Dial up the sun with a homemade sundial!

August 10, 2011
top image

Sundials provide a valuable lesson to kids on time and the way the Earth's position changes throughout the day. They are easy and inexpensive to make, and can be displayed all year round on a sunny porch, patio or backyard. 

To make your own sundial you will need: 

Rocks or chalk
1 cup of playdough (optional) 
Watch or clock

Here's what you do:

  1. Find a sunny spot in a lawn or even on a sidewalk. 
  2. Put the stick in the ground. If it is a sidewalk, put the stick in the playdough and use that to hold the stick upright on cement.
  3. Throughout the day, place a rock or chalk mark for each hour indicating where the shadow falls at that time. Depending on how available you are, you may have to place rocks over a couple of days before your sundial is complete.
Now just dial up the sun! When you want to tell the time, just look for the shadow. In this photo, the stones are used to mark each hour from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Notice that it is 9:15 a.m. It may take a bit to get the minutes down, but once you do its a great way to teach, learn and grow!

Have your say

More of this week's stories