Moon Gazing Again

by Deb on May 27, 2011

Full Moon

With all the dramas of this week both on and offline, the post I was planning wasn’t happening. So this is one from the archives that’s still good fun for all ages, just a little updated.

The moon is the brightest object in the night sky, more than enough to draw kids’ attention.  The little girl is a little obsessed, she’s been pointing it out to me since she was one. Add in the fact that you can see interesting things with the naked eye, binoculars or telescopes and that we’ve been there and there’s lots to do.  And if you have children who go to bed early, it’s up during the day as well.  In fact it’s quite important to point out when you see the moon in daylight, a lot of kids think it is opposite the sun and seeing them together challenges this.

full moon

Babies – Just being outside at night is a new experience with different things to see, feel and smell.  Older babies will notice the moon if it is pointed out.  Try some night sky nursery rhymes 🙂  For younger babies, the little girl had reflux and I pointed out the moon many times while walking up and down the driveway with her in a carrier and singing!

half moon

Toddlers – They will look for the moon and can tell the difference between full and not full and see how it moves over the night. They can also pick out the dark and light spots on a full moon and make pictures, there are historically lots of things seen in the moon. In The Moon

Primary – Look out for the phases of the moon.  Observe over time and see how it grows to full then back to new.

  • Try looking with binoculars.  You should be able to pick out maria (‘seas,’ large plains made from lava) and craters as well as the Terminator – the line between day and night.
  • Use a torch and a ball to investigate the phases of the moon.  The torch is in the middle as the sun, your head is the earth, the ball is the moon.  Move the ball around your head as the moon moves around the earth and watch how the light touches it.  You need to keep it above your head or the light will be blocked – lunar eclipse!
  • Check out the moon landings.  There’s a short video on you tube or heaps of other stuff you can easily find.  If you get caught up in any of the conspiracy theories a good guide is at Bad Astronomy.  And of course Mythbusters did a special on it!  Yes, Virginia, we did land on the moon.

crescent moon

I love looking at the moon!  It’s magical.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie May 30, 2011 at 5:31 am

My nearly 2yo LOVES looking at the moon, she’s the most interested of the 3 of them at this age, although the others love it now.

I’m glad you mentioned the moon in the daytime thing – a lot of adults still think of it as opposite the sun, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about the moon being visible at different times of the day/night and looking at how it changes.

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Mahesh Rathi May 30, 2011 at 6:38 am

The myth of the Moon Gazing Hare reflects ancient beliefs. Pagans believed that seeing a moon gazing hare would bring growth, re-birth, abundance, new-beginnings and good fortune. The hare is known to be sacred to the goddess Eostre and eventually became known as the Easter bunny. At Easter we eat Hot-Cross-Buns, the cross on the bun is said to represent the four quarters of the moon, these buns were originally pagan offerings and were often hung from rafters to scare off evil that lurked in houses.
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Connie @ Mold Remediation grand rapids June 7, 2011 at 1:12 am

Staring at the moon is so relaxing! One of my bonding moments with my kiddos is staring at the moon while in the balcony. I like what you suggest about using a torch and a ball to investigate the phases of the moon. I am going to have that activity with the kids.
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Kent June 13, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I’ve always wanted to be an astronomer. Now that my kit’s virtually complete, perhaps my next lens will be a telescope 🙂 Thankfully the moon doesn’t require anything more than a 200mm lens and a steady hand.
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