Mar 21

10 Wonderful Ways to Celebrate the Full Moon with Kids

by Meghan Fitzgerald

Whenever the moon is full, it’s a monthly invitation to slow down, look up and really connect the wonder of that glowing rock in space with the changes we see in the world around us.  Kids love to see the moon at its fullest (especially if it means staying up a little later than usual), and the moon packs a lot of lessons about our world.

If you follow along with our free monthly outdoor activity calendars, you know that celebrating the moon is something we do every month. According to space.com, the sixth full moon of 2024 peaks at 9:08pm ET on Friday, June 21st and the best time for viewing is just as it rises over the horizon—it will appear full on both Thursday and Friday evening! This month's moon is special and falls just after the Summer Solstice, the official start of summer!

Read on for more about how to enjoy this special May full moon.

1: The Solstice Full Strawberry Moon

The most commonly used names for each monthly moon in North America were learned from the people Indigenous to the land. Many tribes tracked time and days by the cycle of the moon, and the names for each full moon were based on observations, and a reverence, for the changes seen in the shifting seasons. 

The name "Strawberry Moon" emerged because strawberries are being harvested in much of North America under this moon, and this name has been used by Algonquin, Ojibwe, Dakota, and Lakota peoples, among others, to celebrate the arrival of strawberry season each year! Our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, however, are approaching the winter solstice. The traditional Māori name for the upcoming lunar month is Hongonui, which describes the time when "Man is now extremely cold and kindles fires."

There are so many names and celebrations for each full moon, and we like this list for the range of cultures it includes.

10 Ways to Celebrate the Full Moon and The Late Spring Around Us

Take advantage of all the learning opportunities the moon has to offer with these 10 great ways to celebrate the moon with kids:

1: See the Full Moon Rise

The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the dates and time for the full Strawberry Moon as Friday, June 21st. The best time to view will be when it appears full just after sunset on Friday evening.

2: Catch the Moon During the Day

If the moonrise proves hard to catch, make it a habit to wait a few days and try to catch a glimpse of the still-big moon in daylight. For little kids, this may be the best way to see the moon! This link helps determine moonrise in your ZIP code.

3: Explore the Connection to Nature

The full moon invites us to slow down and reflect on the changes we see in our world. Celebrate the full Strawberry Moon and explore this moment together with these simple ideas:

  • Go for a Welcome Walk: Talk about how the Strawberry Moon was named, and notice all of the things happening around your home this time of year. Look for signs of summer blooming and ripening in your yard, local farm, neighborhood or park. 

  • Read Stories about Strawberries: We love this read-aloud of "The First Strawberries" by Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by Anna Vojtech. This book is based on a Cherokee story about this special fruit and how it came to be.

  • Connect in the kitchen: Cooking is an activity kids love, and it can be a super way to help young ones connect to the food they eat and help them learn more about where our food comes from. Choose a strawberry or summer-inspired recipe to make together — check out our favorite tips for involving kids in the kitchen here. 

  • Continue Observing the Strawberry Moon: Check out our June Calendar for more ways to fill the rest of June with outdoor play as the Strawberry Moon begins to wane and appear smaller each day for the rest of the month. Marvel with kids as it grows smaller and look forward with excitement to the new Buck Moon cycle that begins on July 5th—this year, the full Buck Moon will rise on July 21st, 2024!

4: Get Inspired

During the 2020 Worm Moon, I had the pleasure of talking with Nicolette Sowder, creator of Wilder Child and the Kids’ Moon Club and marvelous human, as part of our weekly Tinker Talk series. Enjoy Nicolette’s moon-loving wisdom in this video!

5: Let Something Go

While a new moon is a great time to start fresh or kick off something new, the full moon can serve as a reminder to let go of something that is burdening you or to take an idea or practice you've wanted to start and give it a go. We're one month into spring—a great time to begin planting and tending to new seeds. Gardeners and farmers have been following the moon cycle for thousands of years, knowing that the moon's pull helps water in the soil better reach new seeds and seedlings during a full moon—amazing!

6: Take Notice of the Cycle

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Make a habit to check in on the moon throughout the next month. Notice how it changes, when it’s in the sky during the daylight and what shape it takes at night. Our free monthly activity calendars include an image of which phase the moon is in each day to help you keep track. You can also think of it as simply welcoming the moon into your life in a more meaningful way. Nicolette advises, "When you are first greeting the cycle and getting comfortable with it, just do the welcoming and the emotive piece and root yourself inside of the cycle—don't feel like you need to rush into any activities.” We've started with simply making time for the moon and trying to notice it.

7: Discover How the Moon Organizes Life 

It never really crossed my mind that the word month comes from words for “moon.” The very way we mark time and organize our lives comes from the moon and its cycles. In a way, we’re all already moving with the moon! 

Many of us know that the moon’s gravitational pull is what drives the ocean tides, but it’s still pretty mind-blowing. 

8: Learn Some Cool Moon Facts! 

  • There is a new full moon every 27 days or so, and it happens when the Earth is positioned almost right between the sun and the moon. That’s why the moon is fully illuminated (Earth rarely gets exactly between the two. When it does, it’s a lunar eclipse). Because the moon is aligned with the sun, a full moon rises right around sunset, shines all night long, and then "sets" when the sun rises again the next morning. 
  • Did you know the moon is a quarter the size of the earth? And that on its surface are seas filled with hardened lava? 
  • The moon doesn’t produce its own light; what we see is the sun reflected off of it. 
  • The moon is not actually a perfect sphere. Instead, it's shaped like an egg. When we look up at the moon from Earth, one of the small ends is pointing right at us, so it appears round to us.
  • At roughly one-fourth the diameter of Earth, some scientists think the moon is more like a planet. They refer to the Earth-moon together as a "double planet."
  • For more facts, visit National Geographic Kids or, for some real-time data and cool images, check out Nasa’s moon landing page.  

9: Take the Moon for a Walk

It’s a Tinkergarten DIY activity, a beloved book and a super fun way to help kids notice how the moon follows us wherever we go! Try our activity; it’s both thrilling and calming under any moon, at any age.   

10: Read Books about the Moon

Our team has compiled a list of our 13 favorite moon books. Read some of these to spark curiosity and tune even more into the magic of the moon!

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Meghan Fitzgerald

Founder

After 20+ years as an educator, curriculum developer and school leader, I have my dream gig—an entrepreneur/educator/mom who helps families everywhere, including my own, learn outside. Prior to Tinkergarten®, I worked as an Elementary School Principal, a Math/Science Specialist & and a teacher in public and private schools in NY, MA and CA. I earned a BA with majors in English and Developmental Psychology at Amherst College, an MS in Educational Leadership at Bank Street College, and was trained to become a Forest School leader at Bridgwater College, UK. My worldview is formed in response to my environment, culture, family, identity and experiences. What I write in this blog will inevitably betray the blind spots I have as a result—we all have them! Please reach out if there are other perspectives or world views I could consider in anything I write about. I welcome the chance to learn and update any pieces to broaden our shared perspective!

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