As an ex-astrophysicist you hear some funny space related stories, one of my favourites is the Santa Sleigh trick! The International Space Station has a fab website where you can find out the precise dates and times when you can see the space station where you live, check it out here. It’s surprisingly often! The ISS appears as a bright light/star streaking across the sky for usually between 1 and 5 minutes, moving purposefully across the sky.
So if you have small and gullible children who really believe it’s a big fat man in red with a beard who is going to buy them an iPad…. You simply tell them it’s Santa and his sleigh!
Some will be lucky and find a slot at a non-anti-social time on Christmas Eve or similar. However if you don’t fancy getting up at 5am or it’s somewhere else that day… just keep an eye out for a sensible slot in the weeks before xmas and simply tell the kids that it’s Santa doing a secret training run to test the sleigh out 😉 Far cheaper than a trip to the local department store and paying £5 for your mini-me to sit on an out-of-work actors knee!
Hopefully one day you’ll confess to your kids that you were a lying fantasist that duped them but use the story as a basis to explore the excellent information about the ISS and its operation.
Other references for a mini-geek xmas!
- Check out Amazon’s Catherine Breslins’ excellent STEM gift lists: https://mycomputerdoesntlisten.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/science-and-engineering-gifts-for-young-kids-2014-edition/
- Check out the SKA telescope’s Carolina’s UNESCO pages of free spacey activities/worksheets/games to fill the holidays: http://www.unawe.org/activity/ and http://www.unawe.org/resources/education/
- There are some nice space related gifts for children and also adults, along with some Astrophysics based clothing, here: http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/guest-post-gift-giving-guide-from.html