The yummiest way to teach the phases of the moon

At our house, things that involve food tend to get more attention and focus. That attention and focus is amplified if the food is sweet. So, when I decided to teach our daughter about the phases of the moon there was only one option...oreos. 

I had to do a little research myself to learn about a topic that has long left my brain. What I found is that the Moon goes through all of its phases over the course of a lunar month. A lunar month is the 29.53 days it takes to go from one new moon to the next. The phases that we see are a result of the angle between the Moon and the Sun as we view it from Earth. 

We have a 4 year old that loves observing the night sky. She notices that the moon often looks different and asks us questions. This concept is not an easy one to grasp for someone her age and we needed a tangible way to help her grasp what is going on. So I bought some Oreos and got things prepared. Here is how I did it. 

First, as a pro tip, don't but the cheap off brand Oreo style cookies. They tend to break and are much harder to deal with in general. Also, go for the DoubleStuf.  

Before I involved my daughter, I sketched out a place for each Oreo to go once complete. Pictured below. Make it your own and if you have a child that is old enough add in the placement of the Sun to increase the level of understanding conveyed. 

I started by separating the Oreos into their halves with a sharp knife being careful to keep the blade as far to one side as possible so I could preserve as much of the filling as possible. I did this for seven different cookies. The cookie that represents the new moon obviously needs no filling so just twist it off and eat the other half. 

Once I had taken care of the part that required a knife, I gave the fully filled one-sided cookies to my daughter with a cookie cutter and a plastic knife and showed her a picture to mimic. Like so: 


This is a Montessori activity after all and I wanted her to do some problem solving and work on fine motor development. It took a little while for her to get the hang of cutting out the filling to match the pictures and I lent a hand several times, but after a little while we wound up with this: 


Once we were fully prepared, we set about putting the correct Oreo on the label that described it. As we placed each Oreo, I described a little about how the moon took that shape and how we see to same shapes every month. The complete exercise is linked below.


Overall, this is a fantastic exercise to do with kids of all ages. It encompasses many skills for them to master and teaches them about something that they will see every night for the rest of their lives. Also, did I mention it is delicious?