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Four of the best family autumn activities - whatever the weather

Autumn's erratic outlook allows your child’s creativity to run wild

Posted: 24 September 2013
by Fiona McKim

 3 of 5 

Hours of sunshine

Making a sundial is a fun
and easy way to explore how the sun’s daily course relates to the way people keep, measure and record time.

You will need
■ A sunny day
■ Paper plate
■ Long nail with a flat head
■ Sticky tape
■ Marker pen

1 Gently push the nail through the centre of the top side of the paper plate.

2 Tape the head of the nail to the paper plate to secure it in place. Turn the plate overso the nail stands up straight. (A pencil or straw could be substituted for the nail, but it might not be as sturdy.)

3 Take the plate outside and place it in a spot that gets sunlight throughout the day.Choosing a picnic or patio table will keep your sundial safely off the ground and allow you to tape or pin it in place. If you have compass, you may wish to find and mark north on your sundial, so that if you need to move the sundial, you’ll be able to orient it properly the next time.

4 Beginning in the morning, check your sundial at the top of each hour. Find the end of the nail’s shadow on the plate. Make a line with marker pen to indicate the position of the nail’s shadow and label it with the hour of the day (9am, 10am, 11am, noon and so on).

5 At the end of the day, it is time to consider your findings. When was the nail’s shadow shortest and when was it longest? Where was the space between the hour marks biggest? Where was it smallest? How is a sundial similar to a clock? In what ways is it different?

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Five of the best outdoor family activities for autumn
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The best autumn family activities, by author Amanda Soule


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