Summer Sunscreen Protection Activity

We are already applying sunscreen here, and as of mid-May, we have gone through three bottles! Have your kids ever asked why they need sunscreen? This is the perfect way to explain it to them with this sun protection activity. Most kids learn from seeing and doing, so grab the sunscreen and a piece of construction paper and get outside.

Sun Protection Activity

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What you need:

What you do:

  • spray the balm of your hand
  • press it onto the paper before it dries
  • set the paper out in the sun


sun protection science activity

How long you leave it out is up to you. Try to keep it for the length of time that you spend outside.

We left ours out for two hours, the recommended time to go before reapplying. Sooner if you are in the water, whether swimming or jumping through a sprinkler.


sun protection science activity

You can see the difference, the purple of the paper without sunscreen is much more faded. When you look at the very first picture in this post, you can see where the rocks were holding our paper down in the wind to get a better idea of how much it faded.

What does sun damage look like?

When your skin gets damaged by the sun’s rays, it makes even more melanin to try to protect your skin from being damaged even more. That causes the skin to change color:

  • Dark-skinned people usually turn darker brown, or tan, when they go in the sun.
  • Light-skinned people usually turn more red, or burn, when they go in the sun.

Make sure that you talk about the importance of sunscreen and protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays with your kids. We wear hats at all times, and sunscreen when we go out for any period of time.

What are the top five reasons you believe everyone should wear sunscreen?

  • The ozone layer is depleting and your body needs shielding from harmful rays.
  • Skin cancer rates are on the rise and sunscreen has been proven to decrease the development of skin cancer.
  • It helps to prevent facial brown spots and skin discolorations.
  • It also helps to reduce the appearance of facial red veins and blotchiness.
  • It slows down the development of wrinkled, premature aging skin.

I’m the mom that loves spray-on sunscreen, I can’t help it! The ease of applying it to three active kids every two hours makes it my favorite.

More Outside Science Experiments

Once you are outside and have this going, enjoy being outside as a family with some other fun experiments like making a lava lamp, or maybe something a little more messy like a mento and pop eruption.

Yield: 1

Summer Sunscreen Protection

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 2 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $5


  • construction paper
  • sunscreen


  • construction paper
  • sunscreen


  1. Spray the balm of your hand.
  2. Press it onto the paper before it dries.
  3. Set the paper out in the sun. Look at the time for reapplying, and try to leave it out for that length of time.
  4. Compare the paper without sunscreen to the handprint.

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