How to Make a Sundial for Children's Crafts

How to Make a Sundial for Children's CraftsA sundial uses the shadow of an object to determine the time of day. As the Earth rotates on its axis, the angle of the shadow will change. Measuring these changes allows the determination of solar time. Solar time deviates from local time because of daylight savings and location within a time zone. A simple sundial introduces concepts of time, Earth-sun relationships and geometry.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Paper plate
  • Straw
  • Clay
  • Compass
  • Pencil
  • Watch
Step 1
Trim the raised rim of a paper plate using scissors.
Step 2
Using the pencil, draw a reference line on the plate from edge to edge crossing the center of the plate.
Step 3
Place a small amount of clay on the center of the plate.
Step 4
Insert the straw vertically into the plate.
Step 5
Place the sundial in a sunny spot with the reference line drawn in step 2 aligned to north.
Step 6
Each hour of the day, mark the spot on the plate the shadow falls with the corresponding hour.
Step 7
The sundial is now complete and ready for use. Place the sundial in a sunny location with the reference line aligned to north. As the shadow falls across the marked numbers, a child will be able to easily determine the appropriate time. Note that the readings may need to be adjusted for daylight savings.

Article Written By David Chandler

David Chandler has been a freelance writer since 2006 whose work has appeared in various print and online publications. A former reconnaissance Marine, he is an active hiker, diver, kayaker, sailor and angler. He has traveled extensively and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida where he was educated in international studies and microbiology.

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