Moon Craters

Toddler playing with a construction hat while outside in front of a tent

Children learn about the moon through this interactive activity that promotes movement and large muscle development. Pick a place that can withstand a little mess, and have fun playing with cause and effect as you create your own “moon” craters.

Materials Needed:

  • Large black poster board
  • Tape (masking or painters tape will do)
  • White toothpaste (shaving cream can also work)
  • Ping pong ball or other small, lightweight ball
  • Butter knife


This activity requires some adult set up, but children can play independently.


  1. Make a large circle on the poster board with toothpaste. Fill it in with more toothpaste and spread it out as smoothly as possible with a butter knife.
  2. Secure the poster board with tape to a flat vertical surface. This activity can become messy…a garage door or fence is a great surface to use.
  3. Explain to your child that an asteroid is a space rock. When they come near earth our atmosphere protects us and they burn up, but the moon does not have an atmosphere like earth so they are not protected from space rocks or asteroids. Ask your child if they’d like to find out what will happen to the moon when asteroids hit. Hand your child a ball and instruct them to try and hit the “moon.”
  4. After they strike the “moon” examine the damage. Explain that craters on the moon are formed the very same way. Encourage children to see what happens when they strike the “moon” from a further distance or up very close. Children will adjust how much force they need to exert to get the ball to travel various distances.

Extension: Make a larger “moon,” use a larger ball—kicking the “asteroids” instead of throwing them.

Toddler playing with a construction hat while outside in front of a tent
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