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Shadow Drawing: Make a Human Sundial

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I have always been fascinated by sundials. We did a cool thing the other day to learn about time and how you can tell time with your shadow. We made ourselves into a human sundial with shadow drawing!

This is an awesome summer science activity and a great way to learn about the earth’s rotation. My kids really thought this activity was cool- and it is SO simple!

Shadow drawings: Human Sundial

Creating the Shadow Sundial:

We went outside in the morning and traced my son’s shadow. I also traced around his feet so he could stand in the same spot each time. Then trace around his entire shadow.

shadow drawing with the sun


Come out again an hour or two later and trace it again. Continue doing this throughout the day.

With each time we traced his shadow, we wrote the time on it.

shadow drawing sundial


I wish I had remembered to go out and do it more often during the day so we could really see how it moved each hour, but they got the idea. If you want, you could set a timer and see each hour, that would be a great way to do it!

Learning About Light and Shadow:

Teach the science behind this!

Do your kids understand how shadows are created? Talk about light and dark and how to cast a shadow. Where is the light source? How does the shadow sundial work? Why does the sun move? Why is it dark on one side of the world and light on the other side of the world?

Discuss the history of a sundial. People used to keep time by the sun and their shadows. This really helped my kids understand the concept. A visual is always a better way to teach something!

Shadow drawing sundial


How about some more sun related learning activities:

How to Make a Solar Still

Solar Cooked S’mores

Solar Powered LEGO Car

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