When children learn about the moon, it is almost like learning about magic. So, of course, kids need good hands-on moon activities to teach them about the science behind that that mysterious orb in the night sky. The following five fun and easy moon activities blend art, science, problem solving and culture to teach kids about the moon.
Learn about Moon Phases
Learn about the moon phases with these three fun activities!
Make a Moon Phase Puzzle
To make this moon phase puzzle activity you need:
- blue poster board, cut to size
- black marker
- white and black card stock
Trace eight circles onto the blue poster board. I traced around a glass. Cut out one black circle and four white circles.
Cut one white circle in half–these will be the first quarter and last quarter moons. Cut a crescent shape out of two white circles–these will be the waxing and waning crescents, and the waxing and waning gibbons moons.
Next place the moons on the circles on the poster board in the correct order: new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbons, full moon, waning gibbons, last quarter, waning crescent. Use the black marker to trace around the partial portions of the moons.
Finally, place a long strip of white paper (you may need to tape two pieces together) along the bottom and write in the names of the moons. Cut the strips apart between the names in a puzzle-like manner so that the names can only fit together in the correct order.
Make a Moon Phase Projector
What you need:
- small flashlight
- empty salt container or other cylinder
- construction paper and stickers (optional)
- blue and yellow cellophane
- craft knife
Cut off one end of the salt container. In the one end of the container, use the craft knife to cut 4 moon phases: new, full, half and crescent. I taped blue cellophane inside the container over the full moon cut out and yellow cellophane over the others. I then attached a circle with a cut out to the same end using a brad (see photo).
In the opposite end of the container that you cut off, cut a hole to fit a small flashlight, insert and tape the flashlight in place. Tape the end back onto the end of the viewer. Decorate with construction paper and stickers, as desired.
Head into a dark room, turn on the flashlight and then rotate the cardboard at the top of the viewer to see each phase.
Moon Phase Calendar Activity
This moon phase calendar activity is a super easy project designed to reinforce the concept that the phases of the moon run on a monthly cycle. It's perfect for preschoolers! Also, it's a good way to use all those charity calendars.
Referring to one calendar already marked with the moon phases, kids can use simple office supply stickers to identify on an unmarked calendar which days in the coming months the moon will be new, waxing half, full and waning half. Use blue circles for a new moon and yellow stickers in whole and half sizes for the full, waxing and waning phases.
Learn about Full Moon Names
The moon figures prominently in stories and folktales and kids will enjoy learning about the moon from a cultural perspective. The Royal Museum Greenwich has a nice page listing the full moon names and a short explanation of their meanings.
Design a Full Moon
For this project you will want to cut out 12 large circles in whatever color construction paper you wish. Then pull out the glue and your collection of craft supplies like stickers, beads, sequins, paint, buttons, ribbons, etc.
Now allow children to design their own year of full moons, using the traditional names or inventing their own!
The most well known full moon name is arguably, "Harvest Moon," and that's what my son chose. As you can see, I had to let go of any preconceived notions I had as to what a Harvest Moon might look like! Also, he used so much glue it took three days to dry!
Learn about the Moon's Surface
OK, let’s be honest. This activity was more about having fun making a mess than it was about learning how moon craters form. But that's not to say there wasn't some education happening, as well.
You need: flour, a baking dish, ruler and some marbles and/or rocks.
Measure out one inch of flour. Drop rocks or marbles into the flour. Remove items to observe the size of the craters. That's it!
The concept is that the larger the object, the greater the amount of flour (ie. moon dust) that explodes into the air, thus the larger the crater.
My son loved this so much, he did this over and over and over again.
If you are afraid of mess, do this outside. Personally, I am not afraid of mess. I am afraid of my children making me crazy. My child was not making me crazy while he made this mess AND he was willing to help clean up with the promise of being able to do it again sometime.
Bonus! Read Books about the Moon!
We have several book lists about the moon to read before, after and during these fun moon activities for kids. Take your pick from one or all of the following: