Why does the moon shine? A hands on science activity that kids love!

Kids all around the world see the moon and eventually wonder why the moon shines? This SIMPLE and FUN activity will help solve that rather bazaar question posed by many kids all around the world!

Scientific concepts can sometimes be a difficult task for parents to apply within the home. As hard as it might seem, focusing on the FUN of science will naturally spark interest for many kids.

At the ages of 7-9 many kids begin learning about SPACE! This is an exciting topic! This simple at home activity will help them understand key concepts like:

  • Light Reflection
  • Spherical Shapes
  • Differences of Planets vs. Stars

You can also check out one of my recent post of how grocery shopping will help your child in school.

Items you will need:

  • A spherical object (Like a small ball or orange)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Flashlight

Why The Moon Shines Activity

1. Find a small spherical object. I used a mini basketball that we had but you can use really anything.

Explain to your child that this is the same shape as our earth and moon. We call it a SPHERE!

A ball about the size of an orange.

2. Wrap the spherical object with aluminum foil.

Explain to your child that this object is representing the moon. In order to incorporate the SCIENTIFIC METHOD you could ask… what observations do you make of our made up moon.

Does it give off any light or shine by itself? Ask them about their predictions. Do you predict the moon will shine in a dark room? Why?

A ball wrapped with aluminum foil.

3. Turn off the lights or find a room with complete darkness.

Have your child observe the moon again. What does the moon look like now? Ask them to predict what the moon will look like if we shine a light on it.

4. Use the flashlight to shine light onto the spherical object.

Explain to your child that the flashlight supplies the light that shines onto the moon. The flashlight represents the sun, which supplies light to both

the earth and the moon. The moon shines so bright in the night sky because the sunlight is hitting the moon and we are seeing the REFLECTION of that sunlight.

The aluminum foil wrapped ball is shone in the light to replicate how the moon reflects light from the sun.
The aluminum foil wrapped ball is shone in the light to replicate how the moon reflects light from the sun.

Explain that stars, such as the sun, produce light for everything else in space. Unlike stars, planets and moons do not produce any light. We rely on our sun to shine light on Earth so that we can survive. Without the sun’s light, it would be a cold and dark world.

Extra Information!

You can also take this a step further to teach them the concept of ORBIT. How our earth revolves around the sun and how the moon revolves around the earth. This is a more complex concept for older kids around the ages of 9-12.

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