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  • Writer's pictureAmy Wung Tsao

When the Moon hits your eye...

Updated: Apr 13

The Moon


“Don't tell me the sky's the limit

There's footprints on the moon”

― from “There’s a World Out There” as sung by Paul Brandt



Full moon and gray clouds at night
Credit: Ganapathy Kumar, Unsplash

Has this happened to you yet? You tell a child that the moon wakes up at night and goes to sleep in the morning. And then one day that child asks you why you can sometimes see the moon during the day too. And even though you have a PhD in engineering you don’t actually know the answer?


No joke, I learned the answer by watching some of the videos below! And I’ve got some great books and activities to recommend this month too. (Just a reminder - I am never paid to mention any of these resources; there are no affiliate links.)


 

Videos


by the StoryBots

A catchy tune that also explains the moon’s orbit, and how it reflects to Sun’s light! It’s too quick to explain those things in depth, but it’s a fun way to introduce the topic and gauge whether a kid is interested in knowing more. If Storybot videos are too flashy for your kid, there’s now a book version of this song as well.



by SciShow Kids

This is a great video for younger kids who don’t know why the moon changes shape! For older kids who already understand the phases of the moon, this SciShow kids video might be better for them: Why Can I See the Moon During the Day?



Mystery Doug (YouTube)

I did not know before watching this video that the moon had lava rocks on it! For someone who professes to love space science, it turns out I knew very little about our moon.



by NASA

NASA gives us a quick tour of which planets in our solar systems have moons too, and how they’re different from our Moon. If you prefer reading, NASA has the same information with comic-style illustrations on their website here.


 

Books


Cover illustration of a full Moon in a starry sky, with a ladder leading up to it.

By Eric Carle


I know everyone loves The Hungry Caterpillar, but this is the Eric Carle book that gets read the most in my house. It’s not a straightforward STEM book, as there are imaginative elements (Papa climbs up a ladder to retrieve the Moon and bring it back down to Earth). But the story does a lovely job illustrating the phases of the Moon for a preschool age child!




Cover image of two elementary age kids in astronaut suits and party hats jumping on the Moon, with the Earth in the background shining in the black sky.

By Joyce Lapin, illustrated by Simona Ceccarelli


I mean, the title alone is so great, isn’t it? This book imagines how long it would take to get to the Moon, what you would need to wear to deal with the Moon’s landscape and lack of air, and how birthday games like a piñata would work go.



Illustrated page spread. Left page shows a bright Moon in a dark starry sky, smiling and waving, with text “Look up, Look up! LOOK UP! It’s me, Moon! I’m Earth’s best friend.” Right page shows Earth and Moon snuggling up against each other and smiling against a blank white background, with text “Where she goes, I go. Earth and I have been together since the beginning. Almost. Let me tell you our story.”

By Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Stevie Lewis


Let Moon introduce herself, and tell you all about where she came from and what she’s like now! If you like this one, there’s a whole series, including “Sun! One in a Billion”, “Mars! Earthlings Welcome”, and many more!



Cover illustration of the Moon’s surface with some small craters, an American flag, and the descent stage of the Lunar lander. The ascent stage of the Lunar lander is just starting to rocket away from the Moon’s surface.

By Linda McReynolds, illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke


This is a relatively simple book more appropriate for preschool or kindergarten age kids, but it captures all the highlights of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, in an appealing rhyme. A great introduction to the human history of exploring the Moon!



 

Activities


Boy tossing a small white ball at a white circle on a black posterboard that’s taped on a garage door.

From Pre-K Pages


Have your kids throw a ball at a toothpaste moon to make “craters”. This is a pretty memorable way to reinforce how asteroids made craters on the real Moon, with bonus points for physical activity outside! Perfect for younger kids, but I bet older siblings will join the fun as well.



from SciShow kids


If you’ve got preschoolers working on their tracing or cutting, this activity also works on those fine motor skills. And if you’ve got a kid that likes puzzles, they might feel pretty cool making their own puzzle of the moon!



Alt: illustration of a model lunar lander, using a cardboard rectangle for the platform, folded index cards for two springs underneath the platform, a paper cup taped on top of the cardboard for the cabin, and two marshmallows nearby labeled “astronauts”.

from NASA


This one is for the older kids who like to tinker and invent! How hard was it to land astronauts safely on the Moon? Make your own lander using a paper or plastic cup, some index cards, plastic straws, rubber bands, and marshmallows to be your “astronauts.” While the instructions are written as a classroom activity, I could also see this as a fun think-outside-the-box challenge for a kid who has a long rainy afternoon ahead of them.


 

I’d be over the moon if you found any of these suggestions helpful!

Credit: Evite, Giphy


I’ll be back next month talking about the magic (actually the science) of flight! Until then, have fun lighting sparks of curiosity!



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