Hi there! My name is Jennifer Cooper and I am incredibly excited to kick off PBS Parents’ new site Adventures in Learning. Every two weeks, my family and I will bring you a video featuring a way you and your family can make learning more adventurous. But Adventures in Learning is more than just a collection of videos. Its posts are authored by some of the coolest parents around. Each week, they’ll bring you great ideas for ways you can teach your child about the great big world around them—everything from art and culture to science, math and literacy.

Now, who am I? I am a blogger, writer, and mom to two kids—Ellie, 10 and Jonah, 8. And I married to photographer and filmmaker Dave Cooper, who films each episode of Adventures in Learning.

My background is in psychology and before having kids I worked with preschoolers with Autism. Over the years, I’ve explored ways to make learning more playful and engaging with my own kids. For almost four years, I’ve loved sharing what I’ve learned with other other parents on my blog, Classic Play. Honestly, it makes me happy anytime I can help make another parent’s or child’s life easier and fun.

So with that, I thought we’d start with something that excited my kids and I think will excite your kids too—stars.

Pocket Star Guide

Since ancient times, people have looked to the stars. Over the years they have inspired artists, scientists and storytellers. Encourage your kids to look to the stars with a handy dandy pocket field guide.

These little books are easy to make. Here’s how.

What You’ll Need

  • 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper
  • scissors
  • colored pencils or crayons

How to Make

First let’s talk about the difference between a hot dog fold and a hamburger fold. A hot dog fold is when you fold the paper in half making a long thin rectangle. A hamburger fold is when you fold the paper in half making a fatter rectangle. For older kids, you can explain it as landscape fold and portrait fold.

  • Step 1: Take your paper and make a hot dog fold.
  • Step 2: Now turn your paper 90-degrees and make a hamburger fold.
  • Step 3: Fold paper in half again using a hamburger fold.
  • Step 4: Now open up your paper. You should see many rectangles. Fold it half using a hamburger fold.  Take your scissors and make a cut in the middle of the paper. You’ll cut half way down. Don’t cut all the way through the paper.
  • Step 5: This is the cool part. Open up your paper again and fold it hot dog style. Start pushing the ends of the paper together and you’ll see an opening that looks like a diamond.
  • Step 6: Push the paper together all it makes a sandwich.
  • Step 7: Make a hamburger fold. And your book is ready!
  • Step 8: Now, research what stars you can find in the sky. Did you know that you see different stars at different times of the year?
  • Step 9: Fill your book with drawings of the constellations you’d like to see in the night time sky. Slip it in your pocket and get ready for nightfall.

How many constellations did you find?

More Adventures in Learning

About Jennifer Cooper

Jennifer Cooper

Jennifer Cooper is the blogger behind Classic-Play.com, an online resource for creative families.  Her favorite past times include: dancing around her living room, watching the Pink Panther with her kids and daydreaming. She lives in Baltimore, MD with her husband, photographer Dave Cooper, and two children. 

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  • Leslie

    Very cool! Excited to see the next one!

  • Rachel

    It’s funny because people constantly combat homeschooling with the “socialization” theory, yet kids get in trouble for socializing in school!

  • Plantastic

    One fun home project is to grow a pet TickleMe Plant from seeds and watch how it moves like an animal when you Tickle It. It is a fun way to excited kids of all ages about plants and nature. See it in action here and grow your own indoors. http://www.ticklemeplant.com

  • thenend

    you live in the wrong area lady

  • Cindy

    I live in an area where the schools are not good at all. We started with a virtual public school because I had no idea where to start or how to start. I would check to see if there is one in your area. Also you should join your states homeschooling website/yahoo group.

  • Tina Jensen Ma of brood

    I homeschool I’m a younGer parent of flourish kids. I’m trying for a teachers liscense maybe degree. Slightly more than dyslexia . Hii everyone ..

  • Tina Jensen Ma of brood

    Plus it’s fun to learn how lil I kno

  • Charlotte Quevedo

    Well, I have always wanted homeschooling. My school situation growing is probably one of the saddest ever heard and my mom…she originally homeschooled too. My dad did not let her continue because unaware of stuff like asperger’s he thought I was socially deprived. He put us both in schopl and it baffles me to this day that he questions my schooling decision, because what with all of our schooling my brother is and has remained in serious trouble. How is public school the solution to all of life’s problems? The problem I have is this….socialization is a bit of an issue for me. My son is non-verbal autistic, my daughter is completely neurotypical, she is 3. At first I had him in a self contained autism classroom but he was aggressive toward staff and students and started refusing to go to school. So I withdrew him. That leaves me with a dilemma. We live in a small town, no one wants to drive here. I have organized several in home play dates and once ppl saw how far it was they did not return. So socialization is an issue here. But it depends. Peer socialization is an issue, but peer socialization never happens ik the real world outside of public school. As far as socializing with random ages, random races, random ppl, that happens all the time. My husband does watch my son once or twice a month so she can go to play groups, but we cannot go every week. My son is not ready to be around other children until we can overcome his issues with aggression and self injury. I would like some insight on this besides shipping my dd off to school.

  • bgurrl

    Hon unschooling just means not school and is about self directed learning. Please before you post something you should read up on it. I’d start with John Holt the man who coined the term.

  • AngelSeeker

    Unschooling isn’t not teaching. It’s supposed to be child lead learning with the parent guiding the child to some degree. This writer makes it sound like you don’t actually teach the kids anything, but you are supposed to do what I call sneaky teaching. As a teacher I suggest that you look up “Sugata Mitra” and some of his ideas about how children can teach themselves. It’s not about leaving the children alone and expecting them to learn. It’s about giving them ideas and letting them go with it. How instead of trying to memorize facts they explore every dimension of an idea, bouncing their thoughts off of each other and coming to conclusions together. I’ve discovered that my son learns much better when he feels comfortable asking any question that strikes his fancy and he gets feedback that isn’t judgmental. I’m sure he would do even better with a group of children and I want to add something like this to our homeschool group. (BTW in my opinion the writer of this article has somehow missed the spirit of unschooling in her belief that she shouldn’t teach her children anything. At least that is the impression that she gives.