Make Sunrise Special

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I’m an extreme early bird, and yet even I want to pull the covers over my head sometimes on cold mornings when my kids are up before sunrise. Those covers sure look inviting for just a little extra snuggle time!

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But I want to start the day on the right foot for my little ones, so I have a few tricks to make sunrise special. These little routines not only help me wake up, but also help them start the day on the proverbial right side of the bed.

Step 1: Open the curtains. Let in the light, even if it’s a tiny bit! Watch the light change from deep blue to pale gray, until pink and orange are in the sky. Plus, curtains are fun; Veronika never tires of running her hands up and down the slats, so that has become part of our morning ritual.

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Step 2: Have a dance party. You can’t go wrong with a light-up speaker and music while mommy puts in her contact lenses.

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Step 3: Listen to a sunrise chant. Tune in to a beautiful Native American sunrise prayer on YouTube and have these sounds in the background as the room moves from dark to light.

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Step 4: Have a special breakfast. “Special” doesn’t mean a complicated recipe (here’s Veronika having some almond milk yogurt and waffles); it just means sitting down together and taking a pause, even when you have to get everyone dressed and ready for the day.

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Step 5: Get moving! If it’s warm enough, go outside for a stroll. If it’s cold, be silly and have a sunrise stroll indoors!

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Older kids may also love reading stories or myths about the sun, which you can weave into breakfast time.

How do you make sunrise special? Please share in the comments!

Solar Eclipse Science Project

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I put together a simplified version of this box back when there was a solar eclipse in our area in 2017. Today we wanted to see if the box would work for Mercury’s transit across the sun, and now Travis was old enough to help with all the steps!

To start, we upcycled a Kiwi crate (though any shoe box would work). Measure 2 inches in from one edge and poke a push pin or thumb tack through for a small hole.

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On the opposite side of that same edge, measure in 1/2 an inch and cut a square that is 2 inches on each side.

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Cut a square from black paper that is 2.5 inches on each side. Travis loved cutting along the lines I measured with our ruler.

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Trace the inside of a small roll of tape in the center of the black square, and cut out this circle (a mommy step).

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Tape down on the inside where you’ve cut the viewing hole.

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Next cut a rectangle from white paper that is 10.5 inches long x 3.25 inches tall. Use double-sided tape to attach on the inside of the box opposite the viewing hole.

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Now cover any seams or cracks with tape. Travis took it very seriously to ensure that we had no points where light could filter through.

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We peeked inside in the kitchen, but if course there was only darkness without any sunlight coming through our tiny pin prick.

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The answer to our initial question (would the box work for Mercury), alas, was no.

Mercury entered its transit across the sun the next morning at 7.30, but it was so cloudy that the sun wasn’t visible all day! Further research suggested that Mercury would be much too tiny to spot in our viewer anyway, and what we really needed was a telescope with a proper sun filter. Instead, we checked out the transit online. And now we’re going to set aside our solar eclipse viewer for the next one… in 2024!