Teach children star constellations – star tubes

Like so many other small children, N loves the moon.  He likes to look out for it going down in the morning, and goes through phases of asking for it at night.  He also tells his dad about the man in the moon.  As for crescent moons…I’ve not yet done the jaffa cake version with him, instead he does his own version.  He holds up any piece of food in that shape and says it’s a crescent moon.  (usually bread or toast, but the other week, he was talking about a banana moon, so not sure what he was getting at there).

So I’ve been meaning to make these star telescopes for a while.  If you make them over the summer, you’ll be ready in preparation for star gazing once the nights draw in again.

star constellations

I remember making them at Brownies all those years ago, and remembered my constellations for years.  Not so hot now (like with my nature knowledge) – it’s terrible how you lose the knowledge of certain things you learn at school age.  These are a great way to teach children constellations.

what you need to make star tubes

What you need:

  • Cardboard tubes.  I used toilet rolls, which the OH then flipped about as he said it was unhygienic, so I suppose kitchen roll tubes would be better.  You can cut to whatever length you want.
  • Black paper.  I used tissue paper which isn’t great because it’s not dark enough, but I couldn’t find any dark card or paper around the house.
  • Pin
  • Pen
  • Elastic bands
Teach children star constellations an easy and fun way...and make use of toilet roll tubes! Click To Tweet

To make:

1, Cut pieces of black paper large enough to be folded over the tubes.  I cut squares, but circles would do the job too.

2, Choose your star constellations.  Depending on the width of your tubes, you might need to choose small ones so they’ll fit.

Readers Digest constellations
Reminiscing with the old Readers Digest atlas

3, Draw the constellation on the black paper – make sure you hold it over the top of the  tube so you keep within the right size.

draw on the constellation

4, Use the pin to make holes in the paper.  This is quite hard on tissue paper to not rip it, but using black paper should be easier.  You need the holes to be a reasonable size.

5, Place the paper over the top of a cardboard tube (make sure the constellation is facing the right direction when you look through the other end of the tube).  Tie on with an elastic band.

6, Repeat for different star constellations (I noted down the names on the side of the tubes).

star constellations

You can view them just looking towards the light.  I tried putting a torch inside and making the constellation shine.  As I mentioned, the tissue paper isn’t really thick enough, but the shapes were still recognisable.

shine a light to make constellations

I’ll be using these with N when we next talk about the moon and stars.  Bringing the night time to him so he doesn’t miss it while asleep.

If you want to take it to the next level, why not check out my fun activities to teach the night sky, moon and more post.

Do you have any star or moon crafts you can share?  And let me know how you get on with these.


Why not take a look at these craft posts.

teach kids the night sky  mad science party  decopatch letter decoration

Or take a look at Marie’s post over at Christian Montessori Network’s astronomy based activities

Related Post

35 thoughts on “Teach children star constellations – star tubes

  1. Oh that is so clever! Actually my own dad would love this, he used to always show me the stars and shooting stars or eclipses when I was younger, a lovely idea!

  2. This is such a lovely idea and I really want to do this with my boy. He has a bit of an obsession with stars and it’d be lovely for him (and I!) to learn the constellations 🙂

    1. Oh yes, I used to love my mum’s Reader’s Digest books- shortened and reworked classics, plus those magazines with short stories, and of course atlases and the like. Great history

  3. Absolutely brilliant idea! We’re totally going to do this… Stroke of genius …Love finding you from @HodgePodge & the T Crafts.
    Our nursery takes all our loo rolls & egg cartons …#Sweden – gotta love it! 🙂

  4. Oh this is brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing with the Monday #pinitparty. I will be featuring it as my favourite in next weeks party on Monday. I do hope you will join in again 🙂

    1. Glad you like it. Seems to be going down well which is great. Really simple – and something a bit different. Just make sure it’s thicker paper than tissue for better darkness to light!

  5. what an utterly brilliant idea! I love star gazing. We once had a craft kit which was like a globe shape with lots of constellations with a torch you shone through so it was similar but i love the idea of making your own from scratch! x

  6. I love these, such a great idea. We had a letter a few years ago from big Js school about toilet rolls saying they no longer could be donated and to use kitchen rolls instead.

    1. Think my OH’s a bit obsessed with hygiene. Shame he’s not the one that does the cleaning! Our nursery won’t take loo rolls for junk donations presumably due to that (and egg boxes).

    1. Can’t claim it for my own, but it’s something a bit of fun. N has one of those rotating light/constellations products that beams onto the bedroom wall, but he’s a bit scared of it. So this is tame enough for him!

Let me what you think (you'll get notification of my reply via email)