Nature Craft For Toddlers/Preschooler: Sundial



Jul 24, 2022

Arts and Crafts are a big hit with my preschooler and toddler. I especially love when we can incorporate nature into the projects. One of our favorites is to create a nature sundial using rocks or large leaves. 

Completed sundial using rocks

The great thing about making a nature sundial is first you get to go on a hike with your toddler or preschooler. This hike can be in the woods or maybe just in your backyard, whichever works for you. On this hike task your child to find 12 rocks or 12 large leaves and a large stick.

nature craft finding rocks
Stream beds are great spots to find rocks

Once you have collected these items in nature you will be able to make your very own sundial with your toddler/preschool or kindergartener. 

Create your sundial in your yard and for the rest of the day you will be able to tell time. This craft helps kids learn their numbers, how to tell time and utilizes fine motor skills.

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Items You Will Need To Make A Nature Sundial With A Toddler, Preschooler or Kindergartener

How To Create A Nature Sundial With A Toddler, Preschooler or Kindergartener

1. Collect rocks, leaves and large stick

My favorite place to collect all items is on a hike to a small creek. Creek beds are great spots to find rocks of all different shapes and sizes. If finding rocks is not in the cards for today, no problem, large leaves work as well!

toddler nature crafts outdoor sundial

If you have collected rocks you can add washing the rocks in a water table for additional fun! Kids love water play and this step helps to extend the nature arts and craft project.

toddler nature crafts using water table
Washing the rocks in the water table

Washing the rocks in the water table

Once you wash the rocks you will need to allow time for the rocks to dry.

2. Let your child paint the leaves or rocks

This step is optional. My 2 year old and almost 4 year old cannot write their numbers yet, but love paint! Allowing your child to first paint the rocks or sticks keeps your child invested in the project and increases the fun.

Remember this is for the kids, let them paint however they like. If you have a certain design style you want you could create your own sundial; one designed by your child and one designed by you.

toddler nature crafts sundials two toddlers

I recommend washable paint. You never know where the paint will end up!

3. Paint on the numbers

Let the paint dry on the leaves and rocks. Once completely dry you can paint on the numbers 1-12. I would suggest using a different color than the colors you have already used. I found white to be a great color.

Keep your child involved by asking them what number comes next.

toddler nature sundial painting rocks

4. Arrange the rocks/leaves in a circle

After the paint dries from the numbers it is time to assemble your sundials! Find a sunny spot in your yard and lay out the rocks or leaves with your toddler/preschooler/kindergartener. 

toddler nature crafts sundial leaves

I like to lay out the 12, 3, 6 and 9. Then, I have my child work to figure out where the other numbers should go to stay in order. 

5. Place the stick in the middle of the sundial

The last step is to insert the stick into the sundial, or the middle of the circle. And presto you now have a sundial!

Toddler Nature Craft Rock sundial
Completed sundial using rocks

You might have to look at the time and slightly adjust the location of the rocks/leaves to be a little more accurate. 

Nature Toddler Craft Leaf Sundial
Completed Sundial using leaves

Other fun nature crafts to do with your toddler/preschooler

Outdoor Suncather

nature toddler arts and craft suncatcher

Caterpillar from "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"

nature crafts for toddlers caterpillar

Butterfly from Flower Confetti

nature butterfly toddler craft