The New Year is like a birthday for the world. You can use the Montessori birthday celebration for a unique New Year's activity.
In a Montessori classroom the birthday child holds the earth or a globe and walks around the sun or a candle. The walk represents the earth revolving around the sun. The child walks around as many years old he or she is and stops on the month and date he or she was born.
The birthday celebration is a fun way to introduce the concepts of months, days of the month, the earth, the sun, and how the earth revolves around the sun. Here are some links about Montessori birthday celebrations. If you want to make it really advanced activity, have the earth rotate while your child walks around the sun and the months of the year.
I've been noticing the beautiful moon lately. Often you can see the moon setting during daylight hours or rising while the sun is just getting ready to set. The moon affects our tides and weather. The moon is one of easiest celestial bodies to point out to your toddler. Study the round circle and the solid sphere shape. You can make a moon pillow, full or half or quarter .
The moon has different phases that appear in a partial moon to a full moon. You can observe the different phases of the moon with you child and draw them on a calendar or on a chart. Here are lunar phases for both the southern and northern hemisphere-
For older children plotting the moon's phase on their birthday is an exciting activity. Check out Birthday Moons .
The point where the moon is closest to the earth it is called perigee. Where it is the farthest it is called apogee. The gravitational pull of the moon by the earth affects the weather and tides. Here is a lunar perigee and apogee calculator.
"Why do we always see the face of the moon?"
The moon spins at the rate that it orbits the earth.
Bad Astronomy has a good explanation about how this works.