the years!

Galactic Decorations

  • Table space: For a simple table decoration, use a black tablecloth and scatter glow-in-the-dark stars (found at most dollar stores) and round pom-poms as “planets” across the center of the table. You could also crush small balls of aluminum foil for asteroids. Inspiration: check out this post on The Purple Pug.

  • Asteroid hunt: Go for a walk outside and look for rocks that look lumpy, twisted, or otherwise interesting. Once you’re home, paint the rocks with green or black paint and decorate with glitter glue. Make up a story of your asteroid—where it came from, who else saw the falling star, what someone wished on it, its best friend back in space, or whatever you can imagine! Inspiration: this pin on Pinterest from CardBoardRocket.
  • Create-a-planet: Use plates to trace circles on colored paper. Have everyone cut out their circle. Then, decorate your “planet” with markers, glitter glue, or gel pens. Make sure to name your new discovery!

Astronomical Activities

  • Make a galaxy in a bottle: For a super simple and beautiful activity, follow these directions on One Little Project at a Time. All you need is a plastic bottle, some baby oil (found at most dollar stores), food coloring, and glitter. Because of the mix of oil and water, the glitter will swirl to the top and form fantastic galaxy-like bubbles.

  • Learn the constellations: Use cardboard or black construction paper circles and a hole punch to create the shape of constellations (see this pin from Diana for inspiration and find constellation shapes on this pin from Squidoo). Shine a flashlight through the cardboard onto a wall to see the constellations in action! Be sure to look up the legends behind each constellation. For an extra touch, why not try a nighttime poetry teatime this week? Take blankets and pillows and mugs of hot tea or cocoa outside and watch the stars for a while. Read some poems by the light of a flashlight or a few candles. Enjoy the magic of the stars!

  • Look up Hubble telescope images: Learn about the Hubble telescope, a space telescope that has been expanding our knowledge of space since 1990. Check out the pictures updated daily or the live stream from the telescope here.

Books & Resources

Out of this World: Poems and Facts about Space, by Amy Sklansky

Skywriting: Poems to Fly, by J. Patrick Lewis

Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars, by Douglas Florian

Blast Off! Poems about Space, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Sky Magic, by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Stargazer’s Alphabet, by John Farrell

And Then There Were Eight: Poems about Space, by Laura Purdie Salas

Night Wonders, by Jane Ann Peddicord

Other Resources

Poetry books on space from Growing with Science

Books to celebrate international day of human space flight from Miss Rumphius Effect

Poets.org list of poems about heavenly bodies

Learn the myths behind the constellations with this list from Western Washington University.

Astronomy Themed Teatime

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