How to Teach Children about a Lunar Cycle

As the moon shines every night, children can easily see how it changes. Help them understand the lunar cycles through literature and activities that can easily be used at home or in the classroom.

While most children’s literature is not accurate about the phases of the moon, some non-fiction books are great for sharing. For example, The Moon and You by E.C. Krupp and R. R. Krupp, Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland or The Moon Seems to Change by Franklyn Branley are all excellent books to help children learn about the lunar cycle.

Use in Internet as a valuable resource. Sites, like Kids Astronomy, have pages about the moon. Check the daily phases of the moon here. Another site, The Moon, has an interactive activity that help students learn and recall the phases of the moon. 

After reading from books, researching on the Internet and talking about the regular cycles of the moon, help kids remember what they have heard by doing activities that teach. These fun activities will leave an impression on their young minds.

1) Scholastic has a free downloadable book that work with the books by Borland and Branley. When the material is complete, the students will have their very own Moon Phases mini-book and a moon calendar for each month. 

2) Create the phases of the moon, from the waning view to the waxing view, with Oreo cookies. Each child will need one Oreo cookie, a craft stick and a sheet of paper. The paper should be divided into eight sections and each section should have the name of one of the moon’s phases listed on it. Start with a new moon and follow the cycle pattern. As each child moves from phase to phase, the teacher checks it off. When all of the lunar cycles are finished, they can each their cookies.

3) Create a moon phases simulation. Using a box with a lid, a Styrofoam ball and a flashlight, students can observe the phases of the moon. A hole that will accommodate the flashlight is place at one ind of the box. Holes will be placed in various spots in the box and the ball will be placed inside. Check here for complete instructions for building the box and preforming the activity.

4) Demonstrate the phases of the moon using a flashlight and a large ball, such as a basketball or beach ball. It is easy to do. Watch this video  to understand how it is done, then do the activity with the children. As in the video, if you can demonstrate the phases in a dark room, it works better.

Teaching children about the lunar phases is easy and fun. Choose one or do them all. Your children will gain a concrete understanding of the cycle of the moon.