Make your own sundial

Making a sundial is a fun science project for the kids, one that will help them learn and play at the same time!

Of course, making a sundial can be very simple or you could make it bit more intricate, but we’ll leave that for you to decide. To make a basic sundial all you need is cardboard, scissors, a pen or pencil, a compass and Blu tack.

Now how to make it:

  • Cut a circle out of your cardboard, about 20cms or larger in diameter to make the base of the sundial.
  • Find the latitude of your location, you can find it on any map or a search on the Internet will give you the results.
  • Next you need to print out a sundial face diagram. Simply search “sundial face diagram template” on the internet and a few will pop up. Print out the diagram and follow the adjustments for your latitude.
  • Line up the diagram with your cardboard base. Copy the lines from the diagram onto your base and labeling each line with the corresponding hour.
  • Secure your pen or pencil into the spot indicated by the diagram with blu tack or tape.
  • Take your sundial outside and place it on a flat surface that has full sun exposure. You don’t want any unnecessary shadows getting in your way. Use your compass to find due north. The sundial needs to be turned until the 12 o'clock mark is aligned in a north-south direction. Read the time by observing where the shadow is cast onto your dial.
  • Finally, Test your sundial by comparing the time it indicates to the actual time. Make adjustments if necessary.


If you want to indulge your kids’ creative side, or keep the kids entertained a little bit longer, you could easily add a little art to the proceedings. The kids can decide how they want to decorate the sundial and just use whatever supplies you have lying around the house or garden.

In the beginning, your kids may find it hard to be very precise. With a bit of practice, they should be able to tell time to the nearest 15 minutes.