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Pipe Cleaner Constellations

Calling all space lovers!  Whether you enjoy star-gazing on a clear summer night or are in planning mode for an upcoming solar system unit, this hands-on STEM activity will help your kiddos learn about constellations.  Using a few simple manipulatives, your child will enjoy this fun, Pipe Cleaner Constellations activity.

Pipe Cleaner Constellations STEM Activity for Kids - this is such a fun clever idea for learning about stars, solar system, science project for kids, or prep for upcoming solar eclipse!
A constellation is a fancy term for a grouping of stars that make up some sort of picture.  They are often named after mythological characters, people, or objects.  Just think of constellations as a giant game of connect the dots!  Long before maps and GPS systems, people used the groupings of stars in the sky to help them navigate to where they wanted to go and keep track of the different seasons.  Pretty neat, huh?!

After exploring about constellations through books and websites, allow your kiddos to build a few popular constellations with pipe cleaners and beads!  Such a simple and fun engineering and science activity the kids will love.  And because it is hands-on and involves critical thinking and many other skills, I am hoping it’ll help your child remember the constellations in the sky for when they are out star-gazing at night.

Pipe Cleaner Constellations

constellations activity for kids


Find and print out some constellation flashcards from online (we used these from science-teachers.com).  There are many constellation flashcards to choose from; because I set this activity out for my two youngest learners I printed a few of the “easiest” constellations to build, thus they didn’t involve much twisting.
Provide your child with several pipe cleaners and beads.  We used some star beads found at the Dollar Store, however, regular pony beads would work, too!


constellation pipe cleaner activity


With the supplies and flashcards ready, build away!
We found it easiest to string the correct number of stars onto the pipe cleaner first and then used the flashcard to help guide us in where to bend and how to shape the pipe cleaner.
Of the three, the Ursa Minor was probably the most difficult to put together because we had to add the beads and then bend and twist the pipe cleaner to create the dipper part the correct way.
If you choose more difficult constellations to create, provide more pipe cleaners and possibly some scissors to help make the correct shapes.
constellation STEM activity

Enjoy this hands-on constellation building task!  If you are looking for more space themed activities, try these:

About the author


Kristina once thought of going into education, but changed her mind a few years in to her degree. Ironically, she now has her hands full as a homeschooling mother of four. With children of various ages from infant to 7, she shares a variety of educational and play activities for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and early elementary aged children on her blog,

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