There are many reasons why you might want to have a Moon Theme Day. Perhaps your child is fascinated with all things in outer space. Maybe your kids would like to learn about a new culture and learn about the Moon Festival in China? Or possibly full moons remind you and your kids of Halloween! Your family could also focus on the moon during a Blue Moon or an eclipse. Whatever the case, any time is a fun time to focus on the moon! Enjoy this Theme Day.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
For some lunar songs, try these:
There are many different versions of the beautiful ballad “Blue Moon” so any one will do.
Another moon inspired song is Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon and Back.”
For another song try “Man on the Moon,” by REM.
When I started to explore this subject I was amazed at how many nursery rhymes featured the moon. See how many your children can come up with. Here are some we found:
1) Hey diddle diddle/ the cat and the fiddle,/ the cow jumped over the moon./ The little dog laughed to see such sport/ and the dish ran away with the Spoon
2) The man in the moon came down too soon/ and asked his way to Norwich./ He went by the south/ and burnt his mouth/ by supping cold pease porridge
An alternate ending for this rhyme is “by supping on cold plum porridge."
3) I see the moon and the moon sees me./ The moon sees the somebody I’d like to see./ God bless the moon and God bless me./ God bless the somebody I’d like to see!
4) Boys and girls, come out to play./ The moon doth shine as bright as day!/ Leave your supper and leave your sleep,/ And come with your playfellows into the street./ Come with a whistle, come with a call,/ Come with a good will, or not at all.
5) There was an Old Man of the Hague,/ whose ideas were excessively vague;/ He built a balloon to examine the moon,/ that deluded Old Man of the Hague. (By Edward Lear)
Of for a poem written by Robert Louis Stevenson check here: http://www.nurseryrhymesonline.com/1122/the-moon/
NOTE: If your child loves to draw you could encourage him/her to draw a picture of that would suit one of these rhymes.
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Moon Coloring pages” or print out my Man in the Moon Coloring Page.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
Write out one or more of the following questions in the family notebook or on a piece of paper to glue in your family scrapbook: What do you know about the moon? What would you like to learn about the moon? Or what did you learn about the moon by having this Theme Day? Would you like to go to the moon? Why or why not? What do you think it would be like to visit the moon? Would you like to be an astronaut? Why or why not?
Choose the level of your child:
¨ Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer
¨ Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
¨ Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
¨ Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response. (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)
¨ Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).
¨ As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story or a poem about the moon.
Print out a Moon or Astronaut Word Search:
Check here for the answer keys:
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books that feature the moon.
Go to the library with your child to find some books about the moon.
Go to the library on your own to find books on about the moon or space travel or astronauts from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (Search under “Children’s Books”). Reserve them if you can to save time.
Here are some of Non-fiction titles about the Arctic or Antarctica:
· Faces of the Moon, by Bob Crelin and illustrated by Leslie Evans, Charlesbridge, 2009— A picture book with cut outs in the pages to help teach the phases of the moon.
· First on the Moon, by Barbara Hehner and illustrations by Greg Ruhl, A Scholastic/ Madison Press Book, 1999 – For kids wanting more detail about the 1969 moon landing this is a great resource.
· Footprints on the Moon, by Alexandra Siy, Charlesbridge, 2001 – Good detail and great photos about the history of moon exploration.
· If You Decide to Go to the Moon, by Faith McNulty and illustrated by Steven Kellogg, Scholastic Press, 2005—This starts out as a picture book about a boy imagining he is going to the moon but it has a lot of facts about the moon so I included it under non-fiction.
· Moon, written by Jacqueline Mitton, DK Publishing, 2009 – An Eyewitness book, this is perfect for older kids as it has a lot of text and detail and lots of pictures and illustrations.
· The Moon, by Melanie Chrismer, Children’s Press, 2008 – This is a great beginner reader book as if offers large text per page.
· The Moon, by Niki Walker, Crabtree Publishing Company, 1998 – Part of the Eye on the Universe series, this book offers great information with just enough detail and was perfect to use for our Learning Activity worksheets (Below).
· The Moon, by Laura Hamilton Waxman, Lerner Publications Company, 2010 – A good book for early grade readers, this offers easy text but good detail.
· What the Moon is Like, by Franklyn M. Branley and illustrated by True Kelley, Harper Collins Publishers, 2000—Part of the Let’s Read-And-Find-Out Science series, this is an easy to read overview of basic moon facts.
Here are some picture book titles about the moon:
· Dance by the Light of the Moon, by Joanne Ryder and illustrated by Guy Francis, Yperion Books for Children, 2007—Based on the chorus of “Buffalo Gals,” this cute book isn’t really about the moon but about animals dancing by the light of the moon.
