Sunsets and Stargazing.

For the month of December I am trying to do something festive each day with our trio.  We aren’t managing everyday, but we’ve managed a lot so far….we have decorated the tree and house, the trio have written their letters to Father Christmas, they have received emails from Father Christmas, we’ve made extremely glittery Christmas cards for the grandparents (that have been posted so will decorate their homes in one move when they open the envelope!), we have done festive face painting, we’ve made winter treats for the birds, and we have watched the Polar Express movie.  Today we were due to have clear skies, so I wanted the children to be able to watch the sunset, and then have a star gazing walk, using their torches afterwards for a bit of added fun.

I have a book called “The Geography Book” and it is full of “activities for exploring, mapping, and enjoying your world”.  This is the first time we have dipped into it, as previously I was following the UK curriculum guide for science, geography, and history, but I have decided to drop that as my guide now (as we no longer live there!), and use more flexible means for enjoying subjects now, that also have a little bit more imagination involved too (I’m not really an ideas person, so a book like this really helps me).  I decided that the activity of finding Polaris (the north star) would be quite a Christmassy adventure, as well as getting a bit of learning done on the sly!  We can also tick “a star gazing walk” off our National Trust 50 things list too, and it will be the first one one those we have done since moving here.

In the morning, while the trio were at their various schools for the morning, I had headed out on an hour long recce to see if I could get the north west side of the island to link up its footpaths following the coast line, and whether it could be walked by three little people, on icy rocks, at dusk.  My conclusion was it could be, and I returned cheeks glowing and fingers numb ready to try it out later with them.  The reason I wanted to head to that side of the island was to watch a sunset in the process too.  This meant we could have a lovely walk with the skies changing, sit and watch the sun go down (whilst freezing our behinds to a wooden jetty), then walk back looking at the stars (with some help from my star gazers app!!), and then when little legs got really tired, we still had the torches to have some fun with!

So, having retrieved the trio from their schools, we had a quick lesson in the theory behind what we were going to do (having learnt the numbers 11-20 in Swedish first).  We chatted about the earth’s axis and poles, and how stars are seen in different places in the sky as the earth turns.  We also briefly talked about the Southern Cross.  We learnt about Ursa minor and major and how to locate the north star by using them.  Then it was time to put on all our layers, and head out into the freezing dusk on our adventure.  We had a really lovely 2 hour adventure.  We found a remote jetty to sit on and watch the sun go down, looking at the sky’s colours change vividly.  It was even more dramatic with the reflection in the still waters.  I know we’ve seen more colourful sunsets since we’ve been here, but this was the first one where we’d sat with the clear view out to sea.  Then we set off on our star hunt.  We located what we’d been talking about, as well as seeing Venus.  So I thought that was pretty good for starters for the little people.

On our way back I did a job I’ve been meaning to do for a long time and that is sort library cards out.  A library card gets you access to all the libraries in the Kommune, but the children are done through the school, so our little lady already has a card (most communities libraries are based in the school, like ours).  The mini men work off my card I discovered, which is fine by me, as it means my wallet isn’t bursting with 4 library cards, just 2!  That done, and books selected we headed home to light the fire and warm up!!

I found this old hidden lookout today. All blocked up, but it is the second thing I’ve found on our small island like this. I found a small pill box on another occasion.

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