Kaia has loved astronomy for a very long time! She can usually point out Venus and Jupiter and enjoys finding constellations. Last November she overheard me telling a family member about the Leonids Meteor Shower and had to start fighting back tears when I told her we weren't going to watch it. She assured me that she didn't mind getting up an extra hour early or going outside during a serious cold spell. She was so passionate about it that I just couldn't quite tell her I didn't want to go outside at 4:30 in the morning in 45 degree weather and look for meteors! I'm sure you can guess how that ended...yes, with us outside wrapped in jackets and blankets. And yes, she saw a meteor.
Recently, I introduced her to Stellarium, and she LOVES it! She even took these pictures with a digital camera because they were "so beautiful!" Someday I'll tell her about screen shots!
Stellarium is fun because you plug in a location, date, and time, and then you see exactly what the sky looks like. Stars and other celestial objects can be labeled, grid lines can be shown, constellations can be superimposed, as well as several other little tricks. I've used it to look up names of stars and make sure I'm looking at the right planet when I point them out to Kaia. Kaia likes to look at constellations and zoom in on the galaxies and m-objects because they are so pretty. Stellarium is totally free too (and no, they did not ask me to write this post...we just love it, and I thought I'd share a cool resource...and Kaia's great photography skills!)