· Good Night Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown and pictures by Clement Hurd, Harper & Brothers, 1947 - I would be remiss in not including this favourite children’s picture book. I read this many a night to my boys when they were very little.
· If You Decide to Go to the Moon, by Faith McNulty and illustrated by Steven Kellogg, Scholastic Press, 2005—This starts out as a picture book about a boy imagining he is going to the moon but it has a lot of facts about the moon so it could also be considered a learning or non-fiction book.
· I Took the Moon for a Walk, by Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay, Barefoot Books, 2004 – This beautifully illustrated book follow a boy on a magical walk with the moon.
· Max and the Tag-along Moon, by Floyd Cooper, Philomel Books, 2013—A sweet book about a boy whose grandpa tells him the moon will shine on and on for him and when it seems the moon tags along on the drive home the boy feels his grandpa’s presence.
· The Moon, by Robert Louis Stevenson and pictures by Tracey Campbell Pearson, Douglas and McIntyre Ltd., 2006—Using a poem from Stevenson’s famous A Child’s Garden of Verses this book highlights the beauty of the night.
· Moon Dreams, by Ruth Martin and illustrated by Olivier Latyk, Templar Books, 2010—Luna is a little girl who wonders where the moon goes during the day. She tries to stay up late until the morning to discover the answer but always falls asleep.
· Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, by Eric Carle, Simon & Shuster Books For Young Children, 1986 – My kids and I have always been big Eric Carle fans and this book does not disappoint with it’s unique illustrations but what makes this book extra fun are the unfolding pages that make the illustrations larger than usual in this tale of a father with a long ladder hoping to give the moon to his daughter.
· Reaching for the Moon, by Buzz Aldrin and paintings by Wendell Minor, Harper Collins Publishers, 2005 – Written by one of the astronauts of Apollo 11 this is his story, about his childhood and what led him to his journey to the moon.
Here are some books about the Chinese Moon Festival:
· The Moon Festival: A Chinese Mid-Autumn Celebration, by Arlene Chan and illustrations by Nicolas Debon, Umbrella Press, 1999 – This book offers the legend of Chang O and Hou Yi.
· Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, by Grace Lin, Alfred A. Knopf, 2010 – This picture book has simple text and offers details of one Chinese family celebrating the Moon Festival.
Here is a book with moon myths from different cultures:
· Moon Tales, by Rina Singh and Debbie Lush, Bloomsbury Children’ Books, 1999 –This book has ten tales from round the world..
Note: We made the first three crafts of this Theme Day together so that the painting mess was created at the same time. This was very useful too since the silhouette craft and the Orbit Craft are very similar in steps.
MAN IN THE MOON PAPER PLATE CRAFT:
Materials: Paper plate (yellow plate or white to paint), yellow paint, paint brush, newspaper to cover work area, art smock or old clothes to wear when painting, permanent marker, goodly eyes (optional), hole punch (Optional).
Step 1: Help your child cut the paper plate into a crescent moon shape with or without a nose.
Step 2: Have your child paint the moon shape yellow and allow it to dry.
Step 3: Once the paint is dry your child can now draw on a smile and an eye or your child can glue a googly eye onto the plate.
Step 4: (Optional) You can hold punch the top and thread yarn or string to it to hang the moon from the ceiling. You could also hole punch the bottom and add a painted star hanging down for a mobile effect.
MOONLIGHT SILHOUETTE CRAFT:
Materials: White paper plate, glitter, black paint, paint brush, newspaper to cover work area, art smock or old clothes to wear when painting, brown paper, purple paper, yellow paper, child safe scissors, white glue.
Step 1: Have your child paint the paper plate black and then sprinkle glitter onto the wet paint.
Step 2: Let the paint dry when you work on the next steps.
Step 3: Use another paper plate to trace a brown circle onto the brown paper and then have your child cut it out. Fold the circle in half and cut along the fold to create two pieces.
Step 4: Draw or trace a small bowl onto yellow paper and have your child cut the circle out. This is the moon.
Step 5: Have your child draw a tree on purple paper (the size should fit inside the yellow moon) and then help your child cut out the tree.
Step 6: Glue the half circle to the bottom of the paper plate to represent the ground. Glue the moon near the ground to be the full moon. Glue the tree silhouette onto the moon!
MOVING MOON ORBIT CRAFT:
Note: An orbit is the gravitational curved path of an object around something. For more information check here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbit
Materials: White paper plate, glitter, black paint, paint brush, newspaper to cover work area, art smock or old clothes to wear when painting, construction paper, markers, glue stick, brad fastener, child safe scissors.
Step 1: Have your child paint the paper plate black and then sprinkle glitter onto the wet paint.
