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Make a Giant Sundial

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Toddlers, Learning Play, Preschool Children, Kids Activities , Tags: garden, shadow, sun, sundial

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All this sun gives is the perfect opportunity to teach our toddlers how the sun moves throughout the day and how better to show this than by making a giant sundial?!  Start by making a few signs of things that you do throughout the day.  Draw a picture each for breakfast, lunch and tea.  Draw pictures for snacks that you take regularly, then draw some pictures for other things that you do as part of your daily routine - do you always go outside at a certain time, or do a school run for older siblings?  Do you have a set story time, song time or maybe a time when you let your children watch a bit of television?  Make a bright sign for each of these and any other routine things that you do.

Now find two garden canes and cut them into lengths about two foot long - you can use short straight branches if you don't have canes to hand.  Attach one of your little one's drawings to each of the canes, securing them with tape.  Leave one piece of cane plain without any picture.  If there's a chance of rain over the next few days then attach a see through sandwich bag over each sign to protect it.

To make your sundial, take the plain cane and stick it in the ground in your garden.  Then as each of the different points of the day passes, go outside and look at where the shadow of your cane is sited.  Stick one of your cane's into the ground at the tip of the shadow.

As the day progresses, the sun moves in the sky and the tip of your shadow will move.  By the end of the day, all your homemade signs will be sited in an arc around the original pointer.  Explain to your toddler that the sun moves throughout the day and that this causes the shadow to move.  You might be able to explain to older children how the earth moves around the sun and that this is the reason why the shadow moves.

Leave your sundial out for a week and look at how the shadow points to the right sign for the different things going on in the day as the sun progresses.


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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!

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