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Paper Plate Sundial

15 Minutes: 2 and up: Summer
Paper Plate Sundial

Paper Plate Sundial

Paper Plate Sundial
An Activity for Preschoolers:

A STEAM activity just right for sunny days!

Before You Begin:

To create this simple sundial, you'll need paper plates, washi tape or masking tape, a marker and a pencil. For more decorated sundials, you may wish to use paint or collage materials as well.

Activity Goals:

To explore numbers while learning about how the sun helps us tell time.


This is a fun STEAM activity for children, perfect for supplementing lessons on time, nature, numbers and more.

Let's Get Started


On the underside of a paper plate, mark spots for the 4 main numbers of a clock (i.e., 3, 6, 9 and 12).


Use masking tape to mark these numbers at the edge of the plate so that it will be easy to see when the shade hits it. Label the spots with numerals.


In the sub-number positions, place a contrasting color tape and label the numerals along the edge, where the lip of the plate begins.


When the plate is all marked up, poke a hole in the center of the plate with a pencil.


At noon on a sunny day, take the plate outside and place the pencil in the center.


The sun will shine on the pencil leaving a shadow on the 12. Leave the sundial out to see the shadow move throughout the day.

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