Star Gazing

International Astronomy Day is Thursday

April 28 is International Astronomy Day. If your family has been remiss in celebrating, it might be time to check out some of central Ohio's amazing venues for learning about the stars. We're fortunate to have three planetariums in the area.

The COSI Planetarium, which opened in 2014, is the largest in the state. It offers daily child-focused programs about the sky. For more information, go to cosi.org/exhibits/planetarium.

Ohio State University also has a planetarium that offers public events. The programs typically occur Friday nights during the school year. For details, go to planetarium.osu.edu/public-programs.

Perkins Observatory, located on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University, also hosts regular events aimed at kids and families. They often sell out, so buy tickets in advance. For more information, go to perkins.owu.edu/regular_programs.htm.

Now that nicer weather is upon us, it's time to send kids outside to play.

The National Wildlife Federation has lots of great suggestions for getting kids excited about playing outdoors. The nonprofit's website has an activity finder with fun ideas based on a child's age. The site also has suggestions for things to do outside in different seasons.

Research collected by the federation shows that unstructured outdoor play helps children in a variety of ways, including increasing Vitamin D levels (which cans stave off future bone problems, heart disease, diabetes and other health issues), improving distance vision (which lowers the chance of nearsightedness) and reducing stress.

Just don't forget the sunscreen!

-Melissa Kossler Dutton