Learning about moon phases is a fun science activity for kids. Kids love learning about the moon, and the moon’s names, particularly “gibbous” will give your kids a giggle while they are learning about the moon. Try this fun glow in the dark moon phases mobile to go along with your phases of the moon study!
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Glow in the Dark Moon Phases Mobile
What I love most about this moon phases craft is that you can’t really see the phases of the moon until you shine the black light on the salt dough pieces. This will help kids realize why the moon has phases- all due to where the earth is in reference to the sun!
What you’ll need:
- Grey paint
- Glow in the dark paint or make your own glow in the dark paint (directions below)
- Wire hanger
- Wire cutters
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
DIY Glow in the Dark Paint
- Highlighter (if you’re making your own paint)
- School glue (if you’re making your own paint)
- Black light (if you use the highlighter paint)
Making Your Glow in the Dark Moon Phases
First step is to make your moon dough (i.e. salt dough), cut and bake your moons.
- We made our mobile from salt dough. Mix 1/2 a cup of salt, 1 cup of white flour, and 1/2 a cup of water in a bowl. Knead the mixture together until it forms a soft dough.
- Divide the dough into eight balls. Flatten the balls into 1/4 inch thick circles. Use a straw to poke a hole near the top of each circle.
- Bake in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours. Let cool.
- When the moons cool, paint them on both sides with grey paint.
- If you are making your own glow-in-the-dark paint, cut open the inside of a highlighter. Rinse out the inside into 1/4 of a cup of water until the sponge turns white. Add 1/2 a bottle of school glue to the highlighter liquid and stir. (FYI: If you use glow-in-the-dark paint purchased from a store, it should shine on its own at night. If you use our highlighter paint, it will only shine under black light.)
- Paint each of the circles according to one phase of the moon. We painted both sides of each moon so that no matter what way they were facing, you could see the current moon phase. The phases we used were:
- New Moon
- Waxing Crescent
- First Quarter
- Waxing Gibbous
- Full Moon
- Waning Gibbous
- Last Quarter
- Waning Crescent
Build Your Moon Phases Mobile
Now it’s time to put it all together.
- While the paint dries, cut a wire hanger into one long piece and twist into a circle shape. Use string to hold the two ends of the circle together. Add an + crosspiece to the center of the circle to strengthen it. We found that if we used hot glue to hold the joints temporarily, they were easier to tie together.
- Tie the moon pieces to the mobile following the real progression of the moon’s phases. It’s helpful to look at a moon diagram for this stage.
- Tie a loop to the top of the mobile so you can hang it from a window. Shine a black light on the mobile and watch the moon phases come to life!
Completing the Moon Phases Science Activity
Learning about the moon phases is a classic science lesson for kids. You can use this activity to round out a theme on the moon and moon phases. Use our FREE 2017 Moon Phases Calendar and Diagram to track the moon in real-time. Your kids may be surprised to learn that there are a lot more phases than the eight seen in this activity. Plus it makes great wall art :)
Moon Inspired Pretend Play
While you’re talking moon stuff, why not do a little astronaut pretend play? We sent Barbie to space and it was awesome.