Chart the Phases of the Moon with Marshmallows
Warm, clear summer nights make following the cycle of the moon easy! You and you child can go outside every evening after the moon has risen, take note of his observations, and record them using marshmallows. Not only will your child get an enthralling lesson about the night sky, but he'll also receive a sweet treat as a reward!
What You Need:
- Bag of large marshmallows
- Black paper
- White crayon
What You Do:
- Ask your child to divide the black paper into boxes, using the white crayon (boxes should be large enough to fit a marshmallow and the date).
- Next, have him look up these terms: waxing, waning, full moon, and new moon. Help him learn the meaning of these terms, so that he can readily identify which phase the moon is in when he observes it.
- Try to start on the first day of the month and observe the moon every day for a whole month. That way, he gets a chance to observe several phases of the moon.
- Each night after you two observe the moon, go back inside and invite him to take a bite out of a large marshmallow to form it into a replica of the shape of the moon. Encourage him to form it into a shape as close to the phase of the moon that he observed as possible.
- Then, glue the marshmallow to the black piece of paper and write the date beneath it.
- At the end of the month, have him stand back and admire what he's created. If you missed any observation days or the sky was too cloudy to make a proper observation on certain days, then have him make his best guess to fill in the missing days.
- Finally, look up a moon calendar on the Internet and compare it to your child's chart. How accurate were his observations? Ask him to point out certain days that he was off, and to observe any patterns that he noticed.