Day or night, we’ve got you covered! We’ve collected loads of ideas for a day and night preschool theme, including book ideas, crafts and sensory investigation, and math and science fun. These lesson-planning ideas make it so much fun to learn about the magic that happens when the Earth moves around the sun. You’ll find these free day and night preschool lesson plans in a free download at the end of the post.
Free Day and Night Preschool Activities
There is something so magical about the transition between day and night. When you stop to think about it from a child’s perspective, you can see how the night sky, moon, and stars, can feel absolutely mesmerizing. The beautiful thing about this theme is that it can be extended to learn more about the phases of the moon, nocturnal animals, constellations, and even planets!
Each year, my preschoolers absolutely love when we jump into our sun and moon activities and can’t get enough of the fun activities and ideas found in this free download of ideas. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to get your free copy!
FAQ About a Day & Night Preschool Theme
You may have a few questions about teaching this preschool theme! Check out these frequently asked questions for how to teach your preschoolers about day & night.
Preschoolers are naturally drawn to understanding how day and night works. They certainly understand that our days follow a routine/schedule beginning with the sun coming up and heading to bed when the sun goes down. Children can learn about the earth’s rotation on its axis using models of the earth and sun. Young children can learn that the side of the Earth facing the sun is exposed to light and heat during the day daytime. The side of the Earth facing away from the Sun is darker and cooler at nighttime.
It’s very important for young children to learn about the sun. Learning to be safe around the sun includes protecting our eyes and skin and avoiding looking directly into the sun. It’s essential for children to become comfortable with sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats as well as grasp the heat and power of the sun’s rays.
This theme lends itself to learning about the sun, moon, earth, rockets, stars, planets, outer space, nocturnal animals, and so much more! Use your preschooler’s level of interest to guide their learning and lead you into the next learning unit.
Important Info about these Day & Night Lesson Plans
These lesson plans for preschoolers are just one theme in a set of over 40 that will become a part of my free Learn At Home Preschool Lesson Plans.
The Learn at Home Preschool Activity Plans are a set of free activity plans you can use to teach your preschooler at home.
Each set of lesson plans is centered around a weekly theme and includes a minimum of 16 activities that can be done throughout the week. They are designed to be done at home with parents, but many preschool teachers are using these lesson plans, too!
Just glance over the lessons each day, gather the very few materials needed, and you’re ready to go!
All the preschool learning activities are quick and easy to set up, requiring very little (if any at all) prep and only require the most basic of household materials. This makes them especially easy for parents to implement…and this makes preschool teachers happy, too!
These activities also work wonderfully in the classroom, and if you’re a preschool teacher who is remotely teaching you can send these lesson plans to your student’s parents.
Engaging Preschool Activities for a Day & Night Theme
These sun and moon activities for preschool are such a blast! Preschoolers love that they are learning through play and teachers and parents love that they are learning without even knowing it! Check out all 15+ activities below and grab your free copy at the end of this post.
Literacy Activities for a Day & Night Preschool Theme
Sun and Moon Alphabet Match – Print out the sun and moon cards with the letters and the pictures. Lay out a few letters at a time and invite your preschooler to match the pictures to the sounds. Invite children to cover the letter sun with the picture moons and pretend it’s a total solar eclipse! Or lay all the letters out in a circle and have your child switch and pretend it’s a lunar eclipse and cover all the picture moons with the letter suns!
Day vs Night Activities – First, layer a yellow and black piece of construction paper next to each other. Then make a list on the yellow side of the things that we do during the day. Encourage your preschooler to come up with things like eating meals, playing, working, school, sports, etc. On the black side of the paper, write a list of the things we might do at night. Using white chalk, including sleeping, watching fireworks or Christmas lights, or camping outside. Extend this activity even more and go on a learning hunt to figure out what animals sleep during the day and which animals sleep at night like most humans. It’s a great circle time activity for use with more than one child too!
Don’t Forget Picture Books!
High-quality storybooks and non-fiction texts are a great way to bring this theme to life with engaging photos and illustrations of this magical concept. This is a book list of our most loved books for a day & night theme.
