Learn how to make your own moon craters for a fun sensory play experiment! Whether you’re studying space or just looking for an engaging outdoor activity, making moon craters is perfect (and for all ages!) This activity combines: sensory play, math, science, and more for an invitation to learn and explore. The quick video below gives an overview with full materials and instructions below!
Due to the inherit messiness, this activity is best to setup outside. If you’re in a warm climate, you might choose to use flour or sand for your ‘lunar surface’. In cold weather, snow would be a fun alternative! Keep a few hand towels and a garden hose nearby, and you’re good to go!
Below is the list of materials you will need to complete the experiment, although you could make substitutions or additions as you see fit.
+ baking tray
+ substrate (baking flour, sand, snow, etc)
+ assorted balls (try using various sizes and weights of balls)
+ fabric measuring tape
+ stopwatch (optional)
+ chair (optional)
Let The Fun Begin
- Bring all of your materials outside. You will start by measuring the circumference of each ball with the fabric measuring tape. You may want to ask your children to sort the balls from smallest to largest, or estimate the size of each ball before you measure. Record your measurements on the left hand column of your Moon Craters Log.
- Pour/scoop the substrate onto your baking tray. You want a generous amount, as heavier balls will depress the substrate down, and you want the best possible ball imprint or ‘crater’.
- Drop your first ball! You might want to ask your child to estimate what size ‘crater’ the ball will create. Also, standing on a chair gives children an extra height boost which produces better craters. If using a stopwatch, you could time the drop of each ball to compare the height/speed/size ratio after the lesson.
- Using your ruler, measure the diameter of the crater formed. Record your measurements on the right hand column of your Moon Craters Log.
- Repeat steps 3-4 for the remaining balls.
Compare your results and discuss. Did the largest ball make the largest crater? Does the weight of the ball affect the size of the crater? Read a bit about the moon and discuss how lunar craters are formed.
I hope you have fun with this activity! Don’t forget to download your Moon Craters Log for FREE! Let me know if you try it or if you have any questions in the comments below. Happy playing and learning!