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Kids How To Make A Homemade SunDial

Updated on April 29, 2013

How To Make a Homemade Sundial with Your Kids

Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What's a sun-dial in the shade?
~Benjamin Franklin~

Children and nature, what better classroom can there be than the world outside. When kids create a sundial they are learning how to tell time. Rain or shine, the many lesson that are there, right outside our doors for our kids are endless. Science experiments are a great way for kids to learn so why not take advantage of all that is around us. Learning through an hands on approach is fun and a great way to learn.

Kids Science Experiments

We all want the very best education for our kids. Childhood can be a challenging time and preparing our children for the world outside is what parenting is all about.

Our kids today have very limited experiences with nature. If they are outdoors chances are they are involved in organized sports or on playground jungle gyms. We shuttle kids in the car to soccer, to dance class - ask a kid to walk around the block and for sure you will get one of those looks as if you were an alien from another planet.

Get the Kids outside in Nature

and experiement!
and experiement!

Time to Get the Kids Outside for Some Fresh Air and A God Lesson from Nature !

A back-to-nature movement to reconnect children with the outdoors is burgeoning nationwide.”
USA Today, Nov. 2006

Why You Should Teach Your Kids How to Make A SunDial

Most kids today are being given a virtual electronic experience of childhood. We sit our children in front of the TV from the earliest of ages to watch a video, and then before you know it they are hooked up to a computer playing games or chatting with their friends.

Natures Clock

teach your children how to tell time
teach your children how to tell time

Teach Time With A SunDial

You may be surprised but most of our kids today can only tell time by looking at a digital clock. So a great activity to do with you child is to follow the sun. A simple sundial experiment is a fun way to teach your kids how the suns path changes everyday. This lesson is one that once they learn it will be with them forever. And I can assure you it will be something for many weeks that will be open for discussion!

What You Will Need For Your Sundial

SunDial Supplies

  • 10" square of cardboard cardboard
  • A pencil or a stick
  • Then get some Markers or fun stickers.

Directions to Make A Sun Dial

  • First take 10" piece of cardboard and POKE a little hole in the center.
  • Then PUSH the pencil or stick through the hole. Make sure it is secure. (If necessary, attach a small board with a screw or a nail to the bottom of the stick to hold it upright)
  • This is your Sundial.

Homemade Sundial


The Sun Dial Experience

Now go outside and find a sunny spot. Somewhere where there are no trees or buildings as you dont want anything in the way that may cast a shadow on your circle..

When you have found that perfect spot . . take the pencil (or the stick)and push it into the ground.

At each hour have the kids mark where the sticks shadow falls on the circle. They can use their markers or stickers for this.

When the sun has set . . you will have a complete sundial! (Its a good idea to cover it with a piece of plastic so that the dew or perhaps a rain shower doesnt ruin all their work)

The Lesson Continues

But it goes on from here, for the next day have them mark the hours again. Maybe before they go to school, when they get home and maybe before dinner. They will see that the markers are pretty accurate.

Now have them check a week later and they will see that the shadows don't align with the marks at the right times.

And here is where the real discussions can start and they can understand first hand how it is that in space the earth is tilted on its axis.

Children who spend time outdoors are likely to be:

  • happier
  • healthier
  • smarter
  • more cooperative
  • better problem solvers
  • more creative

Educating Our Children with Nature

Teaching our children about the natural world that we all live in is one of the most essential lessons we can teach them. When we know how things work, we can feel a sense of security that leads to further inquiry and knowledge.

There is so much research going on that indicate that one of the best ways we can teach our children to avoid stress is to spend time in the outdoors.

Kids today need their time to be less scripted. For children to explore the outdoors from their own backyards to discovering the beauty of the nights stars can help them lead less streesful lives and in this crazy world we live in . . a little back to nature for our kids a great idea for everyone involved!

Teaching our Children Is Fun!
Teaching our Children Is Fun!

Science Experiments with Lemons


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    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      What a great idea, Shari! I like the idea to get kids out of the house (and away from the PC, lol). Thanks for sharing this one :D

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      dohn . . Its a great thing to do with kids.. I love to see the look on their face after a few hours of watching it move...and the questions that it brings up after is the best part. My daughter couldnt tell time unless it was a digital clock for such a long time that this activity made some sense for her to have to learn the old fashioned way!!!

      Thanks for coming by .. you are always a joy to see :)

    • floating mind profile image

      floating mind 7 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Kids outdoors. That's combining learning with fun. That is one of the great ways to teach. Great hub!

    • travelespresso profile image

      travelespresso 7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Nice hub. I'd like to try this myself!

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      floating mind... best way to learn anything for me has always been with a game and a song! Thanks for stopping by and checking this one out!

      travelespresso .. .there are so many different and fun ways to make a sundial. . if you want one to last longer than the cardboard one I have described here .. you can make one out of clay or plaster of paris! The ideas are endless!

      Thanks for stopping by in your 'travels;)

    • LRobbins profile image

      LRobbins 7 years ago from Germany

      Fun ideas that I think kids would love! Great hub!

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      L.Robbins...thanks for stopping by and giving the thumbs up on this one;) let me know how it goes!

    • Cheeky Chick profile image

      Cheeky Chick 7 years ago

      LOVE IT, Wavegirl! I'm going to do the sundial project with my 7 year old son. I've just taught him how to tell time, and this will be a great visual reinforcer.

