A planetarium can be a wonderful place to introduce your children to science. But, bringing a young child to a planetarium when they are not ready for the experience is nothing but frustrating for everyone. Some children are more mature than others, and some shows are more technical than others. While we give recommended ages as a guideline, we leave it up to the parents to determine when their child is ready for a particular show. Before you bring your children to a planetarium show ask yourself the following.
- Is your child scared of the dark? Planetariums are very dark places. If your child needs a night-light, a trip to the planetarium is a bad idea.
- Does your child understand space and stars? It isn’t a good idea to ask anyone, let alone a small child, to sit quietly and stare at dots on the ceiling for nearly an hour. If your child doesn’t understand what is going on, he won’t enjoy a planetarium show.
- Does your child have a long enough attention span to sit through a 45min show? A planetarium show doesn’t have the plot and action typical of cartoons. If your child will sit and color for 45min straight, you’re probably fine.
Children younger than 4 are typically not going to like the planetarium, and will most likely make their displeasure known to all. Children older than 6 typically understand all but the most technical presentations, and will behave even if they are bored. In the 4-6 range, it depends on the show, the child, and the mood the child is in on that day.