Shadow Sketch Activity
Trace your kids' shadows and teach them some science!
- Sidewalk or driveway:This will be your dial face.
- Gnomons:Kids, Mom, Dad. Not to be confused with gnomes. You don't need a furry beard and a pointed hat for this activity. Although if the kids want to wear one, we won't stop them!
- Grab your chalk and head out for your morning tracing. This activity is great because it gets you out of the house not once, not twice, but three times in one day!
- Select a spot to be your sundial face. Using the chalk, help your kid draw a big round circle on the ground.
- Have your child stand in the middle of the dial face, more or less. We're not looking for precise measurements.
- Trace her shadow on the pavement with chalk. Ask her to stand very still while you are drawing. You may be shocked to see that she actually is capable of not moving for an entire 45 seconds!
- Head back outside at noon to trace your second shadow. Repeat steps 3 and 4. Make sure your child stands in the same spot she stood in during your morning tracing session.
- Head back outside in the late afternoon for your third and final tracing. When you head back in, it'll almost be dinner time. And you know what that means ... bedtime is not far behind (yeehaw!)
- Stretch this activity out by having your little one trace your shadow. Don't fret about how big your shadow looks on the pavement. Like a TV camera, the sun adds at least 10 pounds!
- Some nerdy shadow trivia with which to wow the kids!
- a. At midday, the sun is the highest, so your shadow will be the shortest.
- b. In the morning and late afternoon, your shadow will be taller than you are. The lower the sun, the longer your shadow.
- c. The current age of the sun is 4.49 billion years. Yes, that's even older than Grandma.
- d. The sun's equator is 2,717,952 miles around. And you thought your middle was chubby!
- e. The sun travels at a speed of 155 miles per second. Sound fast? It still takes 230 million years for it to complete a single revolution of the galaxy.
- f. Solar time—as told by a sun dial—is slightly different than standard time. It can be up to 16 minutes and 33 seconds fast or 14 minutes and 6 seconds slow. This phenomenon is known as the equation of time. Why? We don't know. Do we look like Copernicus to you?