Sun Activities for Kids

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Use these engaging activities to help kids learn more about the Sun. Get directions and lists of materials to help you conduct these activities. You can also find some helpful educational resources.

What's In the Sun's Light?

Help your students or children understand what colors are contained in the Sun's light with this activity.

What you'll need:

A prism

A flashlight or sunlight

What to do:

Have your students hold a prism up to the sunlight or shine a flashlight through it to see how white light refracts off the surface of the prism. Point out the similarities of how the colors display. You can use these short video lessons to explain what a prism is, the sources and spectrum of white light and how colors are made.

Discussion topics:

Have students identify as many colors as they can.

Ask students if they can think of any other objects that could be used as a prism.

Discuss what students think would happen if you shined colored light through the prism.

Making an Eclipse

Kids can complete this activity for a hands-on way to understand what causes eclipses.

You'll need:

  • Small, medium and large balls

What to do:

You students can work on this activity in groups or individually, depending on class size. Begin by explaining what a solar eclipse is and then distribute balls of different sizes. Have your students hold a small and medium ball and attempt to use the small ball to eclipse the medium sized one.

After they've finished that portion of the activity, hand out the larger balls. It's time to see if they can use the small ball to block out this larger object, just as the moon blocks out the gigantic Sun! Kids can keep learning about this subject with this lesson on solar eclipses.

Discussion Topics:

Talk about the relative size of the Earth, moon and Sun, as well as the distance between them, to help students understand the size of these celestial bodies.

Have students talk about how they got their 'moon' to eclipse their 'sun'.

Consider different strategies and how it applies to the actual Sun and moon.

Moving the Sun

This activity can help kids build their understanding of the movement of the Sun.

Gather these supplies:

  • Sundials
  • Flashlights
  • A Styrofoam ball
  • A toothpick
  • A pencil

What to do:

Before you begin this activity you should darken the room. Have the kids set up their sundials all facing the same direction and then select a student or child to move their flashlight around like the sun, changing the shadows cast by the sundial.

You can also have the kids build a model to show why the sun appears to move. Using the supplies, your students should place the toothpick in the ball to make a shadow and then stick the pencil in to use as a handle. Have them move the ball and the flashlight to try to determine what causes the shadows to change. See if any students turn their models to mimic the rotation of the Earth.

Discussion topics:

Discuss whether the sun seems to move across the sky or not.

Talk about whether or not the sun actually moves.

Consider alternate explanations for the changes in light and shadow caused by the Sun.

Talk about the Sun's place in the galaxy and how it affects the Earth using this lesson on the the Sun's angle and movement as a guide.

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