How to Make a Sundial with Children

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Summer is the perfect time to explore shadows and sunshine with your children. The days are bright and the kids need something productive to do. Why not pack a little learning into the summer schedule with a fun sun activity? Let’s make a sundial!

How to Make a Sundial with Children


  • Posterboard
  • Paper Plate
  • Playdough
  • Stick or Pencil
  • Marker
  • Timer or Alarm Clock


Roll the playdough into a ball.

How to Make a Sundial 1

Place the stick or pencil (we used a small dowel rod from our playdough toys) in the center of the playdough ball. Place it in the center of the paper plate.

How to Make a Sundial with Children

Go outside and place the posterboard on the ground in an area that will get full sun and won’t be easily disturbed. Place the paper plate in the center of the posterboard. Trace a circle around the paper plate just in case your sundial gets knocked over and moved. You also might want to weigh down the corners so it doesn’t blow away…not that we would know anything about that. 😉

How to make a sundial with children

It is easiest to start marking times at the top of the hour. We started at 10:00.  Mark a line and record the time on the shadow.

How to make a sundial

Set the timer or alarm clock so it will go off at the top of the hour for the rest of the day. Each time the alarm clock goes off, head outside and mark the shadow and the time. Eventually, your posterboard will start to resemble a clock.

How to Make a Sundial

Over the next few days, encourage your child to use the sundial to tell time while they play outside.

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  1. So happy to see you posting again. You have been in the thoughts and prayers of many of your followers, I am sure.

  2. This looks like an easy way to make a sundial. We made one that is similar, but used yellow craft foam in the shape of a sun. It’s fun to see the shadow line and watch how it moves 🙂

  3. That looks like a great project. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I love this! I’m trying to put together a free hands on curriculum for 4th graders right now and will be linking to your site for their math! (That is ok? right? lol)


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