      We have a cabin in the woods, a short walk from a lake. In the summers we spend nearly every weekend out on the boat. In the winters, we play in the snow. I hope my son always remembers the fun memories we have made in the outdoors. It's good for the mind and the body.



    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      There is my girl . .it just wouldnt be a Mob without you here, , take pictures cause I couldnt find any of mine, , and would love to update with some fresh new ones!

      Always love to see you my favorite chicky



    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      Great idea Wavegirl, Kids tend not to pay as much attention to nature and the outdoors now that they have access to so much technology and indoor activities. It is a good idea to reveal to them the wonders of the natural world that we live in. Thanks for sharing!

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      hi Money Glitch-thanks for coming by and leaving such a nice note. A little fresh air and a fun project always works wonders for all of us. So does a new friend:)

    • alexandriaruthk profile image

      alexandriaruthk 7 years ago from US

      hi, nice take about childrens education and way of learning, great job,

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      alexandriaruthk .. children are our future and whatever it takes to help them enjoy learning is what it is all about .. thanks for taking the time to stop by and even better thanks for your nice words :)

    • Himitsu Shugisha profile image

      Himitsu Shugisha 7 years ago

      This is something that I would be interested in doing. Great idea!! Good hub!!

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      thanks Himitsu . . you know a smile always come across my face when i see that smiling face of yours. .. there are so many different "mediums" you can use to make one from . .send me a pic if you ever do make one!

    • Russ Baleson profile image

      Russ Baleson 7 years ago from Sandhurst, United Kingdom

      Now we're really talking about education. Great hub! Thanks.

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      Russ. .. you always make me feel so special when you come by. Thanks for checking this one out!

    • fishtiger58 profile image

      fishtiger58 7 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Really great hub, and you are right, kids today have no idea how to play outside. We didn't have all the video games and computers we had to play outside. We were never bored. Thanks for the great hub.

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      Amazing isnt it. .. sometimes it is just time to get back to the basics! Thanks for coming by fishtiger58.. . you always make me smile with that beautiful smile of yours!

    • profile image

      poetlorraine 7 years ago

      lovely, i agree with the sentiments, and it was very well written

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      portlorraine.. thank you for that. . especially the written well part;)

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      It is a great pity that many children today seem to live most of their lives in front of the box or some other electronic gadget. If your suggestions are taken up it can only be beneficial to children's lives.

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      Isn't that the truth. . and what I always find so interesting when giving more to our kids it is the simple things that they usually have so much fun with. . like the corrugated box a refrigerator comes in . ..set one out in front of kids and they can make up games and play in it for hours! Thanks for stopping by and checking this Hub out.

    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 7 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      Great idea, Shari!

      I really loved it! It`s true what you`ve said. We have to work with them to avoid them turning into "cyberkids" with no true experience of a tangible world.

      Thumbs up!

      Warm regards and blessings, my dear!


    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      Hey Al - Always a special moment when I see you . . Hope you are having a great weekend. . nothing like seeing where the sun and the moon are . . so basic yet seems so difficult to get our kid to understand the basics ! Thanks for the thumbs up and even more thanks for stopping by ;)

      love and light to you,


    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 7 years ago from USA or America

      Very cool hub Shari. Also, very creative. I learned how to make a SunDial when I was very young, about 6 or 7, it was shortly before that I had learned how to tell time from a non-digital clock. Thank you very much. It was like re-living a bad nightmare.....just kidding. :) Actually, was really cool, kinda like you. :)

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      Ray - you better be just kidding. . actually I think it is sad kids today have such trouble learning how to tell time. If it isnt on a digital clock they havent a clue. . .and so the sun dial is a great way to get them thinking. .

      I think you are way cool too!

      And I am not just saying that because you read my hub 8:)

    • bonny2010 profile image

      bonetta hartig 7 years ago from outback queensland

      I agree kids of today spend too much time indoors and your solution is a great idea which even big kids would enjoy getting involved in- great idea and a great hub - love your pictures t00

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 7 years ago

      when I dial the sun your hubs open up and smile!

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      epi - the Hub sure became a very very bright spot when you joined. Have I told you lately how much I adore it when you leave me a comment or 2? Or how very much your Hubs make me giggle and laugh???

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 7 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      This is a terrific idea, and getting kids away from the tv and computers is a definite must. Learning about the world around them other than tech savvy is also great. Let them breath in the fresh air instead of sitting procrastinating and eating to get fatter. thanks for sharing this is really great.

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      Eileen Hughes - I could not agree with you more. The air gets stale after a while! Once you get them out there they absolutely love to go back for the next marking. . and their faces when the dial is complete, is priceless. I think when a kid makes a sundial it is a lesson that they take with them forever! Thanks for stopping by:)

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      Shari my boys would love this. I am very big on combining nature and science. This teaches so much about time and the sun and planets and is fun to make and watch. Plus we like it outdoors as much as possible.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 6 years ago

      as long as this sundial points in the direction of your hubs then I'm fine with it!

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 6 years ago from New York, NY

      ~ epigramman - how is it you always come up with ways to make me smile??

    • profile image

      maya 5 years ago

      i need help

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 5 years ago from New York, NY

      you need help making a sundial?

    • profile image

      loijiewee 5 years ago


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