Kids want to explore places like space, and especially the moon! The astronauts of Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. I bet they encountered a few moon craters, also known as lunar craters or impact craters. There is even a moon crater named Apollo.  To celebrate the moon landing anniversary, why not try this moon crater activity with our easy moon dough recipe.  Combine with a children’s book about the moon and you add literacy into the learning too! Moon activities are the perfect way to explore space.

MAKING MOON CRATERS WITH DIY MOON DOUGH!

Make moon craters with this hands-on pace theme cloud dough activity.

LEARN ABOUT MOON CRATERS

Get ready to add this simple making moon craters activity to your space  theme lesson plans this season. If you want to explore how moon craters are formed, let’s get started making this sensory moon dough mixture!  While you’re at it, make sure to check out these other fun space activities.

Our science activities and experiments are designed with you, the parent or teacher, in mind!  Easy to set up, quick to do, most activities will take only 15 to 30 minutes to complete and are heaps of fun! Plus, our supplies lists usually contain only free or cheap materials you can source from home!

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MAKING MOON CRATERS

Let’s get right to learning how moon craters are made for the upcoming lunar landing anniversary!  Head to the kitchen, open the pantry and grab these simple supplies to whip up your moon dough mixture.

This moon craters activity ask the question: What are craters and how do they form on the moon? Read below to learn more.

Check the bottom of this page for more moon theme activities.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 4 cups of baking flour
  • 1/2 cup of cooking oil
  • Small rocks, marbles, or other weighted objects (for making craters)
  • Astronaut figure (for sensory play after the crater making activity)
  • Round baking pan (any shape will do but a circular one gives it a moon shape look.

HOW TO MAKE MOON DOUGH:

STEP 1:  Add 4 cups or so of any baking flour to a bowl. This can be made gluten-free if necessary with gluten-free flour mixture.

STEP 2: Add a 1/2 cup of cooking oil to the flour and mix! Essentially you are making cloud dough.

TIP: The mixture should be moldable or packable.

STEP 3: Add the mixture to your circular “moon” shaped pan! Get your objects ready for making moon craters. You can lightly smooth out the surface of the mixture too, so your craters are more visible.

STEP 4: Making craters is simple and fun. Read more about craters below. To explore moon craters, have your kids drop a variety of weighted objects onto the surface as seen below).

Slowly and carefully remove the object and examine the crater.

Think about it: Does dropping different weighted objects from different heights make a difference in the shape or depth of the crater?

STEP 5: Make sure to enjoy the tactile sensory play aspect of the activity too. Cloud dough or moon dough is perfect for hands-on play!

MOON DOUGH TIPS FOR HOME OR IN THE CLASSROOM

This is a super easy mixture to whip up and can be considered taste-safe since the only two ingredients are flour and oil. You can choose to use baby oil to make your moon dough but it will not be a taste-safe dough anymore!

Store your moon dough in a covered container. If the mixture feels dry and is no longer moldable, mix in a touch more oil until you achieve the desired consistency.

Check your moon dough for freshness before re-using. This mixture will not last forever!

As always, sensory play can get a bit messy especially if you are dropping rocks into it! You can easily put down a dollar store shower curtain under the pan or take the activity outside. A kid-friendly broom and dustpan allow kids to feel successful with cleaning up small spills.

WHAT ARE MOON CRATERS AND HOW ARE THEY FORMED?

Is the moon made of cheese, swiss cheese to be exact because of all of the holes? Those holes aren’t cheese, they are in fact moon craters!

The South Pole-Aitken Basin is the largest, most well-known crater on the moon along with others called Tycho, Maria, and even Apollo!

Craters are formed on the lunar surface so they are called lunar craters or impact craters. The craters are made from asteroids or meteorites that collide with the lunar surface just like the rocks or marbles in the moon sand you made!

There are thousands of craters on the moon surface and you can learn more about them here. The moon does not have the same atmosphere as we do here on earth, so it is not protected from asteroids or meteorites hitting the surface.

Some characteristics of a crater include loose material that is scattered around the outside of the depression, a rim around the perimeter, a mostly flat crater floor, and sloped crater walls.

We do still have craters here on earth but water and plant life cover them better. The moon does not have much going on in terms of erosion such as rain or wind or even volcanic activity to change the appearance or camouflage the craters.

Just like the craters you might have made in your moon dough, not all will have the same depth or diameter. Some of the largest craters in circumference are considered pretty shallow at 15,000 feet deep whereas some newer craters are over 12 miles deep but smaller in the distance around!

MORE FUN MOON ACTIVITIES

EASY MOON DOUGH RECIPE FOR MAKING MOON CRATERS!

Discover more fun and easy science & STEM activities right here. Click on the link or on the image below.

Best ever STEM and science activities for kids.