Gazing up at the night sky and witnessing a full moon is breathtaking. There is something about the moon that captivates both kids and adults. Learn about the moon in an interactive way with these free phases of the moon printables.
Perfect for kids of all ages including preschool up to upper elementary aged kids! Learning science is fun when you pair real life observations with hands-on manipulatives.
If you are looking for a fun way to learn about the different moon phases with your kids then these printables are for you!
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Read on to learn how to use these science activities with your kids when learning about the moon. Along with book recommendations and online resources.
Activities in the Printable Pack
- Moon Observation Journal
- Phases of the Moon Worksheet
- Picture and Word Sorting Cards
Pair these resources with a larger solar system unit, or you can use them as part of a moon unit study.
Directions for how to access the free moon printable pack is at the bottom of the post. Printables are digital downloads in pdf form that can be printed off.
Names of the Moon Phases
|new moon||full moon|
|waxing crescent||waning gibbous|
|first quarter||third quarter|
|waxing gibbous||waning crescent|
Kids often think that the moon emits light, but in reality the light we see is sunlight reflecting off the moon's surface.
A moon unit study is a great way to get kids thinking about the Earth, our moon, and sun. As the Earth orbits the sun, our moon orbits the Earth.
By observing the various phases of the moon throughout the month, your kids can begin to understand the relationship between these three objects.
Learning about space can be a little overwhelming for children. Hopefully these activities make learning about the moon fun and not scary.
As parents and educators, we often forget that the concept of the Earth being out in space is hard for kids to grasp.
Even older kids in upper elementary can find learning about space overwhelming.
By incorporating journaling and observations along with worksheets, your kids can begin to make real life connections.
I find that kids find more meaning when they are able to make connections to what they are learning. Making observations is a great way to do that with your kids!
Moon Observation Journal
The first activity involves keeping a moon journal. I love this lesson plan and in fact it was inspired by one of my college science classes.
During the class, we were required to observe the moon every day for one month. We drew the shape of the moon in our log along with the time of day.
We even tracked the location of the moon in the sky each day. To keep this resource simple, I did not include that observation.
However, if doing this activity with older kids, they can record that information on a separate sheet of paper or spiral notebook.
The Importance of Journaling with Kids
First off, keeping a month long journal is a commitment! Even if you do this activity for a week or two, you kids will still find value in the exercise.
Not only will your children learn that the shape of the moon changes throughout the month, but that it is visible during the day.
Often the moon, goes unnoticed because, well we are not looking for it! But also because due to its position we may not see it in the sky.
Printable moon logs have enough spaces for your kids to record data for the entire month. Each day they write the day of the week, date, and time.
They then can draw the shape of the moon within the circle on the log. Below the image there is room to write any notes about their observation.
I know from experience, this activity brings up many great questions about the moon and space. It is helpful for your kids to have a spot to record their questions.
Pair this activity with a nature notebook and your kids can write down any questions. More detailed observations along with any notes can also be added in a notebook.
Phases of the Moon Worksheet
Your kids can use this free printable worksheet at anytime during your study of the moon. However, I recommend letting your kids make observations of the moon first.
By letting them see and observe the moon, they begin to ask questions and make inferences. Even a very young child will come up with a theory about why the moon changes shape every day.
When learning science it is more about the process of making observations and then conducting research than simply knowing a correct answer.
The book list below can be a good place for your kids to conduct research along with online resources (also linked below).
Understanding the Different Phases
The sun was left off of the worksheet to allow your kids to draw it themselves. Then they can color in each of the different circles to show the phase of the moon.
Simple worksheets let your kids use critical thinking to fill in the missing pieces.
Discussing the process out loud can help them make sense of what is happening up in the sky.
Moon Sorting Cards
Printable sorting cards are a great interactive activity to get kids learning about the lunar cycle.
Cards show eight of the different phases of the moon in picture form. Along with each image of the moon is a matching word card with the names of each phase.
There is something about moving around picture cards that kids enjoy. Fun as a sorting activity or visual learning manipulative.
Different Ways to Use Moon Cards
- Line them up in the correct order
- Match the picture version of the phase with the term
- Use the cards with a moon journal and display the current phase
- Cut and paste the cards onto a poster board to make your own phases of the moon poster
Too keep cards in good condition you can laminate the set. The at home laminator is a great option for laminating at home. I find printing them off on cardstock verses regular printer paper makes for a sturdier card if you don't want to laminate them.
Children's Books about the Moon
I love pairing hands-on activities with a few educational books. Kids love books and many benefit from reading information along with looking at the pictures.
The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons is an educational children's book written for kids of all ages. Includes information about lunar phases, eclipses, tides, and the moon's surface.
Consider looking at more advanced books even with younger kids. Even if they do not understand all of the information, they can learn from the illustrations.
Kids books are great, but sometimes more advanced books have real life images that go along with the text. Kids love looking at real life images of the moon.
The Ultimate Book of Space is a great choice if you are learning about space with your kids. A beautifully illustrated book filled with information and interactive pieces.
If you are looking for a story book, this one is an all time favorite! Written for babies, toddlers, and young learners, Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes is a beautiful story. Follow along with kitten as she tries to find the big bowl of milk in the sky. We have read this book so much, the cover worn down!
Resources and Sources
Wonderful resources for both parents and children:
Additional Moon Activities
- Make a model showing the different phases using a ball and a flashlight
- Use oreo cookies or white and black paper to make your own models of the moon
- Draw your own moon phases poster to display
More science explorations to do with kids ages pre K through elementary school:
These printables were created by Nature Inspired Learning and are for personal use only in your home, classroom, or public library. All of these free phases of the moon printables are for non-commercial use. See full disclosure. Have questions, send me an email at julie (at) natureinspiredlearning (dot) com