Kid’s Craic: The Dog Days of Summer

Kid’s Craic: The Dog Days of Summer
By Megan Lardie

We are right in the middle of the Dog Days of Summer. Have you ever heard that expression and wondered what it meant?  When I hear that phrase, I think of summer days so hot that even dogs want to just lay around on the cool floor of the house. Actually, the phrase has nothing to do with dogs! The phrase has to do with the Sirius star and its position in the sky.

The ancient people created pictures, or constellations, of the stars like a dot-to-dot picture. This made it easier for them to know the seasons and get ready for what was ahead. For example, they knew that when the constellation Orion became more visible in the night sky, winter was near.

In the constellation Canis Major, which looks like a dog, the Sirius star is the dog’s nose. The Greeks and Romans called these hot days of the summer the “dog days’ because the Sirius star would rise just before the sun in late July. 

Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky and is twice the size of the sun. It is twenty-five times brighter than the sun, but we do not notice it because it takes over eight years for the light from Sirius to reach us on Earth. That means it is really, really, really far away!

In the summer in the United States, there is more daylight and it is hotter due to the tilt of the Earth. In Ireland, the sun is still lighting up the sky until almost 11 o’clock at night! The position of the Earth and the stars are constantly changing and it is fascinating to study.

Take some time on one of these hot summer nights to sit outside and look for constellations. There are eighty-eight named constellations. How many can you find? After you try it on your own, download the SKY VIEW app on your phone and aim your phone in different directions. You will be amazed!

Easy Sloppy Joes
When it is too hot to turn the oven on, try making these for dinner!  These also travel well for picnics.


2 pounds ground beef
½ cup chopped onion
¾ cup chili sauce
½ cup water
¼ cup mustard
2 teaspoons chili powder
12 hamburger buns
12 slices cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook the beef and the onion until the beef is browned, then drain. Add the chili sauce, water, mustard, and chili powder. Simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon ½ cup onto each bun and top with cheese.

Literature Corner
Take a Hike, Miles and Spike by Ethan Long and Travis Foster

In this funny, rhyming story, two dogs decide to take a hike in the woods and their friends are not happy about it. As they go about gathering treasures for their backpacks, they very rudely destroy the woods and brush off the other animals who are angered by their rudeness. Find out what happens when Miles and Spike discover that they are out of water and then see the destruction they have caused. Listen to the story here: Take A Hike Miles and Spike by Travis Foster & Ethan Long – YouTube

Madame Badobedah by Sophia Dahl and Lauren O’Hara
Find out what happens when an elderly woman with a mysterious past comes to stay at the Mermaid Hotel. The owner’s daughter sees an opportunity to improve her spying skills. An unlikely friendship develops between the young girl and the elderly woman which leads to a fantastical adventure. Listen to the story here: Madame Badobedah by Sopie Dahl Illustrated by Lauren O’Hara – YouTube



Lardie’s Laughs
Q: Why did the teacher jump in the pool?
A: To test the water

Q: What does a mermaid use to call her friends?
A: A shell phone

Gab in Gaelic
It is too hot during the day = Ta se rothe i rith an lae (Pron: Thaw shay ro-cheh ih rih on lay)

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