Of the various ways Travis and I have made a sundial, this was by far easiest for him to keep up with – and the prettiest! Thanks to a vacation day off from school, we were consistent about popping out every hour, too. The secret? Play dough.
To start, we pushed a wooden dowel in a big blob of play dough. Press the play dough firmly onto an outdoor patio or similar surface. Stretch a line of string for accuracy along the shadow that the dowel casts, and set down a second blob of play dough.
We started at 7 a.m., so marked this off as the first hour: Insert a toothpick, numbered with the time of day. (Note: you can make these “flags” much more elegant than ours, which were just taped-on strips of paper labeled with the hours from 7 to 4 p.m.).
Being as accurate as we could, we dashed out around each hour over the course of this sunny day and set down a new blob of play dough and new toothpick flag. The colors looked great as they accumulated over the course of the day!
We lost out winter sun after 4, so that was the final point of our clock.
But Travis was wowed seeing this visual arc of how the sun had traveled. Definitely the best sundial he’s made yet.