Phases of the Moon Astronomy Activity for Kids
This educational astronomy craft is the perfect kids indoor play activity to keep kids entertained whilst also teaching them about the phases of the moon.
Take a look at our step-by-step video tutorial on creating your own moon phases craft! For a more detailed description, read our article below.
To get started, you’ll need:
- Paint, markers, crayons or colored pencils
- 2 × equal sized pieces of cardboard
- Large piece of paper (preferably black)
- Printed picture of the moon
- Moon Phases Worksheet (see below)
Prepare all the supplies you’ll need! If you don’t have paint, feel free to use crayons or markers instead.
Print out a large picture of the moon and cut it out. Tip: You could also get creative and try drawing a moon sketch yourself.
Place the moon in the centre of a piece of cardboard and use a pencil to trace around it.
Cut out the circular moon shape. Tip: this part is tricky, so help from a parent or babysitter is needed.
Glue your moon picture in the centre of the second piece of cardboard.
Paint or color the first piece of cardboard (we chose dark blue for a cool space theme!).
Add details to bring your moon/space theme to life. We chose to add gold stars and specs of white and silver paint.
Using a compass, draw 8 small circles around the cut-out circle on your first piece of cardboard.
Using your Moon Phases Worksheet for guidance, color/paint 8 white moons.
Using black paint or a black marker, color the shadows on each moon to illustrate each phase of the moon. Use your Moon Phases Worksheet for reference.
Draw/paint a white line next to each moon phase.
Label each phase of the moon accordingly. Tip: take a look at your Moon Phases Worksheet for help.
Once you’ve written each moon phase next to the correct picture, give yourself a pat on the back! Well done.
Trim the corners of your long piece of paper so that they are curved. Tip: this part will require the help of a parent or babysitter. This piece of paper will act as your shadow slider, casting shadow over the moon!
Paint or color your shadow slider black (unless you already have black paper, of course!).
Staple your first piece of cardboard to the second piece of cardboard, being careful to make sure that the moon is centred, and you’re done!
Move your shadow slider back and forth to cast shadow over your moon. See if you can create all 8 phases of the moon cycle!
The phases of the Moon are the different ways the Moon can look from Earth (where we live!).
As the Moon orbits (circles around) the Earth, the sun reflects light off the Moon’s surface. This means that the light we see at night from the Moon is actually coming from the Sun!
So, as the Moon orbits (circles around) the Earth, the Moon looks as though it is changing shape. But actually the sun is just lighting up different parts of the Moon, making it look different!
Why Does the Moon Change Shape?
It takes the Moon 29.5 days to travel around the Earth and complete its ‘lunar cycle’!
|New Moon 🌑||A New Moon happens when the moon is directly between the Earth and the Sun. We cannot see the Moon because its unlit half is pointed towards the Earth!|
|Waxing Crescent 🌒||Now we can see a thin sliver of the Moon! At this phase, the Moon is shaped like a crescent. As the crescent shape gets bigger, we say it is “waxing".|
|First Quarter 🌓||The Moon has reached the first quarter of its orbit around the Earth! At this phase, we see half of the Moon’s surface illuminated.|
|Waxing Gibbous 🌔||This phase happens when more than half of the Moon is illuminated. The lit shape that we see will increase (“wax”) in size each day.|
|Full Moon 🌕||A Full Moon appears when the Earth is directly between the Sun and the Moon. The entire Moon will look like it’s lit up!|
|Waning Gibbous 🌖||In its next phase, the Moon will appear to shrink (“wanes”) as the lit portion of the Moon decreases in size.|
|Third Quarter 🌗||The opposite half of the Moon (compared to the First Quarter) is lit during this phase.|
|Waning Crescent 🌘||The Moon is shaped like a crescent again, but on the other side (when compared to the Waxing Crescent Moon). It decreases (“wanes”) in size.|
Did you enjoy this Moon Phase activity? Be sure to check out our science activities for preschool for 3 fun and easy educational science activities.