Kids don't usually wear wristwatches, but they often want to know what time it is. (Is it time for lunch? Is it time for my friend to visit? Is it time for dinner?) Help them build a sundial and teach them how to use it, and you might save some time of your own!
What you'll do:
- Select a base. It can be as simple as a heavy paper plate or a square of cardboard, or it can be something sturdier like the bottom of a plant saucer or a piece of wood.
- To the base add a "gnomon," the column on a sundial that creates a shadow indicating the time of day. It can be created with a chopstick stuck into the ground through a hole in a paper plate, or a chopstick stuck in a ball of clay that is pressed onto the middle of a plant saucer. It can also be a long nail driven into the center of a wood base.
- At high noon on a sunny day, place the homemade sundial in a sunny location and with a permanent marker write "Noon" on the base right where the shadow falls. At the top of every hour after that, return outside with the kids and make another mark for the rest of the afternoon hours. Leave the sundial in place overnight, then return outside early the next day and mark off the morning hours.
- If you need to take your sundial inside during rainy or windy weather, it can be reset on the next sunny day at the top of any hour. The markings will also change as the summer progresses and the days grow shorter.