Step 2: Cut out a strip of paper from construction paper (we used left over paper plate from the Man in the Moon Craft) and paint that black. Also, sprinkle glitter onto the strip to adhere to the wet paint.
Step 3: Let the paint dry when you work on the next steps.
Step 4: Draw a small moon on construction paper and draw an earth. Have your child colour the moon and earth using markers.
Step 5: Cut out the moon and earth.
Step 6: Once the paint is dry glue the moon to the end of the strip and carefully poke a hold in the other end (Adult step).
Step 7: (Adult step) Carefully poke a hole in the center of the paper plate.
Step 8: Thread the brad fastener through the strip and the paper plate to create a moving hand (like a watch) and fold the brad’s ends back on the flip side of the paper plate.
Step 8: Glue or tape the earth to the center of the paper plate on top of the strip being careful to make sure the strip will still move.
Step 9: Now you can illustrate what it means to orbit the earth.
“I’M AN ASTRONAUT” CRAFT:
Materials: Black paper, star stickers (optional), white paper, grey paper, pencil, markers, old photograph of your child or a photocopy of a picture of your child, child safe scissors, glue stick, damp cloth for sticky fingers.
Step 1: Help your child cut the grey paper in a curved shaped to fit the black paper as the surface of the moon. Have your child glue it to the black paper and then decorate it with craters using a grey marker or crayon.
Step 2: Have your child draw a picture of an astronaut. My youngest son used a photo of an astronaut from a library book as his model. Then have your child colour it and cut it out.
Step 3: Have your child glue the astronaut picture to the black sheet of paper as if the astronaut were walking on the moon.
Step 4: Give your child star stickers (optional) to place on the black paper as stars or encourage your child to use a bright yellow crayon to draw stars.
Step 5: Find a photo or picture of your child’s head about the same size as the head on the astronaut drawing. Cut out your child's head and then have him/her glue it onto the astronaut to make it a picture of him/her on the moon!
Step 6: Display!
TEXTURED MOON PICTURE:
NOTE: Styrofoam is more expensive than I thought it would be at a craft store. Perhaps a dollar store would have it for cheaper or else you could simply use a piece of cardboard cut into a circle for this craft.
Materials: Cardboard square, Styrofoam circle or cardboard circle, white paint and flour, old paint brush, child safe scissors, paper bowl, glitter glue, silver stickers, art smock or old clothes for painting, newspaper or plastic to cover your work space, wax paper to lay craft on to dry.
Step 1: Have your child paint a rectangular or square piece of cardboard black.
Step 2: When the paint is still wet sprinkle silver glitter onto the cardboard so that it will dry into the paint.
Step 3: Mix white paint and flour together in a paper bowl to create a thick textured paint that is still spreadable. I tried to add some glow in the dark paint but obviously didn’t add enough as this craft didn’t glow at all when it was completed. (How cool would that have been though?!)
Step 4: Have your child press his/her fingers into the Styrofoam circle to create craters. Then have your child paint all over the Styrofoam circle leaving clumps of textured paint to give the moon a bumpy surface.
Step 5: allow the Styrofoam and the cardboard to dry before moving on to the next step.
Step 6: Once dry, use white glue to attach the Styrofoam to the painted cardboard. Also, have your child add star stickers (optional) to create more stars in the space scene.
Step 7: Allow at least a day for the glue to dry and the Styrofoam to stick to the cardboard and then display!
NOTE: Styrofoam balls were more expensive than I thought as well. Perhaps a dollar store would have it for cheaper . Regardless, I am glad I spent a bit more money on this craft as my boys LOVED it!
Materials: Styrofoam ball, white paint and flour, paper bowl, old paint brush, art smock or old clothes for painting, newspaper or plastic to cover your work space, wax paper to lay craft on to dry, toothpicks, glue stick, child safe scissors, white paper, pencil and markers.
Step 1: Mix the white paint and flour together in a paper bowl to create a thick textured paint that is still spreadable (if you are making the above craft you can use the same mixture). I added glow in the dark paint but I didn’t have much and as a result nothing happened. Let me know if you try this craft using more glow in the dark paint mixed in if it works!
Step 2: Have your child press craters into the Styrofoam and then paint all over the ball using the textured paint. It may require a second coating on the bottom as I found it didn’t dry as fast as the top and stuck to the waxed paper.
Step 3: While the ball dries have your child draw a little rocket and flag and an astronaut, if desired. Have your child colour with markers.
Step 4: (Adult step) This was a little tricky. I folded the paper the drawings were on over and cut out the drawings carefully leaving some uncut by the fold so as to create a sandwich effect. We were then able to add glue stick glue and press a toothpick between the folded paper drawing to create little decorations.
