Moon Gazing

by Deb on August 21, 2009

moon closeup

The moon is the brightest object in the night sky, more than enough to draw kids’ attention.  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.

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, our littlest one 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.

full 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 just magical.

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