Kids love finding the Big Dipper in the Northern sky but first they need to know what to look for. This craft is fun to create but also teaches kids what to look for in the night sky so they can identify the Big Dipper. You can develop many skills with this craft, like hand-eye coordination, practice fine motor skills and most importantly learn about the stars!
The Big Dipper is a star pattern but is not a constellation. The Big Dipper consists of 7 bright stars. It is a large asterism (distinct group of stars) located in the constellation of Ursa Major, the celestial Great Bear. The handle of the Big Dipper is the Great Bear’s tail and the Dipper’s cup is the Bear’s hindquarters.
Each star in the Big Dipper has a name. Here is the list of names from left to right:
Names of the 7 stars in the little Dipper;
⭐️ Polaris (North Pole Star)
⭐️Agfa al Farkadain
You can use the Big Dipper as a navigational tool. The top right star of the bowl points towards Polaris (the North Star). There you‘ll find the the little dipper because the North Star marks the handle of the Little Dipper.
The Big Dipper and Little Dipper circle around Polaris and are easily located depending on the time of year, the rule is, spring up and fall down. Due to the Earth’s rotation, all of the stars in the Northern sky, like the Big Dipper, appears to rotate counterclockwise around Polaris.
The Big Dipper rotates slowly counterclockwise every night around the North celestial pole, and changes it’s appearance depending on the time, sometimes it’s upright and other times upside down. As a result of the Earth’s rotation, the Big Dipper swings full circle almost exactly like a clock but rotates counterclockwise and makes it’s full circle about every 23 hours and 56 minutes.
After you create the craft you can create labels for each star or use it as a visual aid in teaching about some of the interesting facts we mentioned above.
How to create this Big Dipper sewing craft:
- black paper
- 7 beads
- thread or string depending on your bead hole width
- needle (small or medium depending on string size)
- white chalk or white crayon or white pencil crayon
draw out the stars by placing a dot for each star of the Big Dipper constellation (7 in total) with white chalk onto black paper.
pit a hole on every dot through the paper using your sewing needle, so that you have a guide to work from with the needle.
cut a long piece of thread.
loop the thread through the needle.
place the needle the centre of the thread so there’s two parts on both side and the thread is doubled up.
tie a knot at the end of the thread.
place the needle with the thread into first hole from the back of the paper.
put the first bead through the needle and onto the string and pull it on until it sits on the paper
secure the bead to the first dot by sewing once into the paper - down then back up.
sew the string into the next hole so that it leaves a line.
repeat 8 to 10 steps until the entire Big Dipper is seen and beaded - placing a bead at every dot (star) that you made previously.
If your child is too young to sew, you can glue the beads on and make a line with a crayon or marker. The picture shown above is Charlotte age 6 using a regular sewing needle and below is the craft she made.
Use the same technique to create the Little Dipper, either on the same page or create a new craft project.
Have fun stargazing and finding the Big Dipper, North Star and Little Dipper!