Step 5: When the Styrofoam has completely dried your child can gently press the toothpick creations into the moon’s surface!
NOTE: I had originally wanted to hang these moons. I used a wooden chop stick to press a hole through each ball and was going to thread string through the hole but I couldn’t thread the string at all. Perhaps if you are can sew or knit you may have some other means to thread the string through. If you do we’d love to hear about it and see a picture of the end result.
Round foods: Your children could nibble on grapes, melons scooped into small balls, oranges, or hard boiled eggs for some round moon inspired foods.
Cinnamon Crescent Moons: If you use a tin of refrigerated crescent rolls these are an easy and delicious snack to make. Just roll up the triangles into little crescents and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar before baking. To make them fancier I melted some chocolate chips and then squeezed them from a snipped corner of a re-sealable bag to drizzle chocolate on top.
Moon Shaped Open Faced Sandwiches:
Ingredients: Bread, white cheddar slices, cookie cutter of a crescent moon, star cookie cutter, olive slices.
Step 1: Use the cookie cutters to make cut outs in the cheese of moons and stars. Then use the cutter to create moon shaped bread.
Step 2: Layer the food and then add a slice of olive for the eyes.
Step 3: Enjoy!
Moon Shaped Cookies: Make your favourite sugar cookies and then use a moon shaped cookie cutter to create some crescent cookies. We used yellow food colouring in our icing to decorate them a bright yellow and used a tube of black icing for the smile. I had some candy eyes left over from Halloween so we used those but other small candies would work as well.
Chinese Moon Cakes:
NOTE: Moon cakes are traditionally eaten in China during the Mid-Autumn or Moon Festival. They do no look like the ones I have baked! Check here for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mooncake
I used this recipe for Chinese Moon Cakes: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Adzuki-Mooncake/ but had to adjust some ingredients. I used corn syrup instead of golden syrup (I don’t know what that is) and used apricot jam in place of the adzuki beans (which certainly freed up time as I didn't need to cook beans). The end result was delicious but certainly not traditional!
PHASES OF THE MOON:
Print out my Phases of the Moon Worksheet and as a family draw the phases in the circles based on your research (from library books or from the internet).
Phases of the Moon Oreo Snack: I have seen this idea a lot on Pinterest. Here is one link that showcases this idea: http://howtohomeschoolmychild.com/oreo-phases-of-the-moon/ We used one of our books from the library to base our pictures and Oreos around and I have noticed some books show the phases in mirror image of ours.
Print out my Moon Facts Worksheet and as you read about the moon write down any interesting facts.
WATCHING THE MOON:
Print out a copy of my Watching the Moon Chart and study the moon every night. Encourage your child to draw a picture of what the moon looks like each time he/she investigates. Unfortunately when we did this Theme Day we had nothing but cloudy skies so we never completed our chart.
Older kids may enjoying exploring the moon further by researching eclipses. Print out my Lunar and Solar Eclipse Worksheet and as you research this phenomena encourage your child to draw pictures to illustrate. My Eldest enjoyed this so much he wanted to create a craft. When we were making the Textured Moon craft he painted another piece of cardboard for his project. I think it turned out great!
To learn more about a lunar eclipse check out this video: http://www.neok12.com/php/watch.php?v=zX027e52507b754877644063&t=Eclipse and for more information look here: http://library.thinkquest.org/3645/eclipses.html
For an eclipse science project check here: http://www.ehow.com/how_12083261_demonstrate-lunar-eclipse-kid-project.html
For more lunar facts and fun check out this NASA page for kids: http://www.lunarscience.nasa.gov/kids/
FULL MOON NAMES:
In my research for this Theme Day I discovered that the full moon for each month has a special name. Print out a copy of my Full Moon Matching Worksheet and have some fun guessing which name goes with which month.
Q: Why couldn’t the Martian book a room on the moon?
A: Because it was full.
Q: What do you call a crazy moon?
A: A Luna-Tick
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand) to find your child’s favourite shows about the moon.
Try to find this non-fiction title at your local library:
· All About the Moon, Shlessinger Media – Part of the Pace Science for Children Series
Moon Gazing: Stay up late and look at the moon together. Can you tell what phase it is in? If you have a telescope this would be a great time to take it out and take a peek at the moon up close.
For something really different go on a moonlit picnic . Pack up your favourite sandwiches and other picnic delights but eat them under the light of the moon.
Science Museums: Many museums have displays about the moon. Take a family field trip to learn more about the moon.
Observatory: Some science museums also include observatories where you can look in telescopes and view the moon.
Photo: C Wright
A Blue Moon