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Engaging Moon Phases Box Activity for Kids: Science, STEM Fun! ๐ŸŒ•๐ŸŒ—๐ŸŒ˜๐ŸŒ’

This moon box is an easy and fun way to teach kids the different phases of the moon. The little observers will understand why the moon changes shapes so often. It's also a fun way to encourage creativity and experimentation as kids explore different art techniques and materials. We made this project interactive by taking the box outside every night for a month and comparing each phase with the real moon and it was so much fun! ๐ŸŒ•๐ŸŒ“๐ŸŒ—๐ŸŒ–๐ŸŒ”๐ŸŒ˜๐ŸŒ’๐ŸŒ‘


  • Easy


  • Black box (a painted shoe box would work)

  • A small sphere that represents the moon. It could me made out of play-dough or a foam ball.

  • Small flashlight ๐Ÿ”ฆ

  • Cardboard Knife (Adult help needed)


  1. Use the cardboard knife to cut three squares on each long side of the box and 1 square on each shorter side. You will end up with 8 squares one for each phase. (Use photos below or video for reference) (Adult needed for this step)

  2. Position the moon (ball/foam/play-dough) in the middle of the box.

  3. Turn on the flashlight in one of the square holes. (This will act as a full moon)

  4. Observe the different phases on each square/window.

  5. Have fun!


  • The moon goes through different phases, which means that it looks different depending on the time of the month. Sometimes it looks like a full circle in the sky, while other times it looks like a crescent shape or just a sliver. These different shapes that the moon appears in are called moon phases.

  • So, why does the moon change its shape? It's because of the way the moon orbits, or travels around, the Earth. The moon doesn't produce its own light - it reflects the light of the sun. As the moon moves around the Earth, different parts of it are lit up by the sun, while other parts are in shadow.

  • When the moon is between the Earth and the sun, we can't see it at all because the side that's facing us is in shadow. This is called a new moon. As the moon moves around the Earth, we start to see more and more of it lit up by the sun. This is called a waxing moon, and it leads up to the full moon, when the whole face of the moon is lit up by the sun.

  • After the full moon, the moon starts to wane, or get smaller again, until it becomes a new moon once more. During the waning phase, we can see less and less of the moon lit up by the sun, until it disappears from view again during the new moon.

The Learning Experience

This hands-on STEM activity offers numerous educational benefits. It allows young learners to:

  • Visualize the moon's phases and how they are created.

  • Understand the relationship between the sun, Earth, and the moon in causing these changes.

  • Practice scientific observation and record-keeping.

  • Engage in creative and artistic expression through sketching.


Learning about the phases of the moon can be a captivating experience for learners of all ages. This hands-on activity not only makes the concept come to life but also sparks a deeper interest in astronomy and science. So, on the next clear night, take a moment to gaze at the moon, and remember the fascinating dance happening in the night sky. Happy moon-watching! ๐ŸŒ™๐ŸŒ’๐ŸŒ•๐ŸŒ˜


  • Adult supervision required for any of these activities. Please supervise and make sure children participating are safe. Read instructions and the safety labels from each material.


  • This blog post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. I may receive a commission for purchase made through links in this post.


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