Math and Science Activities for a Day & Night Theme in Preschool
Moon Crater Count – Using gray playdough, a golf ball, and a die, invite your preschooler to roll out a ‘moon’ shape with the playdough and roll the dice. Then, use the golf ball to make that many ‘craters’ in the playdough with the golf ball.
Counting Sun Rays – Grab some yellow & orange foam or construction paper and make a circle and some rays. Invite your preschooler to count the rays as they go!
Oreo Cookie Moon Phases – Print the moon phases page and grab some Oreos, a popsicle stick, and a paper plate! Invite your preschooler to open the cookie, scrape off some of the white crème, and make their own moon phases. Such a fun way to learn about how the moon orbits the earth, day and night!
Playful Preschool Learning Activities for a Day & Night Theme
Build a Star Box – Using twinkle Christmas lights, poke holes in the top of a cardboard box and poke the lights into the holes. Head inside and enjoy your starry night sky! Read, relax, or play!
Make Oobleck – With just cornstarch and water, make this crazy slime that is both a liquid and a solid! This creative play activity is loads of fun and is a magical way to discuss matter.
Nature Animals – Head outside and gather various natural materials such as leaves, acorns, grass clippings, rocks, pinecones, etc. Combine the items together to create a butterfly, spider, dragonfly, etc.
Pots & Pans Band – Grab some pots and pans and head outside with some spoons. Create music and groove to the beat!
Social-Emotional Activities for a Day & Night Preschool Theme
Identifying Emotions Sunny Board Game – Print and play this fun emotions board game! Preschoolers may be able to identify emotions based on expressions on a card but can they share about a time that experienced that feeling? This activity builds social-emotional awareness as well as connections to important feelings such as confusion, surprise, or even pride. You can also modify this game to add emotions that you want your preschooler to share about and learn from.
Learning to Appreciate What You Have – Go to YouTube and read the story, The Sun and the Moon by Lindsey Yankey. This book highlights the importance of appreciating your own talents and doing our best to not compare ourselves to others. Moon wants to be like Sun because he says the joy and life people live during the day. In the end, Moon learns to love the amazing things that the night sees. After reading, discuss with your preschooler, “Why did Moon change its mind? What are some things you appreciate about your life or yourself?”
Just Plain Fun Day & Night Activities for Preschoolers
Day and Night Art – Grab some blue and black paper, some tempera paint, white pom-poms or cotton balls and some star cookie cutters. Create a day and a night scene with simple materials! This process art activity will look different for every child and is a special way to represent day and night.
Star Sensory Bottle – Make a super easy eye-catching star sensory bottle with some clear glue, silver glitter, and some star sequins. Perfect for a calming activity or a brain break!
Sun Fading Experiment – Place some dark paper outside and invite your preschooler to place an item or two on top. Leave the paper and objects outside for 3-5 hours and let the sun do its magic! Discuss the power of the sun’s rays and pose the question: “What would happen if it was a clear blue sky? What if it was a very cloudy day?”
Get Online Activities for a Day & Night Theme
Online Story – Go to YouTube and listen to the story, Night Monkey, Day Monkey by Julia Donaldson. After listening, discuss with your preschooler: I noticed that Night Monkey and Day Monkey are very different. Why is it good to learn about each other’s differences? Why are people sometimes afraid of things that are different?
Daytime and Nighttime Video – Join Jack Hartmann as we practice the concept of day and night!
Mr. Sun, Mr. Golden Sun Video – Enjoy this classic song and video and discuss the important role the sun plays in our world.
Make Your Day & Night Theme Even Better!
Adding in some extra special manipulatives or themed toys often makes your preschool theme even more engaging. These are some of the day & night toys and activity kits I like to use with my preschoolers.
Get Your Free Day & Night Lesson Plans Here
Want to include these day & night activities in your lesson plans? Ready to download your free printable lesson plans with all these day & night theme activities for preschoolers?!
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I am an educator, book enthusiast, and a stay at home momma to two precious and long-awaited littles. My degree is in Early Childhood Education and Curriculum and Instruction and I have spent the last 15 years working with young children. I feel very fortunate to have this time to watch my babies grow and I can’t wait to share my passion for learning and reading with you!