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Happy Birthday - How Many Times Have You Orbited the Sun?

It’s birthday time! My daughter knew exactly what was involved in a birthday party by the time she was about to turn two years old: cake, balloons, and presents! She also announced for weeks before and after, “Everybody sing happy birthday to me!” But what if a birthday could be more than just sugar, decorations, and gifts? What if a birthday party could be a fun and meaningful science lesson too? Enter the Happy Birthday Tee!

The earth orbits the sun every 365 days, or one year. With every orbit Earth makes around the sun, your little tyke gets a year older. Your child can model Earth’s orbit to celebrate their birthday and start to develop an understanding of how Earth moves through space. On their next birthday, have your child hold a globe and walk around a candle, flashlight, or drawing of the sun. Your child can walk around the “sun” one time for every year they’ve been on Earth. Count the orbits as they go and when they get to their age, point out the number on their Happy Birthday Tee!


As they walk, you can sing the following to the tune of “Farmer in the Dell”:


Earth goes around the sun,
Earth goes around the sun,
It takes one year to go around,
Earth goes around the sun!

The best part of having the Happy Birthday Tee is the opportunity for your tyke to share a science concept. Communication is one of the key skills that scientists, and really all of us, need to be successful. We learn to communicate ideas in many ways and can practice communication by explaining new things we learn and asking questions. After celebrating their birthday orbits, you can encourage your young scientist to talk about their Happy Birthday Tee with family and friends. They can draw their finger along the orbit in the design and tell others how many times they have been around the sun. They can ask others how many times they have been around the sun. Now your annual celebration is a way to remember how Earth moves through space, as well as a fabulous birthday!

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