Flashlight patterns of Ursa Major and Leo.

Flashlight Constellations

Learn about the stories and science behind some well-known constellations.

  • Easy
  • Not Messy
  • 30 Minutes
  • Indoor

Bring Constellations to Life!

For thousands of years, humans have looked up at the sky and told stories about the stars twinkling in the night. The most famous constellations in Western culture come from the Greeks. In this activity, your child can learn more about several well-known constellations as you talk about the stories and science behind them.

You Will Need

  • Printed constellation stories and pictures

  • Flashlight with a round opening for light; the constellation cutouts are sized for a 1-3/4” flashlight opening and a 2” flashlight opening – you can print the page larger or smaller to fit your flashlight

  • Scissors

  • Thin cardboard from a cereal box

  • Glue

  • Something to pierce the paper such as a push pin, thumbtack, or nail


  1. Together with your child, read the four constellation stories.
  2. Use scissors to cut out each of the circles showing the constellations
  3. Glue the circles to cereal box cardboard to make them sturdier. Once the glue is dry, use scissors to cut out the constellation circles again.
  4. Carefully pierce a hole in each star spot on the constellation circle. (An adult should complete this step using a pair of scissors or a push pin.)
  5. Place the circle inside the front edge of the flashlight so that the light shines through the pierced points on the paper. Make sure the picture is facing the flashlight so that it shows correctly on the wall.
  6. Pattern with some holes cut in it overtop of a flashlight lens with light shining through.
  7. In a dark room, shine the flashlight onto a wall so that you can see the points of light creating the constellation.
  8. As each constellation is shown on the wall, have your child retell the corresponding constellation stories you read together earlier.
  9. For each flashlight constellation, talk about what other shapes or animals that constellation could represent. Can your child make up a new story to go with that constellation?
  10. If possible, go outside and observe actual stars in the night sky!

Key Words

A constellation is a group of stars that make an imaginary shape in the night sky.