Activities that teach kids the phases of the moon helps provide them with a stronger understanding of the concept. The models and activities allow you to demonstrate how each phase of the moon is created based on the location of the moon in relation to the sun and the earth. Refresh your own understanding of the process to ensure a solid understanding before introducing the topic to the kids.
Create a mobile that depicts the phases of the moon in order. A wooden dowel works well as the base of the mobile. Use card stock or poster board to cut out the moon's shape for each phase. Let the kids sponge paint the cutouts to resemble the surface of the moon. Use pieces of string to tie the moon phase replicas to the dowel in the correct order. Make a label for each of the moons for future reference. For further practice, have the kids make a smaller mobile using a wire hanger as the base.
Have the kids keep a moon journal. Create a page template for the journal with a square and space for writing. Each night, the kids view the moon. They draw a picture of the moon's shape in the box and write a brief description below the drawing. The following day, compare the pictures drawn by the students, which should all look fairly similar. Keep a chart in the classroom that depicts the changes in the moon. Compare the changes in the moon's appearance using the classroom chart. Use the moon phase mobile or other reference materials to identify the phases the students see each night.
Use a large Styrofoam ball, play ball or balloon for this moon model. Paint half of the selected model with black paint. Have the kids sit in a circle and place the ball in the middle, securing it so it doesn't move. Provide each child with a sheet of black construction paper and a piece of chalk. The students draw the moon as they see on the paper. Because the kids are sitting in different positions, the resulting pictures will look slightly different, resembling the phases of the moon. Stack the pictures in order. Staple them together to create a flip book that depicts the changing of the moon's phases.