Night activities for kids: a new moon, and a firefly jar craft

Night activities for kids. Last year you may recall I pulled together a bunch of materials and resources to help parents and educators encourage kids to spend time, play, and learn outside (see links below). As I have recently been exploring Space (metaphorically) with Oliver and Owen, I decided it would be fun if we looked into doing some night time nature activities.

Right now is a great time to do this (at least here in the northern hemisphere). It's still warm after dark, kids don't have to go to school in the morning so staying up later isn't a big deal, and summer tends to be an active time for many nocturnal creatures. Here's my video on what we're doing over the next month:


Resources mentioned in the video are:

SBKM Learn through play Facebook group

Learn through play Facebook group

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Moon journal project

Books used to collate ideas for night time nature activities include:

Supplies needed for sitting outside and attracting nocturnal creatures:

  • chairs for sitting outside if you want to be comfy
  • Old sheet and flashlight

 SBKM resources:

    • Luna moon toy and printable stories
  • Video link for Moon landing and other learn through play activities
  • Video link on How to Make Moon Dough - no cook playdough without cream of tartar

Phases of the moon: the new moon

Books used to learn about the moon, the lunar cycle and the new moon in particular:

Firefly jar craft

  1. Jar. A mason jar is perfect for this project but if you want to use an alternative that isn't made of glass, a peanut butter or similar jar would work well.
  2. Rubbing alcohol and cotton balls. I use this to clean off any sticky label residue or other dirt off my jars. I then wash the jar with warm soapy water and let it dry. A q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol is also handy for cleaning up little painting or drawing errors.
  3. Glow in the dark craft paint. I got mine from Michael's. You will likely need to apply more than one coat (I applied 4).
  4. Small paintbrush with long thin bristles
  5. Sharpie or other fine tip permanent black marker

Accessibility ideas: For younger children or kids with fine motor challenges, try finger painting. You could do this either on paper or if you still want to create a jar, a piece of acetate. Have the child use their finger to paint dots on the paper or acetate. You can then draw the body of the firefly on top. If using acetate, roll up and pop into a clear jar for the firefly jar effect.

SBKM natural science resources

On YouTube:

Video link for How to Make a Nature Journal

YouTube playlist for videos on Natural Science - accessible play based learning

Digital downloads:

All natural science themed digital downloads, including FREE Nature journaling for kids guide: includes links to websites, books, videos and articles as well as recommendations for books to read with children of all ages to encourage them to spend time and play outside as well as observe, learn from and feel more connected to nature (especially in urban environments).

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